The Alivia Chair
I designed and created the Alivia chair over an 8-month period and went through three prototypes. When I decided I wanted to make the chair it was important that the chair was aesthetically pleasing to the eye, structurally sound for decades of use, and most importantly comfortable to sit in. Therefore, I shaped the seat so it had a contour that allows the hip bones to be rotated forward which relaxes the sit bones and makes the seat more comfortable over a long period of time. I also shaped the back rest so it was contoured to allow for the natural curvature of the spine. This combination makes this chair more comfortable to sit in than a chair with an upholstered foam seat, yet retains the beauty and durability of a wooden seat.
The seat and back rest of the chair were hand formed using a jig I made and a hand held router. The shape was finalized using a curved card scraper, Veritas Spokeshave, and sandpaper. The front and rear legs of the chair are assembled using a 3-piece lamination. The legs were hand formed using a Veritas Spokeshave, Shinto Rasp, and Nicholson #49 Rasp. The rear leg is attached to the seat using a sliding mortise and tenon joint. The front legs are attached to the seat using a traditional mortise and tenon joint and the back rest is attached to the rear legs using a butt joint.
Once I had finalized the design I wanted to make a chair that was visually stunning. Therefore, I sourced some beautiful Curly Maple for the seat and back rest and American Black Walnut for the legs. The chair was sanded to 1000 grit and seven coats of my hand made wiping varnish (varnish, oil, and mineral spirits) were applied to bring out a beautiful satin finish.