5212 Pulaski Ave.
Philadelphia, Pa. 19144
Philadelphia Furniture Workshop

Total Beginner 3 - Ladderback Chair

Build Two Ladderback Chairs

Instructor:  Craig Vandall Stevens

Class Size - Approx 12, Max.

7 Evenings over 7 weeks, 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

In Total Beginner 1, students build a scalable piece of casework. In Total Beginner 2, we build a solid wood table with traditional joinery.  Now, in Total Beginner 3, build a pair of traditional chairs. 

This project, made of solid cherry, utilizes angled mortise and tenon joinery.  This chair is similar to a Shaker chair, but Shaker chairs were often made wholly of turned parts, with the result that the rear legs and back posts were totally straight.  A chair is more comfortable if the back of the chair leans to the rear a bit, which our chair does.

The back slats are comfortably curved, and these curves are achieved through the bent lamination and vacuum bag technique, where veneers are glued up on a form of the correct shape, and when the glue is dry the induced curve becomes quite permanent.

The skills gained in this class include basic chair design, angled mortise and tenon joinery, weaving a seat of Shaker tape, and bent lamination techniques.  The weaving will be demonstrated, allowing students to perform the actual weaving of their seats at home since the chair should be completely finished before installing the Shaker tape seat material.


Cost: $875 including materials  and the shaker cotton tape for the seats in natural or black.

Here is the tools list.

There are three ways to register for this class. 
• One can click on the sign up button. (This button will appear when the course is scheduled.) 
• Give us a call at 215-849-5174.
• Send PFW a check, (and send us an email that you have done so so we may hold your spot) and print and sign and sent to PFW the Registration Form and the Waiver and Release of Liability form. 


  • April 5, 12, 19, 26, May 3, 10 and 17, 2018