Bob Towers explains what makes an authentic Orkney chair.
All Bob Towers products conform to these guidelines.
orkney chair with a drawer

As the Orkney Chair is a chair that you sit in rather than sit on, it must not be narrower at the back of the seat than at the front. Drawers should have dovetail joints with a covered inside bottom, and the sides and back should be lower (by approx. 10mm) than the front, to make for ease of operation. Drawers should run freely and handles / knobs, if not made from the same timber as the chair, should be brass. It is always prudent to look for a drawer chair as this gives a very good indication of the standard of the woodwork.

orkeny chair frame

Rear uprights must be longer on a chair with a hood, and there must be no space between the front upright and the front leg. The front upright should overlap the front leg by approximately 25mm, and the outer sides of cross rails and legs must be flush. While the choice of timber is a matter of personal taste, old chairs were made from what wood was available, usually pine.

Screws should be of brass, with the finished woodwork varnished and polished - but not an oil type of finish that is wet to the touch.

straw backed hood

The backs should be of oat straw, with the distance apart of the stitches to be roughly the same as the thickness of the row. A good guide is that the first row on a full size chair will have approximately 50 stitches. Too few stitches and the back may lose its firmness. Hoods, where fitted, must be a continuation of the back and not made by adding rows of straw that lie in another direction to the rest of the back. The edge of the hood should be very firm.


home    the chairs    price list    faqs    links    order a chair     feedback    accolades
Northstar New MediaAll material on this site © Robert H. Towers. Technical queries to