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ABOUT THE THOS. MOSER CONTINUOUS ARM CHAIR, CHERRY
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Continuous Arm Chair
Cherry & Ash wood w/ oil and wax finish
41"H x 24"W x 24"D
Since Tom Moser first introduced the Continuous Arm Chair some four decades ago, it has become our signature piece and has consistently remained on our Top 10 best seller list. Taking roughly two years to perfect, this classic chair embodies our enduring commitment to functionally driven quality objects, formal simplicity, the elimination of ornamentation and the celebration of traditional materials through craftsmanship.
To form the arms eleven knife-cut slices of the same board just one-tenth of an inch thick, called flitch, are laminated together. Then each continuous arm is painstakingly rasped, filed and sanded to a perfect smoothness. Learn more about this iconic design below...
The continuous arm chair is a Windsor chair, a design that originated in England in the 1700s for use as garden furniture. Some people think the name Windsor came from the castle of the same name. One thing for certain, the original Windsor chairs were large, heavy (thus, hard to move around) but offered a good deal of comfort, which is the chief reason the style endured.
In about 1750, Rhode Island cabinetmakers came up with the idea of making the arm and the back of the chair from a single piece of hickory or ash, two types of wood that lend themselves to being steam bent and curved. While undoubtedly beautiful and comfortable, the Continuous Arm Chair took tremendous skill and patience to make, because of the need to form a compound curve with right angle bends.
In the early 1970s, Tom Moser set out to create a new generation of Continuous Arm Chair. It took him many years to perfect the design. He made the first prototypes for the back of the chair out of copper plumbing pipes, because they were easily bent and held their shape. Once he got the form just right, he created a wooden prototype and began experimenting with lamination and bending techniques. As Tom recalls, “Originally I used wedges, then I used a cams and straps to create the right pressure to form the bend. It still wasn’t right, so I employed a stainless steel strap with a couple of arms that came off a logging truck and some ratchets. Finally, I graduated to using air pressure. The whole process took years, a little piece at a time.” By the late 1970s, the Thos. Moser Continuous Arm Chair was ready to make its debut. Judging from the reception the chair received from our customers, it was well worth the effort.
How it’s Made
The continuous arm in our signature chair is created using flitch-cut cherry. The process involves quartering and steaming sections of logs, then slicing them into tenth-inch thick strips. Because the strips are cut with a knife, not a saw, no saw dust is created and the strength of the board is preserved. Hence, when you glue the pieces back together, they are just as they grew in the tree. The beauty is that while it retains the appearance of a solid wood, the continuous arm is actually comprised of eleven different layers.
It takes a tremendous amount of hand work to shape each continuous arm, because it’s shape is oval in at the top, becomes round, then U-shaped with a flat surface where it meets the arms. Each arm is trimmed, then filed by hand using a course file called a horse rasp, then a finer rasp, and finished with a hand sander. Even the holes are drilled by eye.
The Continuous Arm Chair also includes other refinements, such as a highlight (raised section) that runs around the back of the chair, where the spindles join the seat. The spindles extend all the way through the seat and are wedged top and bottom, making them not only aesthetically pleasing, but easily repaired, should the need ever arise. The spindles are so finely tuned, you can pluck them the way you would with a string on a harp and they should resonate at the same frequency.
One more well considered detail of the Continuous Arm Chair are its legs. Most Windsor chairs have stretchers that connect the legs to one another. Often times, the stretchers get creaky and tend to loosen. In addition, they are dust collectors and prevent the sitter you from crossing their legs underneath. So, Tom Moser replaced the stretchers with a curved brace called a ship’s knee. Supportive and strong, the ship’s knee is created from 1/32” laminated ash that is bent to shape, then set into a slot that is cut and shaped into the leg, so it is flush to the surface.
Over 30 years since we first introduced the Continuous Arm Chair, it is largely crafted exactly as it was by Tom Moser when he conceived and perfected the design. Our ongoing commitment to carefully crafting each chair one at a time ensures that your chair will become part of your own family’s legacy.
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Thos. Moser Continuous Arm Chair, Cherry (Qty. 0)
41"H x 24"W x 24"D (Reg. $1,380)
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Originally launched in Fall 2015 as a single armchair with a cotton shaker tape seat, Hancock has been revisited and now includes a side chair with the option of a vegetable-tanned leather strap seat.
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