Chair Making

Tom Kealy & David Upfill-Brown
June 18-29

Led by two of the world’s most accomplished furniture makers and teachers, this two-week foray into chair making is meant for both experienced amateur and professional woodworkers. The curriculum addresses ergonomics, structural considerations, design resolution through mockups and prototypes, materials, joinery, shaping with hand tools and machines, making templates and jigs for routers and shapers, and advanced curve-forming through steam and laminate bending; among other topics. Demonstrations are presented as they relate to students’ projects.

Each participant resolves an individual chair design through a series of mock ups that, ideally, culminates in a well-made, functional prototype. Given the limited duration of the course, Tom and David ask students to arrive with one of the following in hand: either an image of an existing chair to modify, or a personal design that is reasonably far along.

Tom Kealy designs and makes contemporary furniture to commission from his workshop in Somerset, England. He graduated from Parnham College in 1979 and worked as senior craftsman in the John Makepeace workshops for over ten years. Tom teaches at West Dean College in Sussex and at the Building Crafts College in London, and offers weekly classes at his own workshop. His website is

David Upfill-Brown graduated from England’s Parnham College in 1981 and moved to Australia, where he creates fine furniture and teaches extensively. Public commissions include work for the parliaments of Australia, Papua New Guinea, the Marshall Islands, and the Solomon Islands. After serving as Academic Director and Principal of the Australian School of Fine Furniture he took the helm as Lead Instructor of our Nine-month Comprehensive from 2004-2009. Publications include Lark Books’ 500 Chairs (2008) and 500 Tables (2009), and numerous magazine articles. In 2013, David had a solo show at Australia’s Bungendore Woodworks and, in 2016 exhibited in the “Treecycle” show at the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney, Australia. His website is

Open to solid intermediate and advanced woodworkers.


Tuition: $1,410

Tom Kealy Somerset Chair steamed oakSomerset Chair by Tom Kealy, oak and white willow (18"x18"x39")
Upfill Brown Amatory ChairAmatory Chair by David Upfill-Brown, laminated cherry with leather upholstery (28”x19”x30”), 2006