HOW ARE THONET BENTWOOD CHAIRS MADE?
WHAT IS A THONET BENTWOOD CHAIR?
German Furniture Company Created by Michael Thonet
A piece of furniture for sitting
Made from moulded wood
STAGE 1 CUTTING
Beech logs are sawn into boards by machine.
STAGE 2 SOAKING 6 rods per chair.
The boards are then cut into rods.
And soaked in water for 24 hours.
STAGE 3 STEAMING The rods are steamed at temperatures of between 90ยบc and 100ยบc
Under a pressure of 0.7 atmospheres.
STAGE 4 BENDING The wooden rods are bent into the desired form around a bending form. Beech wood rod
Flexible metal strip
The wood is backed with flexible metal to prevent splitting by distributing pressure. Clamps hold the metal and the bending form in place.
STAGE 4 EXPLAINED
Beech without Metal. The outer fibres are stretched, causing weakness and increasing the possibility of splitting.
Beech backed with metal. With the metal distributing pressure evenly, the outer fibres are put under less strain, resulting in a lower chance of splitting.
STAGE 5 DRYING
After drying at 60ยบc for between 24 and 36 hours...
60ยบc the wood is removed from the forms & the metal.
Beech wood rod bent to the desired shape
Flexible metal strip
STAGE 5 EXPLAINED
Hardened resin holds the fibres firmly in the new shape.
STAGE 6 DRILLING
Holes are drilled into the chairs before assembly.
STAGE 6.5 CANING
Canes are weaved & threaded through the holes drilled into the seat ring.
The seat was caned to allow spilt liquids to drain. This suited Cafes and Bistros.
STAGE 7 PACKING
The components are flatpacked, which was revolutionary at the time. 4
1x Seat 1 1x Seat Ring 2 2 x Legs 3 1x Back 4 1 x Backrest 5
2 x Nuts 10 x Screws
The finished chair as seen in cafes and bistros worldwide. The later model of the Number 14 is called the Number 214 and is still produced by Thonet today. The Number 14 chair achieved several million sales by the early 20th century. It is the most widely produced chair in the world.
MICHAEL THONET TIMELINE
The life and times of the inventor of the Number 14 Chair.
Born in Boppard Am Rhein, a small river town in Germany.
Completed carpenterâ€™s apprenticeship and became an independant cabinet maker.
Began to experiment making bent wood furniture
Sold his Boppard establishment and emigrated to Vienna with his family.
Founded new company: GerbrĂźder Thonet
3 Produced his No. 1 Chair
Won bronze at the World’s fair in London for his Vienna bentwood chairs.
1 Won silver at the World’s Fair in Paris as his The No. 14 production (Konsumstuhl No. 14) methods improved. was designed.
The No. 14 won gold at the Paris World’s Fair.
Michael Thonet died in Vienna.
PETER ASPEY AMY SIMS
A brief explanation of the production process behind the world famous Thonet Konsumstuhl Nr. 14 chair. Created by Peter Aspey and Amy Sims.