Crafting a Tappan Chair


Beyond the incredible 197 year history of Tappan Chairs, and its shared story with Sandwich, New Hampshire for its entire existence, another touchstone of our business is the continued use of a range of historic tools, machinery, and techniques that have been with us since some of our earliest days.

See how Tappan Chairs are made, using a medley of equipment from over a century and a half! Musical accompaniment courtesy of Siena Kaplan, Tamworth fiddler and member of the Caravan Band.

Our oldest piece is a massive, wood-framed hand lathe, whose ways are fashioned from nothing more than a pair of hewn timbers pinned together. Likely dating to the mid-19th century, this lathe is still used in hand-turning our finials and the front posts of our arm chairs.

The "beam lathe", hiding behind a set of Berg-era Tappan Chairs

Likely introduced to the business in the last quarter of the 19th century, our C.H. Cowdrey pattern/back-knife lathe is still used to rough out the taper on every one of our posts.

The Cowdrey lathe, after a good day's work!

Finally, over nearly two centuries each generation of ownership has acquired and incorporated equipment as well, much of which is now vintage. This includes a very rare and incredibly useful Versatile Saw, made in Henniker, NH in the 1950's.

The truly versatile "Versatile Saw", made in the only Henniker on Earth.