Ladder-back chairs have been popular throughout American history from the arrival of the first colonists, but are not used as much today as they were decades ago. However, the design is making a comeback and they are becoming more popular. Ladder-back chairs are not the project to start for someone who is just beginning to get interested in woodworking because there is a lot of cutting required, and the measurements and cutting of the boards must be absolutely exact. However, if the woodworker wants a challenging project, this is certainly the one to tackle.
The original design of the ladder-back chair comes from the Netherlands, and were first introduced in the 1600s. A ladder-back chair has a very specific design to it which includes wooden horizontal boards, or slats, that cross the back of the chair. The slats can vary in sizes and quantity, and are usually joined to the back posts with a tenon and mortise joint. The most popular ladder-back chairs are made of ash, pine, oak, or mahogany (which is usually the most expensive). Often times the posts are turned and have beautiful designs carved into them to enhance the look of the slats, and many times there are matching designs on the slats to the posts.
There are many stains that are used in these ladder-back chairs that range from the darker cherry or mahogany to the lighter pine, oak, or ash stain, and some folks prefer a painted chair to match the color of the room’s décor, those are available as well. Others prefer a natural look to these chairs that have no stain and simply a protective polyurethane coating that protects the beauty of the wood.
The seats on these ladder-back chairs are also made out of assorted materials ranging from woven cane, woven fibers, slats, or fabric.
Traditionally, ladder-back chairs have had many uses in the home or the office. Certainly one of the most popular uses for these chairs is around a dining room table or breakfast table. They are also very popular in waiting rooms and office or school conference rooms. These have also been very popular to put around the patio or the deck for outdoor gatherings and picnics. They work great around a picnic table.
Another great use for a ladder-back chair is used to create a beautiful and comfortable rocking chair. There are some fantastic designs that, when the rockers are added to the legs, a relaxing rocking chair becomes the focal point of the room.
Children tend to love these wonderful little ladder-back chairs, and they come in the smaller sizes for the children, as well as the mini-sized chairs that the kids will enjoy using for their dolls and stuffed animals.
Another very popular use for ladder-back chairs is found in the restaurant industry. They are comfortable for the guests and come in a huge number of styles and designs.
Regardless of the style, the design of the posts or backs, and the seat, these are beautiful chairs that are great with any décor.