Green wood is much easier to work than seasoned wood, especially when working with hard woods. Chair components are traditionally made from green wood, the components are dried before the chair is assembled.
Why Black Chairs?
A more accurate description would be pickled oak chairs. They are neither painted nor stained, simply treated with vinegar and steel wool which reacts with the tannins in the oak and turns black.
I like the impact of this finish.
Free-form chairs tend to be more sculptural in design. Rather than cutting the wood and turning it to a fixed size, the wood is shaved and shaped to follow twists in the grain.
Usually I would split logs, roughly shape the wood into components and then leave them to dry. Often I have two or three ideas on the go at once with various piles of components around the workshop, in the airing cupboard or lying by the rayburn.
Free form chairs require more time. There tend to be a lot more decisions: which way the wood should face, how bits fit together. And there is lot more time spent refining the shape and making it comfortable. Comfort is a major consideration, and often requires a lot of minor adjustments.
My stick chairs are based on Windsor design. They differ from free-form chairs in that the components are turned on a pole lathe. I don’t turn the spindles (sticks) preferring to use a rounding plane (a tool a bit like a giant pencil sharpener).
The seats are usually seasoned planks which have been shaped initially with an adze.
Arms and bows are usually steam bent, but occasionally arms are constructed out of three pieces of wood