Anatomy of an Amish Dining Chair

Beth Rice 24/09/2020

The most important things a fine Amish dining chair offers are comfort, style and function. What parts of the chair contribute to these vital attributes?

Our Amish dining chairs aren’t waiting in a warehouse somewhere. They’re custom made for your home, and building begins once you have selected wood type, stain color and other features. Here are the parts that go into making an exceptional Amish dining chair, laid out for you in easy (and fun) to read infographics that will make you an expert on Amish dining chairs in no time.

Anatomy Chair Infographic
Featured Chairs: Amish Spindle Bow Back Windsor Chair, Amish Ramsey Dining Chair and Amish Galloway Shaker Ladderback Chair

Amish Dining Chair Parts Defined

Apron/Seat Rail: Piece that extends below the seat. Connects the chair seat to the legs, and covers up corner braces underneath the seat. Adds beauty to the chair. A source of added strength and stability with sturdy joinery.

Arm: Part of the chair that offers support for your arms.

Bow Top/Bow Back: Found on Windsor chairs, a bow top/bow back is a curved top rail, created by steam bending that vertical spindles fit into. A bow back is continuous down to the arms or seat.

Chair Legs: Support the chair seat and add to the style.

Amish Windsor Dining Chair
This Amish Windsor Dining Chair has beautifully turned legs.

Corner Braces: Used in the frame of the chair to create a corner triangle for added strength.

Deep Bend Slats: Slats in the chair back that provide lumbar support and added comfort.

Lacombe Amish Dining Chair
The Saltville Amish Dining Chair also has a deep bend in the slat.

Ear: The tops of the chair stiles—sometimes you’ll find decorative elements added here.

Finials:  Ornamentation sometimes found at the top of chair stiles. Popular on Shaker ladderback dining chairs.

Amish Galloway Shaker Ladderback Chair
Finials grace the tops of the Amish Galloway Shaker Ladderback Chair

Foot: The bottom of the chair leg.

Mortise and Tenon Corner Joint: A joint featuring a rod or extension (tenon) inserted tightly into a hole or groove (mortise) for enhanced strength and stability.

Seat: The part of the chair you sit on.

Scooped Seat: Carving out center area in the seat of the chair to create a “scooped” area to add contouring for added comfort. There are different types of scoops.

Deep Scoop Seat: Center area is carved out more deeply to cradle the bottom.

Deep Scoop Seat with Roundover Edge
A deep scoop seat.

Saddle Scoop Seat: The shape of the scoop separates the legs. Curved sides with a slight ridge in the middle front of the seat. The scoop resembles the shape of a saddle.

Saddle Scoop Seat with Roundover Edge
A saddle scoop seat.

Benton Scoop Seat: Seat dips toward the back of the chair.

Benton Scoop Seat
A Benton scoop seat.

Seat Back: Denotes the entire back of the chair from the seat up.

Spindles: Cylindrical shaped slats in the chair back. Often found on Windsor chairs.

Splat: A vertical support in the center of the chair back.

Amish Country Shaker Chair
This Amish Country Shaker Chair features two wide splats along with a saddle scoop seat.

Stile: The primary vertical supports of the chair back, positioned at both sides of the chair back.

Stretchers: Horizontal support that joins the chair legs

Top Rail: The upper rail of the chair back that helps support the back and keeps stiles together.

Amish Dining Chairs for Big and Tall?

The solid construction of Amish dining chairs make them the right choice for those seeking strength and durability. There are several features to look for when you need a dining chair to support added weight or height:

  • A cushioned seat for added comfort
  • Wide width seat.
  • Armless models.
  • Chairs with good back support.

Amish dining chairs are made with solid wood. Many have corner braces for added strength, with seats that are carefully scooped and sanded for maximum comfort. They’re strong and durable, and many are made using mortise and tenon joinery for the strongest support. With lots of styles available, you’re sure to find an Amish dining chair that will offer comfort and support at your family table for decades.

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  • bryan pittman
    March 5, 2021 at 12:14 pm

    Hello Beth,
    I live in New Orleans and my wife inherited 6 side chairs from her mother, who grew up on an old plantation house, and I’m having trouble identifying them. The sticker on the bottom of the chairs list it as being made by the S. Bent and Brothers in Gardner MA. I cannot find any documents or old Bent Brothers catalogs. Would you have any ideas on where I can locate any information on Bent Brothers chairs? Any information would be appreciated.
    Thanks for the help,

  • Beth Rice
    March 9, 2021 at 10:45 am

    Hello Bryan,

    Perhaps this site can help you find some information on your chairs.

    Thank you for visiting us on Timber to Table.

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