Andy Glenn Lecture & Book Signing

Tuesday, April 23, 2024 11:00am - 12:30pm
North Bennet Street School, 150 North Street, Boston

Join us for a special in-person lunchtime event with author and NBSS graduate Andy Glenn CF ’08. His recent book, “Backwoods Chairmakers: In Search of the Appalachian Ladderback Chairmaker” explores the tradition of this enduring form and takes you inside the shops of more than 20 makers, with photos and personal interviews about their lives and techniques. 

For this event, Andy will present his research and stories from the process of writing the book, and then be on hand to sign purchased copies for those in attendance. We hope you can join us!

In-person event open to NBSS alumni, current students, faculty, TAs, and staff.

About the Book

Andy's books stacked in a pile, with the title "Backwoods Chairmakers" and an image of a ladderback chair on the cover

For more than 200 years, chairmakers in Appalachia built ladderbacks to sell to neighbors and the occasional tourist. It was a tradition that was handed down through generations. But with the rise of furniture factories and mechanization, woodworker Andy D. Glenn wondered if there were any traditional chairmakers left.
So he set off into the mountains with a camera and a tape recorder. There, he found many still working the craft—some by hand, and others who have added machines to their workshops.

Part travelogue, part profile and part how-to, “Backwoods Chairmakers” explores the tradition of this enduring form. Andy takes you inside the shops of more than 20 makers, with photos and personal interviews about their lives and techniques.

Then, he shows you how to make a post-and-rung side chair and rocking chair using the traditional techniques explored in the book.

About the Author

Andy holding his dog, a black lab, with shelves of tools behind him

Andrew D. Glenn is a furniture maker and woodworking instructor living in Midcoast Maine. He received his formal training while a student in North Bennet Street School’s Cabinet & Furniture Making program in 2008. Since then, Andy has worked in repair shops, a boatyard, a cabinet shop, and a four-year stretch leading the Woodcraft Department at Berea College in Kentucky.

Andy became engrossed with the prevalence of handmade ladderback chairs while in Kentucky and began taking trips into the eastern Kentucky foothills to seek out the chairs and their makers. The simple question, “Are there backwoods chairmakers working today?” was the first spark that led to this book.