Thursday, April 16, 2015

New Steltman chairs available!

For those of you who choose not to build your own Steltman chair, and have always wanted oneair covered in leather or felt, well now's your chance. Over at you can see the following new offerings:

First up the felt version:

The Steltman chair in felt was built exactly according to the original drawings of Gerrit Rietveld. However instead of using white leatherette this chair is upholstered with felt from ‘De Ploeg’, a Dutch manufacturer of fabrics with whom Rietveld already had a long history. Rietveld designed De Ploegs factory in 1957 and used their fabrics on several of his designs. The Steltman Felt has a very special appearance and is surprisingly comfortable.

The Steltman Felt is available in 4 colours from the De Ploeg Vilano collection: blue, red, beige and yellow.

 Starts at € 1845,-

Next is the leather version:

The Steltman chair in a leather version, build according to the original 1963 Rietveld design. The faux-leather upholstery of the prototype has been replaced by special leather made of English bull hides: timeless, strong and still modern. The Steltman is availabel in several colours from the Ohman Misto collection. This chair is ‘camel’ number 3399.

€ 2895,-
And a limited edition version:

Rietveld Originals has issued this Limited Edition of the Steltman to celebrate its 50th anniversary as well as the rerelease of the chair. It is the first time that the chair is available in the original leather version as designed by Rietveld. The exclusive edition consists of just 50 right-facing and 50 left-facing chairs, produced in two special leather versions: the original white leather, but also a distinctive gray-brown version. The original logo that Rietveld designed for Steltman Jewelers in 1964 is featured beneath the seat. Each chair comes with an exclusive gift box containing information about the history of the chair, photos and a certificate signed by Rietveld’s grandson Egbert Rietveld.
In 1963, Johannes Steltman, a jeweler in The Hague, commissioned Rietveld to refurbish his shop on the Noordeinde. Rietveld had extensive experience in the refurbishment of shops, often opening up the fa├žade in order to attract customers. For Steltman, the work focused mainly on the interior. However, it soon became clear that Rietveld’s austere design was too modern for Steltman’s conservative clientele and most of the design elements were removed a few years later. Nonetheless, Rietveld’s chairs, designed for couples to sit on when they picked their wedding rings, became world famous. The two asymmetrical chairs are each other’s mirror image and together form a unit – a beautiful symbol for the future spouses. One of the two original Steltman chairs is on display at the recently reopened Rijksmuseum. This new edition of the Steltman shows that we aim to recreate these pieces today in their original form. Thanks to improved technique and material use, we have delivered a product that we are proud of!

You can order your own Steltman Limited Edition for € 3,745.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A visitor builds his own

One of the people viewing my blog decided to build his own Steltman chair. His name is Christian, and he wrote:
"Similar to your calculation it definitely hasn't paid out in term of money if you include the hours I spent at the workshop. But this is of course besides the point, because I really enjoyed these hours! I went every Thursday evening from 6-9 pm to the community center where they have a really nice shop and a professional carpenter, who helps you with all your questions - what a great public service!!"

Christian's chair turned out fantastic! He made it using European Walnut, a great choice, as it has excellent figuring and character! It makes mine look lifeless...

Great job Christian! Here are the photos he sent;


Monday, April 28, 2014


Well it looks like I'm finished. I did some final sanding at 320 grit, checked everything again, and put three coats of Satin Polyurethane finish on the chair (sanding lightly between coats). It came out very nice.

And for the most important test...

It works!

I weigh around 180 lbs (81 kg), and the chair barely flexes! It's very sturdy.

I hope you've enjoyed following along with the construction. Please drop me a note if you have any questions or comments.

Rietveld Builder

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Stamp it out

It’s time to create a small detail. On the Cassina reproduction chairs one of the last steps is to silk screen their logo along the bottom of the chair, and stamp in a serial number.

Since I’m not running a large factory, I’ve decided to imprint “G. RIETVELD ZIG ZAG 1932” on the bottom piece. This way when I’m dead and gone, and my relatives wanted to know a little more about the odd chair I built, they will have some reference information.

This is a pretty easy task. Not a whole lot to it.

Step one: lay out a straight line.

Step two: test the first letter (in terms of how hard to drop the hammer). Looks about right.

Step three: Step back and admire the work.

When I do the final sanding the very small edges around the letters will be sanded smooth, and will look nice.

The chair is now dangerously close to being finished!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Rietveld Inerpretations

If you'd like to see some odd Rietveld inspired chairs, follow this link and browse through 18 pages of them!

Brazilian craftsmanship!

One of the reasons I did this blog is that there are VERY few posts on the Internet showing people building the Zig Zag and Red Blue chairs. Here is a link to a Brazilian woodworker who has made both the Red Blue and Zig Zag chairs. Scroll about half way down the page to see the chairs

Some more video!

I found a video that I thought was interesting. It's in French, and it features the Red Blue Chair, and other Rietveld designs. If you want to see the Red Blue being built at the Cassina factory, go to the 9:20 mark.

Click here to watch on YouTube

If you want to see exactly how I got the dimensions when I built my Red Blue Chair, over 20 years ago, watch the video at the 18:00 mark. It shows a man in a museum sneaking around the chair measuring, and writing the dimensions down. I did this same thing (there was no Internet back then to find plans) but instead of a museum I went to a modern design store in San Francisco and took some measurements when nobody was around!