Best College Chair Construction

partially finished Mission Chair as an example of college chair construction
partially finished Laureate Chair as an example of college chair construction
partially finished Mission Rocking Chair as an example of college chair construction
partially finished Shild Rocking Chair as an example of college chair construction


Solid, Durable Amish and Traditional Construction

What Constitutes Fine College Chair Construction

There are several essential elements of Fine College Chair Construction:  Woods, Finishes, Logos, Upholstery, Joinery, Glues, and Brass Plates,   However, there is one, most important element:  Traditional Amish Craftsmanship.   Read on about our fine college chair construction, as we will explain more about how all of these elements, together, result in the highest quality Wooden College Chairs available.


Choose from popular native American Hardwoods of Ohio Forests for your Classic College Chairs and Heritage College Chairs: Cherry, Hickory, Maple, White Oak, Quarter Sawn White Oak, and Walnut.  Our Traditional College Chairs are based on a structure of Maple but with Arms and Crown (headboard) of solid Cherry wood.  These Maple and Cherry chairs can be finished in black lacquer, can be stained in any of several stains, or a combination of a black chair with stained arms and/or crown.   We can also stain the entire chair entirely in Cherry, Walnut, or Natural Maple.

Alumni Chairs builds the majority of its wooden college chairs in maple.  Maple grain can be subdued or dramatic, depending on the particular piece of wood. Some chairs are presented best in preferred species of woods; you may choose your favorite wood species.  The character of most wood species can be greatly enhanced by applying stains, retaining the grain, but altering the color.  We enable you to choose your woods and stains according to your preference for college chair construction.


Young boy, Joey, sitting in his ACAC Chair of OSU with Block 'O' logo

Our pal, Joey, in his new, Ohio State chair!



For many alumni of colleges, universities, and businesses, the single element that is most dear to their hearts are those beautiful logos that we install on the crowns of their chairs.   Some folks have jokingly referred to college chairs as “elegant logo delivery systems”!   And, to an extent, it is true.   Many of us are proud to see our school logos displayed in our homes and offices.   It appears that some chair owners feel that the college logo or seal is the primary attribute of and justification for their university logo chairs.

Each institution and organization is represented by at least one special, protected logo or trademarked image.  We support the primary images of each entity which we represent via university logo chairs.  In the case of the Ohio State University, we offer several logos.  For some other institutions, we support only one logo.  We ask our customers to suggest or request college logo chairs, and we will consult with the pertinent institution regarding the viability of and permission to develop logo chairs for particular colleges.  Please be aware that, in order to use protected images and trademarks of schools, college, universities, and businesses, we are required to obtain official permission to use the images.

Colorful Oficial Seal on an Ohio State University logo chair finished in Mission Maple stain


Some colleges, departments, professional schools, and organizations enjoy traditions of multiple logos and images that can be installed on a single chair.   We can install secondary logos on the rear of our university logo chairs as you request, providing that the institution in question will approve that particular combination of logos.


Our chairs with upholstery are professionally covered with durable, high-quality fabrics and leathers that match your school colors according to your school’s specific Pantone® or PMS colors.  Our fabrics are safe and low in emissions.

The little known fact of the college-chair is that colors can be difficult to match.  College colors are nearly always expressed in Pantone® colors (PMS colors).  However, the textile and fabric industries do not live by these same standards.  In addition, there can be significant color variance among production runs of a single fabric made by an individual textile mill.   So, it is always a challenge to identify the right combination of color, material, quality, weave, and texture.

In the case of every college and university, we strive to select fabrics that are the right quality and the closest match of the Pantone® colors (PMS colors).  We deal with multiple fabric distributors, nationally, to accomplish this task.

Durability of fabric is evaluated in number of “double rubs“.   We strive for fabrics that are rated at 20,000 double rubs or more.  It is  generally more important to choose the fabric that is the right color and texture than to be concerned about certain ratings.  When choosing fabrics for our clients, we always seek highly rated fabrics.   Most commercial  fabrics are durable enough for our chairs in most home and office environments.

To ensure that your chair upholstery remains attractive, comfortable, and durable for many years to come, it is important to properly care for one’s chairs.


Every piece of furniture produced by Alumni Chairs is identified by two product nameplates:  one nameplate identifying the manufacturer, Alumni Chairs LLC, and one plate identifying the particular piece of furniture.  Both plates are installed under each chair seat with brass screws with round heads at each end of the nameplates.  Personal nameplates are also available to personalize your chair to commemorate membership, donations, generosity, achievement, graduation, retirement, and other special events.

brass nameplate and signature as an example of college chair construction


Every chair that we produce is built with expert craftsmanship.  Although our Amish Craftsmen are typically modest individuals, our craftsmen, men and women, are pleased to put their names on their work.  Therefore, our wooden college chairs bear the signature of each builder who makes your chairs.  They are proud to sign their names on your new, wooden college chairs.




Ordinary factory-made, wooden college chairs of most other companies are made solely in the traditional Windsor style or a variant thereof ─ a traditional, 17th-century, English, construction style that is popular because some high-volume companies can build them inexpensively by milling the wood overseas and only assembling their chairs domestically.  The principal construction elements of those chairs consist of spindles and tapered socket joints which are joined by less expensive liquid glues.

Alumni Chairs builds sturdy Windsor/Hitchcock-style chairs because we do not cut corners and we use only the best materials, natural glues, and finishes.  Alumni Chairs’ hand-made Amish Chairs offer more strength and durability through modern joinery including Mortise & Tenon joints, locking internal dowels and pins, reinforcing screws, and high-quality Titebond Glues.   …and we build our wooden college chairs in the USA.



Alumni Chairs are finished in either of two finishes:  (1) Black Lacquer with a semi-gloss clear coat and (2) Stained, natural wood with a semi-gloss clear coat.

Our Amish craftsmen in Ohio use exclusively stains that are designated as Ohio Certified Stains (OCS) manufactured by FinishWorks.  These stains are standardized to enable builders and finishers to create furniture that is compatible across the furniture and the finishing industries in Ohio and neighboring states, enabling a buyer to acquire furniture from multiple buyers, which have compatible and consistent finishes.  In addition, OCS stains are environmentally safe.  All samples displayed on our page How College Chairs Are Finished are OCS certified.

Our Traditional Craftsmen use primarily maple for our traditional chairs.  Black lacquer is our most popular finish, but we also finish stained chairs in Cherry and Walnut stain.  Some chairs are built with stained arms and/or crowns (headrests).   Black finishes require a sealer, a primer, and black lacquer.  Stained woods require only a clear coat over the stain.  We use CCI products, and finish our chairs in dedicated paint booths with pressurized paint-gun system − one chair at a time.  We do not employ a production-line.  All highlights (“hand-striping”) on these traditional chairs are skillfully hand-painted with metallic gold (or silver) paint.  One person carefully finishes every chair to ensure the best possible finish and appearance.

Certain wooden college chair styles are best expressed in specific woods as opposed to others.   Although the Affinity Mission Chair is very attractive in Brown Maple with Asbury Stain (Please see link “More About Finishes”, below), it is stunning with Mission Maple on Brown Maple or Harvest on Quarter Sawn White Oak.

Likewise, while the Affinity Laureate Chair is attractive in Brown Maple with OCS-101 stain, it is beautiful in Cherry wood with New Carrington, Mission Maple, or Rich Tobacco stain.

Although we prefer to produce beautiful chairs with perfect finishes, clients have occasionally requested a special “distressed” finish on their chairs in order to achieve a well-used, aged effect.  If such a special finish is desired, please phone us at 866-748-2230 to discuss such a finish.

To ensure that your chair finish remains beautiful for many years to come, it is important to properly care for one’s chairs.


In addition to the logos that Alumni Chairs will install in your recognition chairs, we can further personalize your chairs by attaching personalized brass plates that contain names, text, or images that are meaningful to you, the customer.  The general rule is that each plate can hold up to approximately 30 characters in each of 1-4 lines on plates of size 1-2 inches tall and 3-4 inches wide.   The number of characters is really only limited by the space available, and logos are possible in addition to text.  Larger brass plates and more extensive text may require a special quote.  It is best to limit the dimensions to less than 3″ x 3″.   We recommend that, on our chairs with curved crowns (headboards), “smaller is better”.    Text is available in natural engraved, white, and black on metal plates of different metals.

Our most popular plates are shiny, gold, brass plates with black font.  Our most popular font is Copperplate Gothic font, but you may request the font of your preference.


Nameplate - large 3'' x 4'' gold brass


We caution clients that text should be submitted only after careful and deliberate consideration.  Uncertain submissions and capricious changes to orders can delay a chair delivery and can result in significant extra charges.  We encourage customers to give careful consideration to nameplates before submitting nameplate content.  We will offer one proof unless we make a mistake at our shop.  Multiple proofs will delay production and may require additional charges.

We encourage customers to design their personalized chairs.  Personalization in colors, stains, and with special nameplates on the rear of a chair’s crown can render a gift a much more meaningful memento.

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