Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Huntington Beach, California
My thoughts are that it is steam bent. I zoomed the image to the point of almost pixilation. The grain on the chair's right arm is rather telling. The grain seems to flow from the center of the back and up onto the arm down to the front leg. This says to me that the it is steam bent.
In the real world of manufactured furniture the joinery was probably cut before bending with knowledge of expected spring back, then steamed and clamped in a fixture to force the shape. During assembly, any variations are probably forced to conform by the legs and seat rails.
I have done some steam bending but not to the extreme as shown in this example. I made some Mission style chairs and bent the seatback rails. I did it by bending six 1/8 thick pieces and then laminating the pieces together. The huge problem for me was cutting the tenons in the seatback rails. When you think about it, the tenons must be parallel to the chord between the ends of the seatback rail and perpendicular to the legs.
If I were going to do it again, I would buy thicker stock and use the band saw to rough out the curve of the seatback rail, AND CUT THE TENONS BEFORE THE CURVE.
Just a dumb old paper boy from Brooklyn, NY