How important are chair stretchers? Paul’s shaker bench has them between the front and back legs, but not across the length of the bench. That surprised me a bit, but now I find other winsor chairs that have no stretchers at all. Am I missing something? When should there be stretchers, and when can you forego them?
I should start by saying I’ve not made a chair before, hopefully someone who has will be able to give you practical insight.
As far as history goes stretchers come and go with fashion. “English Furniture” is of the opinion that they add little in the way of strength and are included more or less according to a craftsman’s personal taste.
It’s a very good question though, I’d certainly like to know a definitive answer.