THE CERVICAL CHAIR: Spinal disc herniation therapy for dad

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Project by NíccoloJosé posted 09-05-2012 02:41 PM 9269 views 22 times favorited 29 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I previously talked about building a chair for my dad. He’s the reason I got into woodworking. It was his hobby while I was growing up. But over time he became too busy, he became allergic to dust, he tore his ALC so he can’t stand too long, and he’s major pain and complain is his slipped disc or “spinal disc herniation”.

The problem is between his fifth & sixth (C5/6) cervical vertebrae where they are squeezing or sandwiching nerves. For the pass few years, my dad sleeps with his neck resting on a wooden log to push the C5 and C6 to relieve the pain. Sometimes, thats the only way he can sleep… that or drink alcohol to fall asleep.

So after learning how to do wood bending, wood carving and studying human anatomy over the last 7 years, I combined what I learned to built a chair thats custom fit for my dad.

This is actually the second version already, I made a first one with no armrest, it was hard to get up from and my dad said it was too small for him and it didn’t his the C5 section that I intended… (That first chair was bought by a small lady that fit her like a glove).

Anyway, the angle or the back rest is below 35 degree to apply just the right about of pressure on the neck. The armrest is contour from the shoulders to the forearm. I used the neck brace of my dad as a guide for carving out the solid mahogany for his neck. I did 2 kinds of bent lamination (1) a C-shaped for the sides and (2) S-shape for the lumbar support. I connected the 4 bent lamination with solid pieces of wood and left gaps for the body to breathe an have circulation. The solid mahogany and the sculpted butt catcher made of molave locked all the pieces in. I hand carved a lot of the pieces and no metal fasteners were used.

The main pieces of wood that I used are Mahogany, Kamagong, Molave, Narig and Tiger Molave… all repurposed wood 80-150yrs old. The chair felt so good, I fell asleep on it while making it.

The design is based on the cervical vertebrae similar to this link

My dad loved the chair… But not as much as my mom… And my brother (business part), well he SOLD the chair (for a good price) to an guy in his 70’s who also has neck problems. My dad said he wants a BETTER one with a matching foot rest. Even with constant pain on his neck, he still manages to smiles.
Yup, thats my family… they know I can do better even when most of the time, I have doubts.

Thanks for reading guys..

-- Niccolo Jose; Filipino Artist,

29 comments so far

View patron's profile


13722 posts in 4803 days

#1 posted 09-05-2012 02:51 PM

your dad is a very fortunate man
to have such a caring and thoughtful son

your talents are well expressed here
not just functional
but elegant and inspiring too

very well done

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View woodworm's profile


14477 posts in 5052 days

#2 posted 09-05-2012 02:58 PM

Wow wow…what a bedautiful chair you’ve crafted.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 4318 days

#3 posted 09-05-2012 03:55 PM

Nico that is amazing

The photographs alone are fantastic

I would love to try this as I have a similar

problem but I’m in a wheelchair. I’m going

to cut a piece now and give it a try. :)

Thank You


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View DocSavage45's profile


9071 posts in 4304 days

#4 posted 09-05-2012 03:56 PM

Great story and great piece! What is most impressive is that you have designed an ergonomic contemporary wooden chair that has beauty, character and function! Damn thats good! LOL!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View derosa's profile


1597 posts in 4297 days

#5 posted 09-05-2012 04:02 PM

An amazing looking piece of wood, beautiful design. Good luck trying to improve on it.

-- A posse ad esse

View Shamrock's profile


4 posts in 3554 days

#6 posted 09-05-2012 04:08 PM

I have never seen a chair look so good. I wish I had one for my back :) amazing detail

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4765 days

#7 posted 09-05-2012 05:44 PM

your dad sure must love this, what a beauty…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View PetePW's profile


14 posts in 4276 days

#8 posted 09-05-2012 06:03 PM

I’m at a loss for words. That’s great work. Wow.

View Nate Meadows's profile

Nate Meadows

1132 posts in 3668 days

#9 posted 09-05-2012 06:22 PM

Outstanding work!


-- "With a little bit of faith, and some imagination, you can build anything!" Nate

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 3637 days

#10 posted 09-05-2012 09:14 PM

Good graces! It is a spectacular chair with a matching spectacular design!
What is most impressive is the fact that you put your time and effort into it researching to have a great build for your dad’s health. You are blessed with abundant talent because you have a kind heart in which too much compassion and love resides in it.
Your parents should be proud. They raised a remarkable man.
I cannot wait to see what you have come up with for your Dad.
Best of luck and may you be blessed more!

View GenerationWW's profile


521 posts in 3711 days

#11 posted 09-05-2012 09:51 PM

That is awesome! The chair looks incredibly comfortable and very well made. How long did it take you to shape everything? Can’t wait to see the next one!

-- list your handcrafted treasures @ for free!

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 4480 days

#12 posted 09-05-2012 10:06 PM

I must say that I would love to be able to sit in that chair as it looks so invitingly comfortable but if I had it, no one would sit in that chair if I wanted to be in it at the time. It is beautiful as well!

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View cracknpop's profile


542 posts in 3811 days

#13 posted 09-06-2012 12:05 AM

Very nice! Your design, and your choice of woods, make this a very functional and purposeful piece of art.

I am sure you have invested a considerable amount of time in this first chair. While your dad waits on the ‘new and improved’ version, he might find someone who can get him a Denneroll to help his neck. The Denneroll is not near as stylish as your chair, but it has helped many of my patients (and would be more comfortable than a log).

Be sure to post pics, or a blog, when you build the next one.

-- Rick - I know I am not perfect, but I will keep pressing on toward the goal of becoming all I am called to be.

View Schwieb's profile


1925 posts in 4923 days

#14 posted 09-06-2012 12:48 AM

As much sculpture as woodworking. Just amazing. I can completely appreciate the desire to apply something you understand and apply it to help someone so important as your Father. I would love to spend some time with you in the workshop talking about these things. Great work!!!! I will look forward to seeing the post about the next custom Dads’s chair.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 4384 days

#15 posted 09-06-2012 01:17 AM

You made me really proud of what you’ve done to your Dad. We all knew by our history (Philippine) that serving our parents rewards the greatest blessings from God. As I can see from your skill and the projects you had posted, you are already blessed.

A very functional chair… customized for a father… and done by a very faithful son.
Thanks for sharing,
Mabuhay! God Bless to all your relatives in Lipa.

-- Bert

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