Welcome to Scapa Crafts, makers of traditional Orkney chairs

Orkney chairs have been at the heart of island homes for centuries.

Traditionally made from driftwood found on the shoreline, their distinctive oat straw backs, often hooded, provided shelter from the draughts in old stone croft houses.

At Scapa Crafts we’ve been handmaking premium quality Orkney chairs for decades, carrying on this Orcadian tradition with pride, passion and attention to detail.

Creating an Orkney Chair

Separator graphic

Old Orcadian Design

Our chairs are based on an old Orcadian design which Jackie and his master joiners have sympathetically developed over the years to create the Scapa Crafts signature style.

The Wooden Frame

The beautiful wooden frames used for our Orkney chairs are all handmade by highly skilled local craftsmen, using only the finest quality hardwoods and carefully selected local driftwood.

Frames take a least a week to create in a process that involves the fitting together of over 30 different pieces of wood, all with handcrafted dovetailed joints.

Each frame is then meticulously sanded to ensure the smoothest of finishes, before being treated with natural oils and waxes to bring out the colours of the woods.

Orkney-Grown Oat Straw

Separator graphic

The straw work for all our chairs begins with the harvesting of Orkney-grown oat straw using a traditional binder or scythe. These methods and tools ensure the straw stalks remain as long and unbroken as possible.

Once cut, the straw is painstakingly cleaned by hand, usually by Marlene, and often with the help of her grandson, Magnus.

It takes 12 hours to clean the three to four sheaves required for a straw back chair, and 24 hours to clean the seven to eight sheaves needed for a chair with a hood.

Hand Stitching

The prepared straw is then handstitched to the wooden frame, a highly skilled task that takes around two weeks to complete. A typical chair will require over 200 precise stitches.

Customer Testimonials

Separator graphic

Many thanks for my Orkney Chair. It arrived and I am delighted with it. Many people visit me and I shall also tell my chiropracter. I am sure my chair will be good for my back and I shall never again slouch on my settee! As I am 82 I feel that I have bought an heirloom!

Barbara Neusam


Jackie, I took delivery of my chair this morning and am thrilled with it. It is every bit the chair I had hoped for so many thanks to you and your team. Pride of place in my new kitchen. Can I also say that the driver of McAdie & Reeve was very good and efficient and the firm has kept me informed after the unfortunate slow start. Unloading the chair out of the huge truck all the way from the Orkneys was a bit surreal and so exciting. I am thrilled with it and have had some really nice comments from friends. It certainly is loved in my house. Long may your good work continue.

Many thanks, One very happy customer,



As a regular visitor to Orkney since my first trip in 1971 I have always admired the crafts of the islands. Orkney chairs are a particular favourite and I have often thought how lovely it would be to own one. In 2013 I celebrated a milestone birthday and was lucky enough to be given this beautiful chair as a present. It sits perfectly in the corner of my sitting room in Stirling. Although it’s now a long way from Orkney it’s a perfect reminder of my happy visits to the islands, and a lovely piece of furniture. Sue Dumbleton, Scotland

Gillian Tait

Edinburgh, Scotland