Those Funny Chairs


Woodworker/teacher/bench builder/beekeeper Will Myers recently sent me some photos of two vernacular stick chairs he spotted during a trip to Tryon Palace in New Bern, NC.

Both chairs are English and Will reports they were brought to Tryon Palace in late 1940s when the palace was re-furnished.

The three-legged brown one has some interesting details. The legs look like they were originally faceted and then perhaps worn down, sanded down or somethinged-down to create of a roundish profile. I’ve been sketching some chairs where the arms are captured by the back spindles. It’s somewhat of an awkward look to my eye, and I haven’t yet produced a sketch that I want to build.


I quite like the green chair, though the seat looks a little thin to my eye. The armbow reminds me of several Danish Modern chairs that I like. I plan to steal this armbow design for a future chair. It makes the chair look very inviting.

— Christopher Schwarz

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8 Responses to Those Funny Chairs

  1. Looks like John Brown to me. Rick

    Sent from my iPad

  2. Tryon’s practically in my backyard. Let me know if you need any more reconnaissance.

    I feel like the one with the arms captured by spindles would look more natural if there were just more spindles. It just looks like there’s a gap there, but there’s a gap in the same place with a continuous arm Windsor and you don’t notice it because of the close proximity of the spindles. Perhaps if the top was also curved?

  3. Very similar to the Welsh Stick Chair that Mr. Underhill built on his show recently. I though it was an odd aesthetic then, and I still do…

  4. Niels Cosman says:

    As someone who is both short and squat, I love the shape of the little green chair. Anthropomorphically speaking, it could use a bit more junk in the trunk.

  5. Three legged one looks like it spent a lot of time as a plant stand…

    • bobdeviney says:

      Indeed (sadly).

      It looks ideal for a garden setting – under a trellis of climbing roses. My wife would say two chairs, with a small table between to hold drinks and books.

  6. Bob Jones says:

    I’ve never sat in an arm bow chair like that, but it looks like it was made to be filled with a large backside.

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