A Journey to Wales, Part 2


Inspecting an antique chair at St Fagans National Museum of History.

I’ve known Chris Williams for a few years, and I now feel we are destined to have our lives intertwined for the rest of my days. There simply isn’t anyone else who thinks about chairs in the the way I do. And when I say chairs, I mean Welsh chairs.

I don’t know if I have any real Welsh in my blood. My latest Ancestry.com profile says 22 percent of my DNA is from England, Wales and nearby. While that’s something, I do know that Welsh chairs are etched in my brain.

When I pulled up to Chris’s tidy home in Llanybri late Tuesday I night, I hugged him, and we talked about chairs until midnight. When I left Saturday morning, our last words (before a warning about a tricky turn on my trip) were about chairs.

And the rest of the time in the middle was all about chairs as well.


Chris Williams points out an armbow growing in a tree.

During my visit, Chris was building a chair in his garage, sneaking off at odd hours to fashion its sticks. Plus, he had two recently completed chairs in the guest room. One was a new design he has been working on (follow him on Instagram if you want see its development) and the other was for his book “The Life & Work of John Brown.”

All three are markedly different. So we spent hours (apologies to Chris’s wife, Claire) talking about the details down to the facets, grain lines and fibers.

While we were muddling minutiae, Chris would stop and exclaim: “You couldn’t say something like that in front of John Brown. He’d tell you to (expletive deleted). He was all about the form.”

Like naughty schoolboys, we did it anyway. Apologies to the memory of John Brown.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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5 Responses to A Journey to Wales, Part 2

  1. Klaus N. Skrudland says:

    Thank you for following your dreams and sharing with us. Truly inspiring.

  2. craig regan says:

    Is your “Journey to Whales” a spiritual journey?

  3. Andrew Hansen says:

    I tried to post a picture for you of that very same chair when I visited St Fagans last month! (I took a dozen at least!) Glad you got to see it, I knew you’d be interested if you hadn’t already been there!

    I spoke to the curator in that house about you and your interest in Welsh stick chairs – maybe he recognized you when you came to visit?

  4. David says:

    Really enjoy reading your chair posts because I don’t know anything about chairs and they clearly fascinate you. Seems like a bottomless subject, which yes is an absolutely awful pun but still. Here’s a link to a Japanese greenwood worker talking about a Danish chair maker (courtesy of Jarrod Dahl, no slouch himself). The lines of the chair seem almost primitive but also modern. Thought of you right away. Hope you enjoy:

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