Editor’s note: The chair chat you are about to read (or not, if you are scared of Canadian humor) this time features two unique chairs. Please note neither Chris, Rudy nor Klaus is related to the makers of these chairs.
We don’t authenticate chairs – we just talk about what we like and don’t like based on the available photos and data. We have not seen these chairs in person. As always, you should shield small children from reading Chair Chats because the humor is infantile, and the language is salty, not sweet.
— Christopher Schwarz
Rudy: How about we start with the chair that had a car accident?
Chris: Which one is that?
Klaus: It looks inbred.
Chris: This one cracks me up. What a hard life. Lost a leg. Then someone stuck a stick up its butt. Poor b%^&$#d.
Rudy: Yes, it probably started out as a nice chair.
Klaus: Then someone got drunk and perverted.
Rudy: Not a very nice leg either. All knotty and stuff. Ouch.
Chris: So this is our second five-legged chair. What do you think is the story?
Klaus: The floor must have been very wonky for a start.
Chris: Did it start out with four legs? Or three? or five?
Rudy: I think it started as a three-legger.
Klaus: Yup, and probably too tippy to drink in.
Chris: That’s seems the normal pattern. But the current third leg isn’t likely original. I don’t know why but I think it looks like a later addition.
Rudy: Its tenon protrudes the furthest. But you may be right.
Chris: Look at how all the other four legs are smooth to the saddle.
Rudy: It’s what struck me first, but then I started thinking…
Chris: Bring it.
Rudy: Well, to start a chair off as a four-legger and then add a knotty branch does not sound like someone in their right mind would do. To make it five-legged just for the hell of it?
Chris: I know. It’s crazy
Klaus: Indeed, but why is the third leg so different?
Rudy: You mean the turd leg?
Klaus: Haha! Yes. Maybe he ran out of material for the turd leg?
Chris: Here’s a theory: It was a four-legger and the owner wanted to stop his kids from tipping back in it. So he added the fifth leg.
Klaus: Could be. What a resolute dad.
Rudy: I know, it puzzles me. He did a really nice job on all the sticks. And then that turd.
Chris: The turd has to be a later addition. It has nothing to do with the rest of the chair.
Klaus: And why on earth didn’t he flush-cut it to the seat?
Chris: To punish his kids even more!
Klaus: Haha, probably!
Rudy: He drilled the mortise right at the spindle deck intersection, between the sticks.
Chris: Which is more evidence it’s a late addition. Here’s another unlikely theory: A crooked antiques dealer added it to make it folkier.
Rudy: All four other legs are pretty similar. Even the front leg that was repaired by a monkey.
Klaus: I bet he was real angry and did the whole thing in front of his family, who sat shocked by the table with their mouths wide open. Went out into the garden and sawed off a branch and rammed it into the chair.
Chris: That’s what I’d do.
Klaus: What do you think about the arm? I like the sweep of it.
Chris: Steam bent?
Rudy: Steam bent!
Chris: And it doesn’t match the shape of the seat. It’s square. The seat has more curve.
Klaus: Can’t see any joints. Either a branch or a bend. And it’s pegged to the sticks.
Rudy: But graceful enough, especially compared with that leg.
Chris: My ass is graceful compared to that leg.
Klaus: Hahaha. But did he start with the seat or the arm, you think?
Chris: Hard to say. Neither matches.
Rudy: I think he started with that leg.
Klaus: He probably started with a knotty branch and some obnoxious kids. Then it became a chair.
Chris: So this is the Child Abuse Chair.
Klaus: Yes, but we can’t say that. You’ll get sued.
Rudy: The Welsh stick up the bum chair?
Chris: And usually they go for the sheep!
Klaus: Oh, no! We’ll all get sued. This is going downhill. Fast.
Chris: So far this chair chat has two lines we can publish.
Rudy: Okay, okay, the saddling!
Chris: The saddle is amazingly deep. Almost to the bottom of the seat. And no under bevel either (where the seat is inverted).
Chris: That’s a characteristic I’ve seen on early Windsors. DEEP saddle. Though on the early Windsors they would saddle under the pommel a little. Have you seen that?
Rudy: So the 5-legger is from England, then?
Chris: It doesn’t feel Welsh to me. But who knows?
Klaus: What did the antique seller say?
Chris: “Sculptural primitive stick chair with ‘wild’ adaptations, ash & elm, England, 1800”.
Rudy: Aha. England.
Chris: I actually do like this chair. I just think it’s had a hard life
Rudy: Yeah, did you that see the repair to that leg has something of a screw?
Klaus: As for a lowback it’s pretty nice. Technically, the maker knew his stuff.
Chris: I agree! I would definitely like to sit in it. That saddle is something.
Rudy: Yes, above the seat everything looks nice.
Klaus: Yes, I like the sticks and the arm, too. And those legs are nice too. Probably drawknifed or spokeshaved to resemble turning.
Chris: Yup. I like the entasis.
Rudy: You think the seat split because of the deep saddling?
Klaus: That’s a good hypothesis.
Chris: I’m sure the saddling didn’t help. But even thick seats split.
Klaus: Yup. I’ve split seats by just wedging a leg. That is a very rudimentary fix, though, to just add that huge batten.
Chris: So many repairs are ham-handed.
Klaus: This chairmaker is the kind of guy that would fix a wounded finger by chopping off his arm.
Chris: Or ramming a stick in the wound….
Rudy: Well, he at least added an extra leg.
Klaus: Haha. Well, It’s furniture of necessity. The chair had to survive to continue being in service.
Rudy: Yes, probably. No time to waste. Had to get it back to the pub. Do you think the maker repaired it himself?
Chris Schwarz: Nah.
Klaus: Could have been done 100 years later.
Rudy Everts: The maker shows skill, the repair guy not…
Klaus: Haha. OK, next chair!
Rudy: Okay here we go, Number Two…
Chris: This is from a book I’ve got on Danish furniture. Here’s Klaus’s translation of the Danish text: “Half round three legged chair, ca. 1800, with mortised legs. Probably from Sjælland (Editor’s note: Danish island). The seat carving originates from the chair being used as toilet chair. The chair also came with a pillow. The back is held together by two bows, supposedly made out of ash. T-stretcher between the legs. Back height 24.75″, seat height 16″ cm, seat width 20″, seat depth 14.5″. From Holbæk Museum, Denmark.”
We unfortunately only have one picture of this chair.
Rudy: It looks nice for a toilet chair.
Chris: Is it weird to say I love a toilet?
Klaus: Yes, Chris. Are you constipated?
Chris: Then count me weird. I love this chair
Klaus: You can love your wife. Not a toilet.
Chris: I think it’s a former toilet chair. It’s pooping days are “behind” it.
Rudy: Seat now closed. No idea what’s inside.
Klaus : Yup. They closed the lid and ended up with a smelly lounge chair. Someone didn’t give a s**t.
Rudy: The “Please Open a Window-Windsor.”
Chris: These jokes write themselves.
Klaus: They autogenerate in my brain. It’s like farting. They just come out and they smell.
Rudy: This chair doesn’t smell though. It’s actually quite nice. It has two arm bows – weird!
Chris: Yes. Two arm bows. Steam bent though the posts?
Rudy: Or can you call it an arm bow if it’s down there? Isn’t it a hip bow?
Klaus: Upper bottom bow.
Rudy: It depends on your build I suppose.
Chris: I’ve seen a few chairs with this sort of construction: Bends through posts.
Klaus: Did they mortise the arms through the sticks and then bend the whole thing?
Chris: Perhaps they steamed the arm pieces. Thread them through the mortises in the posts which are flat on the bench. Then put the posts in the seat. That’s a guess.
Rudy: It reminds me a bit of an Irish boatbuilders chair.
Klaus: Ah yes. I’ve seen those.
Rudy: They look SUPER comfortable.
Chris: Claudia Kinmonth says they aren’t.
Rudy: I know, it was a joke.
Chris: I know, just giving you sh*t.
Rudy: But this chair actually looks pretty comfortable. I would be happy to take a dump on it.
Klaus: Yeah, I would definitely poop in this chair. With the lid removed, that is.
Chris: But how would you build it?
Klaus: I would use wood.
Chris: Good start!
Chris: Rudy would carve it out of one chunk of wood.
Klaus: Haha. He wood!
Rudy: I think I would start with the armbow. Let the arm bow direct the shape. then there are no issues with the mortises not lining up.
Chris: That might be the easy way.
Klaus: I would start with the seat. After all, it’s a toilet chair. Needs to fit your behind.
Chris: Right. I think the seat dictates the shape of the arm here.
Rudy: Is it a common form in Denmark, then?
Chris: I’ve seen this form in a few cultures.
Rudy: Is armbow number two there to provide strength, or is it purely aesthetic? Or is it so the baby won’t fall out?
Chris: Hard to say.
Klaus: I’ve got no idea, Rudy. Here in Norway, we know the following about the Danes: 1) They’ve got red hotdogs. 2) They speak so weird that they don’t even understand each other.
Rudy: I like that square mortise in the undercarriage by the way.
Chris: I do, too. It’s like the stick chair world and the flat world collide.
Rudy: And there are little facets on the stretchers.
Chris: The stretchers are all square tenons.
Rudy: It looks classy. Classy for a poop chair.
Klaus: Very. A poop chair was probably something that only the rich people had.
Chris: The rest had poop stools. Or poop holes.
Rudy: Maybe the rich Danes used these as dining chairs.
Klaus: Without a hole in the middle.
Rudy: This one had a hole but it’s filled.
Klaus: Looks like the posts are mortised through the seat here as well.
Rudy: Yes, not sure about wedges, though.
Klaus: I really like the undercarriage too. The splay is sexy and the stretchers are nice.
Chris: Agree. The undercarriage is dang near perfect. The top half is what is so mysterious. Why and how?
Rudy: Yes, this is a nice looking chair from a very talented maker.
Klaus: Looks like the front stretcher tapers toward the legs But only in one place.
Chris: Maybe. Or there are just big chamfers on the front stretcher
Rudy: Yes, I was noticing that. It gives the stretcher a nice touch. And it provides movement, in combination with the nice splay of the legs.
Klaus: Yes, I think you’re right, Chris. But what’s with the joint there? There’s a gap!
Chris: The wedge pooped out.
Rudy: The wedge had to go.
Klaus: Square tenon, probably.
Chris: Those chamfers are common on farm equipment (rakes) and wagon wheels. That’s what it reminds me of.
Rudy: I keep looking at that armbow and I just wonder how comfortable that would be to put your arm on. It’s pretty thin. Then yet, who needs an arm bow when they are pooping!
Chris: I think you grab your knees and push with this chair.
Klaus: What about that lid underneath? Was it really added later to close the hole? It looks like it’s round, as if it will pivot on a screw or something and slide out in front. Could it be original?
Chris: I honestly don’t know much about 1800 poo tech.
Klaus: I thought you did…
Chris: I wish I did.
Rudy: Chris, now I am disappointed…
Klaus: Me too. All this time I thought you knew this stuff.
Rudy: The splay on the front legs is about 19°, nice!
Chris: Again – more splay! Bring on the splay!
Klaus Skrudland: OK, so this was another chat with rear-ended jokes.
Rudy: It was a fun one, though.
Chris: They are ALL fun.
Rudy: Yes, and this one had an actual poop chair.
Chris: And that is what is awesome.