Chair Chat No. 6: The Imperfect Perfect Chair. And No Fart Jokes.

Editor’s note: This week’s Chair Chat with Rudy and Klaus tells the tale about how an imperfect chair with a displaced leg, a split seat and some crude repairs stands out as perfect in our eyes. 

Also, Chris talks about Cincinnati Chili, how it looks like barf and how yummy it tastes. If  you’re faint at heart and gets easily put off by three legged-chairs or food that looks like it’s been regurgitated, then please watch this to feel better.

As always: We don’t authenticate chairs – we just talk about what we like and don’t like.

We don’t know much about this chair. Its age, if the maker cried when he discovered that he messed up the splay or he had eaten a barf-like dinner before making the crest. It’s all unknown. What we do know is that the seller says this:

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“Good George III Welsh Primitive Comb-Back Chair. Height 31″, width 24-3/4″, depth 19-1/2. A wonderful primitive Welsh armchair retaining all the great patina of over two centuries of use. The top rail to the comb-back design, mortised through with six ash spindles: the outer two piercing the arm rests with further morticed spindles leading to the rectangular elm seat on three morticed stick legs. Some early 19th century iron braces add a charming aspect to this very stylish chair.”

Klaus: That is a special chair.

Chris: Special as in weird?

Klaus: No, I love it

Chris: I like weird stuff.

Klaus: Well, exactly, then. That’s what I mean. Weird and wonderful. Just like myself.

Rudy: OK, shall we get going?

Chris: I’ve got 30 minutes until I got to start cooking dinner!

Klaus: What’s for dinner?

Chris: Chili over spaghetti. With cheese. A local dish.

Klaus: Sounds weird and lovely.

Chris: This chair is a sweetheart.

Klaus: I love the proportions of it.

Rudy: I like the square seat.

Chris: And all the iron banding on it. And the little bevel on its underside.

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Rudy: Exactly, there are so many details on this one!  Looks like the iron banding on the bottom of the seat was nailed on, too.

Klaus: Definitely rich in details! And as I said, I think the proportions are just right here. A lot of these chairs with a very low crest often look weird. This one nails it (pun intended).

Chris: Yup and yup! And yes to nails.

Rudy: Hard to tell, but do the nails penetrate the seat? And notice the wedgeless tenons we talked about in our last chat.

Chris: Maybe the seat was pitsawn? Look at the marks. Or sawn with a reciprocating saw. Hard to tell from the photos.

Rudy: It definitely looks like that.

Klaus: I just discovered there’s iron banding on the seat edge, too. At first I just saw the bands under it.

Rudy: The whole chair looks very dramatic, looking from the top.

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Chris: Yes. I love the slight curves.

Klaus: You think so? I think it looks calm. At least from the front.

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Klaus: Did the seat split with that left front (our left) leg tenon?

Rudy: I’m guessing so.

Chris: I think so, too. That’s why there is all the iron plating. Hard to say if the split occurred at construction or later. Either way, it split. Add iron.

Rudy: Add iron. All around the edge, just to make sure!

Klaus: I also love the facets that are cut on the ends of the crest.

Chris: The crest has a lot of shapes. It goes from square to roundish.

Rudy: The crest gives the chair a lot of its character.

Chris: The whole chair is a real character.

Klaus: Yeah, this maker took his time to make it pretty.

Chris: The rounded hands are lovely.

Rudy: I agree, and the overall shape of the arms is very handsome.

Chris: And look – they messed up the rake and splay on one of the front legs. Look from the top again.

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Chris: And the chair still looks great! If I screwed up my front legs like that, I’d cry.

Rudy: I know! Makes me feel better about my own drilling.

Chris: I thought we weren’t going to talk about our wives!

Rudy: Hahaha.

Klaus: I’ve done it several times.

Rudy: Right, at least three times…  you’ve got three kids, right?

Klaus: I mean messing up the front leg angles like that!

Rudy: Ah.

Chris: I mess up the drilling all the time. That’s why I ream my joints.

Rudy: The messed up leg gives the chair a subtle sideways stance, one leg leaning slightly to the side when you look at it from the front.

Chris: The color is intoxicating, too.

Klaus: It must have been fluffed up by the antiques dealer. That shine is unreal.

Chris: Ya. It probably does have wax on it. But the red is nice. Even if it’s faked.

Klaus: Very pretty indeed. How do we end this chat? We could go on and on.

Chris: Well, this three-legged chair required no special tools. No crazy skills. It’s not perfect in its angles. But it’s perfect. If I made this chair, I’d be to-the-moon happy.

Rudy: Yes. The chair is a statement of the maker. He had the confidence and ability to make a well-proportioned chair.

Klaus: I agree with both of you. Good conclusions! However, about your dinner, Chris: Chili over spaghetti. As in chili con carne over spaghetti? Or red chilies on top of spaghetti?

Chris: Con carne. It’s a Greek-spiced chili that became popular here in strip clubs. It’s a very local dish. It’s got cinnamon and cloves in it, too.

Rudy: Strip clubs – carne. I see the connection there…

Chris: Meat and …meat, yes!

Klaus: Sounds yummy. Can you send us a photo?

Chris: Sure. Or you can type “Cincinnati chili” into your browser. It looks like barf.

Klaus: Oh, man.. I accidentally typed Cincinnati barf into my browser now. Not hungry anymore.

Rudy: Thanks for the warning, Klaus!

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12 Responses to Chair Chat No. 6: The Imperfect Perfect Chair. And No Fart Jokes.

  1. Kyle Barton says:

    Another great one guys! I believe this might be my favorite so far. Love the design element of the last arm spindles piercing the arms and going in to that lovely comb.

  2. SSteve says:

    The most pressing question for me: chocolate or no chocolate in the chili? I think I’ve only had Cincinnati chili once and have never made it. After reading the recipe, I’m thinking of adding it to this week’s meal plan. If we can find tomato paste. That seems to be one of the things that’s rarely on the grocery store’s shelf these days.

    • Word is there’s no chocolate.

      • Marc Stonestreet says:

        Let them eat cake.

        • Brian Crawley says:

          There are two big chains, Gold Star and Skyline— I’ve always heard Skyline uses cinnamon, Gold Star uses cocoa— among other spices, but those distinguish them. Of course having “always heard” it doesn’t mean it is so. The companies are mum. My sister worked at Gold Star for a bit in college summers. What she remembers is the onion machine and the tears it produced.

      • SSteve says:

        Ok, I made the chili Saturday and we ate it (4 way) last night. It came out great. The recipe had my favorite instructions from any recipe ever:

        Remove the pot from heat and add the ground beef and water. Mix them together into a sludge. Return to medium-high heat and bring to a simmer, stirring all the while, so the sludge breaks up into a mealy paste.

        I mean, who wouldn’t want to make that? I did put in cocoa powder and we loved what it did to the flavor. I may never pull off a Welsh stick chair but at least I have the skills to make a mean Cincinnati Chili.

  3. Al says:

    First one if these chair chat pictures that I have saved. Love the chair. Only thing that I would do differently is possibly add a bit more bow to the crest rail. Also might add iron straps down both sides just because, unsure how that would look though. I might just make this my first chair. Ive been waiting till I found just the right design (Chris’ stuff comes super close to what i want)

    • Al says:

      Oh and speaking of Chili… a type of Chili (ish) dish called “Chunky Cat Barf” is amazing. Made with spaghetti squash, meat, and tons of cheese and some other stuff. Will try and make the Cincinnati Chili

  4. Will Highfield says:

    That is one ugly chair. Its legs are backwards. You should have two in back and one in front so that you can tip back in it.

  5. Matt says:

    Agreed, great chair although I wish the fake red wasn’t so red or so fake. Cincinnati chili… I grew up in Cincinnati and eat Skyline once a year. Although I spend the next 11 1/2 months recovering it’s worth it. Thanks for reminding me.

  6. Steve V says:

    It’s definitely a cool looking chair. I think i’d prefer looking at it though rather than sitting in it for extended periods. The flat bottom looks like it might get uncomfortable after a while.

  7. Celeste Thomas says:

    I really like the shape formed by the crest and arms. Looks kind of like an Arts & Crafts letter A. Or the entrance to a passage tomb.

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