Editor’s note: In today’s chair chat we discuss a chair that is so beautiful it makes Chris write poetry. We are unsure about its heritage, but it could be from Wales. Or further east. As Chris was smoking his ham, we found that we love this chair to bits, despite its possibly fake tits. Oh, did I mention to beware the salty language? Sorry!
Rudy: So who brought the chair for today?
Klaus: I got the green chair if that’s the one. Where is Chris?? Smoking his ham again?
Rudy: A man’s gotta do what he’s gotta do.
Chris: Sorry. Downloading the green chair photos.
Klaus: Are you on a cable modem?
Rudy: Old school, man.
Chris: 14.4 baud
Klaus: Haha I forgot about baud!
Rudy: Alrighty then, let’s go.
Chris: “Green chair. My pants are a mess. I love you. You the best.” That’s my poem for that chair.
Rudy: Now that’s some fine poetry.
Chris: This might be the best chair we’ve chatted about.
Rudy: I love the splay and the general appearance, beautiful.
Klaus: The stance of it, the whole thing is just too beautiful.
Chris: I mean, this chairmaker made broomstick legs look amazing.
Rudy: I love the short sticks being all bent but somehow making perfect sense.
Chris: It’s like the top of the chair bulges.
Klaus: If they are branches, he did a great job collecting them. Perfect proportions.
Rudy: And this chair really looks great from all sides. Not bad for a Chinese fake!
Chris: So let’s talk about the fake allegation.
Klaus: A knowledgeable person we know has mentioned to us that this could be a fake. He said it could be Chinese.
Chris: But it says something about these chairs if there are fakes out there. They are desirable enough that people would go to a lot of trouble to make a fake.
Rudy: …and do a good job while at it! I think the beauty is hard to deny here.
Klaus: Yes, my attitude has been totally naive towards this. I personally really don’t care if it’s fake. But as Chris says, it says something about the market.
Chris: That’s my only point. I like the chair no matter what.
Klaus: But if this is a fake, the maker is really good. I mean, this is not just a copy of something. If it’s fake, it’s still made with inspiration.
Chris: It’s not a copy of anything we’ve seen.
Rudy: I will say though, the more I look at it, the more I can see a PIER1 finish specialist at work..
Chris: Even if the finish is fake, I wish I could replicate it
Klaus: Right, it’s just perfect.
Rudy: It sure is not a copy of anything on the internet! But when I look at that armbow joint, I worry a little.
Klaus: Yes, that arm joint is quite peculiar.
Chris: The armbow joint is similar to one I made on my first chair a million years ago. But the rabbet/rebate was bigger.
Rudy: Did yours survive? Or are you making ham with it right now.
Chris: My chair survived. You can sit on it in November and laugh at it.
Rudy: My first thought would be to put a stick right through that joint, to make sure everything stays together.
Chris: That’s a pretty Irish approach.
Rudy: Maybe because I am part Irish.
Klaus: OK Paddy ol’Paddy. What I do love perhaps the most here is the proportions of the whole chair. The back is just perfect.
Rudy: Agree with that. The chair as a whole is a real beauty.
Klaus: The sticks above the arm are just slightly longer than under. Which I love. The short sticks are branches, yeah?
Rudy: Looks like it. And they also seem pegged into the armbow.
Klaus: Yes, and into the comb, too. If you zoom in to the right there.
Chris: I see the pegs into the crest. Not the armbow.
Rudy: There is something peg like, but in the wrong places. Or is that the picture?
Klaus: Yeah, he missed the sticks with his pegs?!
Chris: Yes. One would miss the stick. It might be a glob of paint. You do see that on some chairs. But the finish might be really heavy (and new?).
Klaus: Good point, would be strange if a paint glob stayed on for 200 years.
Rudy: Yes, I see what you mean about the globs of paint. They appear in more places, for instance the back.
Klaus: But it would also be strange if the fake maker let it stay..
Chris: There are globs on the underside of the arm.
Rudy: It all sort of matches. Is the centre piece of the armbow two pieces? Look from the back.. may be a pencil line..?
Klaus: Yeah I saw that as well. Doesn’t make sense!
Chris: Looks like a butt joint. Nothing on the front. WEIRD.
Klaus: Perhaps there’s a domino joint or a pocket screw in there..
Rudy: Yes, who knows what he used.
Chris: Really bad and wrong place for a butt joint. And the chair would not have likely survived. Not 200 years. Not 2 years. My guess is it’s a scar in the finish.
Rudy: Exactly. And the rest of the arm doesn’t give me a stable feeling either.
Klaus: Could those globs be something else that’s mixed into the paint? Some crude finish recipe?
Chris: Crappy paint can have globs of pigment.
Klaus: Hm. Well, we’ll never know, I guess. The point should be that the finish looks fantastic. Makes me want to try to replicate it.
Chris: I want to remake this chair with a better arm joint.
Rudy: Do you guys know how Pier1 finishes their furniture? Probably done overseas too?
Chris: Hard to say. This finish looks better than most fake finishes
Klaus: Don’t know what it is, I have to admit. What is Pier1?
Chris: Pier1 is a middlebrow importer of foreign stuff. It’s supposed to look third-world rustic.
Rudy: They alter the appearance of the furniture to mimic wear and tear, like rust and flaking paint.
Chris: This chair is a better design than 100 percent of the stuff in a Pier1.
Rudy: But I’m sure this chair would fetch a pretty penny in an antique store, if sold as authentic!
Chris: We have cabinetmakers here that fake that finish all the time. With torches etc. People love it. I have to give the maker a big compliment on the short sticks. I would have never curved them like a globe. I really dig it.
Klaus: Haha, yes it’s a bold move!
Rudy: The short sticks were the first thing that screamed at me. So unusual! That combined with the nice splay makes a really nice looking chair. Worthy of a replica, fake or not.
Chris: Agree. The other great detail is the seat shape. The seat is similar to chairs at St. Fagans where the ends mimic the hands on the armbow. That tells me whoever made this chair knew something about Welsh chairs.
Rudy: Yes, I love that. Here they are quite worn though. They look more square to me than round (like the hands).
Chris: Agree. But it’s the gross shape that they imitate. Like a shadow.
Klaus: Really great details on this one. This chair made me think earlier today: Where does the line go between “furniture of necessity” and “fine furniture”? Sometimes chairmakers really put their soul into it, like here. Is it still just “furniture of necessity”?
Chris: Really great forms can transcend the other stuff.
Rudy: I agree, it is an interesting thought and a fine line I think. Some of these makers were true artists, with all the details they put into their chairs.
Klaus: In Norway, we’ve got an expression for furniture like this. I’m not sure if there’s an English equivalent, but the word is “Brukskunst.” Bruks = for use. Kunst = art.
Chris: Nice. We don’t have word for it. Nice s*&t..?
Rudy: Yes, I think it is a very fitting term.
Chris: “Brukskunst” in English sounds like a disease from between the legs.
Klaus: I would love to hear you pronounce it.
Rudy: Brick c*&t?
Chris: That’s what we would say.
Klaus: Oh dear, can’t have that! Well, anyway, I do think that there’s a fine line between folksy furniture of necessity made by the local bodger or wheelbarrow, and the really fine furniture pieces like this.
Chris: Yeah, even if it’s fake it sings. And makes me write poetry. Bad poetry.
Klaus Skrudland: Yeah, I want more of that.
Chris: “Oh chair of green…. are you a fake?”
“You look like weirdo painted but beautiful rake”
Rudy: I think this is the first chair you have written a poem about, Chris.
Chris: “The overseas Welsh are pretty good makers.
Even if their chairs are all fakers…”
Rudy: They are from far east Wales!
Rudy: “Such nice splay, I don’t know what to say…”
Chris: “Perhaps you will make this chair someday.”
Rudy: “If I can get my way..”
Chris: “Your legs are like sticks that are stolen from brooms.”
Rudy: So poetic, I love it.
Klaus: I’m just in awe of your poetic skills.
Rudy: “Your sticks are all bent, like trees in the wind on a fall day.”
Chris: “I wish I could lick you in your lovely splay.”
Chris: “This chair is amongst the most fair….”
Rudy: “It does not needs balls, not even with hair.”
Klaus: Everything is right here, all the angles, the dimensions of all the pieces. The seat height even.
Klaus: Sorry to interrupt your poetry evening!
Rudy: In some way it is the most perfect form I have seen. Amongst others, of course.
Chris: And that is why it would be funny if it were a fake.
Klaus: The crest.
Chris: The crest!
Klaus: It’s also perfect. But something happened to it.
Chris: A beaver got one corner.
Rudy: The faker slipped with his router.
Klaus: “The crest is like a gentle breast.”
Chris: “It adds to the chair’s roly poly zest?”
Rudy: “I think it looks the best.”
Klaus: Beautiful shape. Love that triangular shape on the top
Chris: Yes. Now I keep thinking: It’s too perfect.
Klaus: This chair is like a “Best Of” collection.
Rudy: Yes. and very well done! It has everything.
Klaus: Finally, folks! The Best of Welsh Stick Chairs assembled into one! Now for sale. Call 1-800-WELSH-CHINA-CHAIR.
Chris: Except the armbow joint looks really bockety.
Rudy: Made from actual parts FROM WALES.
Klaus: Haha. I would make that call.
Rudy: I can only imagine how difficult it must be to make a good fake. You have to really nail it with the wonkiness and mistakes here and there. I guess that’s why the arm is the way it is.
Chris: What would be even funnier is if the chair were not a fake. And we are trashing it. It’s a hard line to walk.
Klaus: Haha.. we would get sued by the Welsh government.
Chris: Or the dealer….
Klaus: But seriously, I hope it’s not fake. I really don’t wanna know. It would make me so disillusioned.
Rudy: Imagine reading the chair chats all excitedly as you just bought a nice Welsh Stick Chair. And then you click on this chat.
Klaus: That would be a bummer.
Rudy: Or an honour!
Klaus: The buyer would s*&t his pants in his newly bought fake chair.
Chris: Or not. It’s still a great form. Actually, a stain would add some authenticity to the finish.
Klaus: Maybe that’s the secret trick to this finish. Human poop.
Rudy: I would have bought this chair, probably
Chris: If it were the right price, me too
Klaus: We had to mention poop and farts here anyway.
Chris: That must be the globs on the arm. Perhaps it’s Irish poop.
Rudy: Can I just write one thing, in case the maker is reading this?
Klaus: Can I add something to that?
14 thoughts on “Chair Chat No. 9 with Rudy and Klaus: A Poetic Chair From Far East Wales With Green Poop Finish”
In the seventh photo It almost looks like the maker stood in front of the chair and drilled straight in to the sticks so that the holes for the pegs are all perpendicular to the front edge of the seat and parallel to each other rather than drilled in along the radius of the curve of the armbow, which would be awkward to do, but would account for the offset of the “gobs”. In the sixth photo, the “gob” almost looks like the head of a bent over nail, and maybe even that nail hit a knot or something which is the little pointy bit of stuff where the stick enters the bow from below. Maybe ALL the pegs are nails that went in crooked (during an in-artful repair perhaps) and they were all bashed over and then daubed with paint.
Could definitely be nails painted over!
Good one: “Rudy: Imagine reading the chair chats all excitedly as you just bought a nice Welsh Stick Chair. And then you click on this chat.”
What a mind-boggling disaster it would be!
So with Chris making ham and kitchen counter-tops which one of you is building this chair?
Whoever gets to it first, I think!
The finish looks more like the algae growing in my aquarium….. though come to think, it does bare a striking resemblance to what i find in the diapers of my tweeners– that age between newborn mustard and toddler birthed adult size logs where your kid is overdosing on gerber green beans and peas.
My Mom painted a bunch of stuff that green color in ’72, don’t know about the red.
What a fantastic discussion, chairmen (?). But also you guys are creating strife (more strife?) in my life. I’m reading John Brown’s book. I’m reading Chris Williams book. A few months ago, my new editor, Nick Gibbs, told me he thought I was the person to replace his John Brown articles in Quercus Magazine (*nausea*… to quote JFK, “ohshitshitshit!”), hopefully releasing its first issue on June 1st of this year.
But until I sat down with a hot cup of Kaldi’s coffee on this cool Saturday morning and read the latest Chair Chat, I don’t think I’ve had more than a very minor inkling to make a Welsh chair.
In 2007 and again in 2010, I managed to get some woodworking knowledge from Frank Klausz. In 2007, it was a weekend lecture of tools and techniques. In 2010, however, it was a slightly-more personal 15-person class he taught in St. Louis on making a dovetailed box. I learned so much, especially from the hands-on class, and for years, I’ve TRIED to keep Frank Klaus’s words in the forefront of my woodworking mind. Well… most of them. I cut my tails first. So not those words.
But these words: “Americans try too hard to be good at everything. You want to make cabinets, you want to build furniture, you want to turn bowls and do inlay. In trying to learn a little about everything, you become masters of nothing.”
That is a direct quote. I wrote it down on that chilly March day in 2007, thinking his words were so profound, and quoted it a year later in a blog post that ended up being a PopWood EndGrain article. Those words run through my head every time I get some urge to just jump into some new project I’ve never done before or when someone approaches me, asking to make something for them that I’ve never made before and would likely never make again. I can’t do it all and be as good at it as I want to be. I will be a better woodworker if I can focus on just a few things and do those few things with consistent growth of knowledge, skill, and technique. And so, for the most part, I have successfully stuck to them.
None of those things was ever a chair.
But damn it all if I don’t seriously want to make a Welsh chair now. Or even copy a Chinese fake of a Welsh chair. Thanks, guys. Appreciate it. :\
I need to go cut some dovetails (tails first; sorry, Frank) and re-center myself…
First of all, congrats on becoming a regular columnist in Quercus. His concept for a woodworking magazine looks very promising to me and both Rudy and me are planning to contribute ourselves. Secondly, nothing makes me happier if our chair chats can make people want to make chairs themselves. Can’t wait to see your chair!
That is NOT helpful, Klaus!!! 🥺
And thanks. I sure have some huge shoes to fill, but I relish the opportunity to try and do so.
If your thing is cabinets, you could always make chairs like this (my first) https://drive.google.com/file/d/15Fb0hv4LTA5D3gw1tlAfIxtI3xl9mdWd/view?usp=drivesdk
Though, it’s really meant to be a step stool. Finish is shellac using layers of lockwood dyes from tfww and has endured 2 years of heavy toddler abuse– helping daddy “wash the dishes.”
Nah, cabinets aren’t my thing at all.
If I end up making a chair, it’ll be full-on Welsh. If I just need some chairs, then I’ll find a specialist to make them for me.
I‘m looking forward to seeing your chair! If you need any help, you know where to ask. Good luck!
Comments are closed.