Editor’s note: Leg day at the gym a heated topic but you can also overdo it, as this chair shows us. We also wonder if Veritas used to sell a giant tenon cutter in the distant past.
Please beware that salty talk follows. To reduce its negative effects we found a nice recipe of strawberry tea with lots of honey. Click more to read more….
Klaus: Alright, homies. Did you bring any chairs to this party of inbreds?
Rudy: Yes, dear.
Chris: Shall we start with the pretty one?
Klaus: Which one is the pretty one?
Chris: We can do this one:
Chris: Wow. What Big Holes you have. Look at those mortises!
Klaus: Yes, my child, they are for inserting things in.
Chris: That is a man-sized tenon.
Rudy: Perhaps the maker was a porn star?
Chris: Or his nickname was Baby Fist.
Rudy and Klaus: Hahaha! Oh dear…
Chris: It started so well!
Rudy: We are already going very much downhill.
Klaus: This went south so quickly. By the way there’s a fifth tenon.
Chris : You’re right. A plug. So it was a three-legger. Converted to four when the family finally got linoleum floors.
Rudy: Yes. Or the leg broke off.
Klaus: That could very well be. And then the father got scoliosis and they had to raise the arm on the side of the chair.
Chris : Maybe. So I’m gonna say it. Those legs are too thick for my eye.
Klaus: But are they too thick for your… Never mind.
Rudy: Yup, me too. that’s the first thing that I noticed when I saw this chair. Big black sausages.
Klaus: Yes, they are way too chunky
Chris : The front legs. The newer legs are probably OK.
Rudy: The 3rd leg would have been fat as well, judging from the big leftover tenon.
Chris: It might have looked better with three legs.
Klaus: I was just about to say it would look a lot better with just three legs. But this was perhaps just a stool before, and they upgraded the whole thing.
Rudy: You mean that they added the sticks and arm later?
Chris: What makes you think that??
Klaus: I don’t know!! Can’t a man just assume things here?!
Chris: Not a Chair Chat™ Man. We only make baseless accusations. Not assumptions.
Rudy: I like the shape of the seat. And the seat’s underbevel.
Chris: Above the seat the chair is better for sure.
Klaus: The seat seems to be one piece, yes?
Chris : The arm and back are fairly well shaped and cleverly put together.
Rudy: quite a charming view from here. Of course you can’t really see the front legs in all their fat glory.
Chris : Yup. The arm construction reminds me of bones for some reason. Might be the shapes at the ends.
Rudy: I keep wanting to call this thing bony too. Bony with fat legs.
Klaus: Some of the front sticks are protruding below the seat, too.
Rudy: Yes! Quite far even. And it looks like the seat was damaged right around the front sticks.
Klaus: Yes, it looks like those two protruding sticks split the seat. And I wonder why some of them are so close to the edge.
Chris: Probably a small seat. So you have to push out to the edge.
Klaus: They definitely split the seat there. The seat itself is very straight grained and would split easily, I think.
Rudy: The split at the front left goes all the way to the front leg mortise.
Chris: Look at the rearmost stick in the arm. Is it blind into the arm?
Klaus : Definitely looks like that, Chris.
Chris: That’s Odd.
Rudy: I think I see a wedge…?
Klaus: There also seems to be a short stick connecting the arms there?
Chris: Nope. I am seeing things wrong! There are three arm sticks. I had it confused. There’s definitely a short stick joining the arms. Perhaps a hint of a wedge from below if you look at the far arm.
Klaus: Yeah. If I made this chair I would leave out the rearmost stick and instead mortise one stick through the joint of the arms and into the seat.
Rudy: Yes, that would be a stronger solution than this I think.
Chris: That was my first thought.
Rudy: Then yet, it is an old chair…
Chris: Always respect a survivor.
Chris: I suspect the backrest is a curved branch. Look at where the back joins the arm. The one at the back. Not the front. Then look below. Little nubbin sticking out.
Rudy: Yes, if you zoom in you can see a small wedge at the bottom.
Klaus: Ah yes.
Rudy: Or maybe it is a small piece of a turd.
Klaus: I was waiting for that one!
Rudy: I like the small carved part on the back of the arm, where it meets the back rest.
Chris: Whoever made this had some sense of style.
Klaus: Definitely. I must say I like this kind of arm construction. I would like to try it once.
Chris: I made three chairs like this and couldn’t them to come out right. Only one survived…. I have it in the basement.
Klaus: Oh really? Can I see some photos of them some time?
Chris: They looked weird.
Rudy: What was the issue? The dowel joint?
Klaus: He uses pocket holes, Rudy!
Rudy: Right. Sorry!
Chris: Wait until you see the framing nailer I used to assemble my chairs.
Rudy: That will be covered in your next blog post right?
Chris: I can’t show ALL my dirty laundry!
Chris: It was me, not the idea. I just couldn’t get the feel for how it should look. It’s trickier than a comb back. Most end up looking like a box up top. This one has some grace.
Rudy: ignoring the fat legs it does have some style, this one.
Klaus: it does have some grace
Chris: Straight on, this chair looks like ass. Pure ass.
Rudy and Klaus: Hahaha!
Rudy: Well then I suppose I am an assman.
Klaus: Pure ass can be pretty good, Chris
Chris: As long as it’s really pure. Not like that time in the gas station.
Klaus: What was that?
Klaus: OK, let’s leave that behind.
Rudy: Haha, good one Klaus.
Klaus: Anyway, what happened to the arm? Why is it wonky?
Chris: What’s wonky?
Klaus: I mean how does one end up with an arm like that? It’s higher up on one side.
Rudy: I think the maker did his best to make it pretty. Maybe it was a branch that was slightly misformed?
Chris: Is it because the sticks descended?
Klaus: No, they descend on the higher side… Such things just make me curious. I mean, he obviously had an eye for detail (except for the legs).
Chris: I think the maker was working with the sticks at hand.
Klaus: And then suddenly the arm goes to hell and he’s like.. well, that’s it! Done!
Chris: I honestly didn’t think it was wonky. I just assumed it was what he/she had on hand.
Klaus: Huh. He probably didn’t have a saw.
Rudy: The two arms look in balance, the back is a nice rounded shape – what’s not to like!
Chris: The legs.
Klaus: The legs!
Rudy: True. Next chair!
14 thoughts on “Chair Chat No.12 with Rudy and Klaus: A Bony Chair With Fat Legs”
I wonder because of the damage and the higher arm if the chair was damaged at some point and poorly repaired? That could account for the sticks protruding and the splits in the front side of the seat.
Could be. Perhaps that is when the conversion to a four-legged chair happened too…
I love these articles. Chris – I think you stumbled an an excellent book title: “Working with the sticks at hand”
Why assume it was a three legged chair that was converted to four? It could have been a five legged chair — keep the kids from leaning backwards. Then, when the kids got older, the fifth leg was removed.
I think this was a training chair.
I think this chair maker was just using what he had at hand. What we don’t see is how completely jacked up the chair was when new!
Take that left arm, for example. Our man started off with a really wonky piece of elm, likely under tension due to it being limb wood from a tree on a windy hillside. That arm was originally angled up another 30 degrees off from the right arm. It looked daft, but… his left hand impulsively winced when his old Master’s words barked through his head.
“Use what ye’ve got at hand, lad.” He could still feel the sting of that focking hazel switch as he set the wonky arm into place.
“Now THA is one arse-ugly focking chair,” he says to himself as he finishes. “Fock the legs. I ain’t makin’ them any thinner.” And that’s how he left it. But it was perfectly balanced on it’s three legs.
But over the years, the tension relaxed and the arm straightened out, pushing the two sticks through the seat. Because the stick tenons had been shaved a tad to fit the mortises, they split the seat when they went through it because of the extra thickness. This of course upset the balance of the chair and it would never sit up on it’s own again. So his son, a fairly competent chairmaker in his own right, attempted to fix it by removing the single rear leg and making it a four jobber.
Years later, his great grandson wiped his hand on the underside of the back of that same arm and left a poop glob dingle berry there.
Pretty sure that’s your answer…
Good theory, especially about the poop glob dingle berry.
It’s a technical term I try to throw around when I can. You don’t often get the opportunity, which is a shame.
The maker got a commission for a three leg stool from a farmer. After job was done, farmer changed his/her mind because sold an extra bushel of oats, so could now afford an arm chair. Maker made the changes, but some of the sticks were a bit too thick, so cracked the seat and left arm too high. Maker said: Done, looks good from my house. The protruding sticks bits, were added by the antique store to make the chair look more “rustic”.
“Klaus: Yes, it looks like those two protruding sticks split the seat. And I wonder why some of them are so close to the edge.”
It must have been made for a monster truck show. He bought the whole seat, but…HE ONLY NEEDED THE EDGE!!!
Them legs ain’t so fat, they look pretty good .
If you want to see some fat legs I’ll show you some fat legs.by the way can I have my chair back.
If my wife read this she’d be rolling her eyes. As she points out every time I get together with my high school or college buddies…no matter how old, experienced, dignified or respectable a man becomes, all it takes is old friends and good beer before he reverts to being a teenager again making dick jokes again. Somethings are just timeless and universal. Good stuff.
I thought for sure that recipe would have a large dose of vodka. I’m so disappointed.
Chris, It looks like the chair started out as a three legged milk stool, then was converted later. Three legs have an advantage, until one requires four and arms for stability. Some cows cause that. Either a heavy tail or big feet.
Take a look at this amazing new video on Moravian chair making:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTTfC-ypYFU&feature=youtu.be
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