Editor’s note: Here at Chair Chat Headquarters, we love wonky chairs. In fact, the weirder the better. So even though we might say the chair’s finish looks like it came out of someone’s butt, we honestly wish we could go to the store and buy a can of McSharty’s Brown Chair Wax.
As always, Chair Chats are not for the sensitive. Do not read this aloud at your local day care center or at your prayer breakfast. That never goes well (sorry, Rev. Mauze).
Rudy: Do we still have time for another chair?
Rudy: The torched hedge chair.
Klaus: That looks VERY torched.
Rudy: From Far West Kentucky.
Chris: So far east that it’s west. This one screams “messed with.”
Klaus: So west it’s east and then west again.
Rudy: And I love the way it looks. So it is probably a fake.
Chris: I know. I am so jaded. Same thing. If it sucks, it’s real. If it’s nice, it’s fake.
Klaus: The hands are very nice on this one. Uncommon.
Chris: I’ve not seen hands like that.
Klaus: Through tenons on the crest. Nice.
Rudy: And look at that tenon that bulges out of the arm. It says “Look, I am really old!”
Klaus: Yeah, that’s a fat tenon for that arm. It’s putting on a fake limp. Making its voice sound so old and weary.
Chris: The arm has fallen. I think it might be legit.
Klaus: We’re so cynical.
Chris: I had this problem on my prototype. If the arm falls at the back, it will eventually come down at the front.
Rudy: True, the long sticks don’t swell enough under the arm to really support it.
Chris: That is what I fought with. It’s a tricky detail with these chairs.
Klaus: That’s interesting.
Rudy: The crest looks steam bent. I thought the Irish vernacular chairs only rarely used steam bending?
Chris: The crest could be cut from solid. That’s very common in Irish chairs.
Klaus: It has the same kind of legs as the one from our last chair chat. Chunky, almost square, and a crude tenon that almost looks like it’s whittled.
Chris: For me the most unusual part of this chair is the arm shape. I’ve not seen one like it.
Rudy: The arms sure are a funny shape. Not entirely unlike Irish arms. But then odd.
Rudy: With all that wear, I find it funny to still see a chamfer under all those years of paint. I would imagine it would have been rounded off by now?
Chris: It could be a stripping gone awry. The chamfer on the top of the seat is a bit unusual. And the angle at the back of the arms too.
Klaus: But a nice detail.
Chris: I like it. You see it more on modern chairs.
Rudy: the chamfer is just so visible and constant. Weird.
Klaus: There’s something timeless about this chair. I love it.
Rudy: Almost no splay, just some rake.
Chris: Also unusual: The seat shape. Square at the front. Rounded corners at the back.
Rudy: You’re right, I didn’t see that. Most of these have square corners all around?
Chris: Or rounded all around. Just a lot of little oddities on this one.
Klaus: Is that front left mortise hollow?
Rudy: It sure looks like it. Perhaps the leg came loose
Chris: I suspect the leg was repaired.
Klaus: They inserted a new one, you think?
Chris: Leg came out. They stuffed cloth in there and couldn’t get it seated all the way. Very common repair and very common problem.
Klaus: I need to get my copy of Claudia Kinmonth’s book…It’s been stuck in the mail for a month.
Chris: I think a Chair Chat with Claudia Kinmonth would…get us thrown in chair jail.
Rudy: Haha. She would be interesting to talk to!
Rudy: Why would they not remove the cloth to make the leg fit? And did they wedge the leg in or did they just leave it in there loose?
Klaus: You mean they stuffed cloth in when they hammered in the legs in the first place? I’m not following.
Chris: To tighten a leg they would wrap some cloth around the tenon and add some glue. Then pound it it. Once it’s in, it ain’t coming out. So you only get one shot until the leg comes loose again. The cloth is the repair.
Rudy: I see. Have you tried that kind of repair yourself too?
Chris: I haven’t tried it. But you see it a LOT on old chairs. There were five or six at St Fagans that had this sort of repair. Like the chair went to the loo and still had some toilet paper stuck to its tenon.
Rudy: That is very interesting.
Klaus: Cool. I’ll look out for it. Never seen it.
Chris: Once you see it, you’ll see it a lot. Anyway, could be wrong. Maybe the chair took a COLD shower and it’s tiny tenon shrunk up.
Rudy: In freezing cold Ireland.
Klaus: I hear it’s cold in Far West Kentucky.
Rudy: Have you seen this type of repair with sticks, too, or only with legs?
Chris: I can’t recall seeing it on sticks. Most stick repairs are snapped sticks that get repaired with a branch or a bolt. Sticks don’t come loose too often.
Klaus: That outer left stick looks like a branch. Look at the tiny knot:
Rudy: I noticed that too! In line with West Irish Kentucky chairmaking traditions.
Klaus: Could be just a wonky shave.
Chris: Nice catch. Looks “stick-y.”
Klaus: Sure does. And it’s more organic looking than the others.
Rudy: Now that you have torched a chair Chris, does this finish look familiar?
Chris: A little. This one looks like they applied stripper and scraped it until it got like this. It doesn’t look like a naturally aged finish.
Klaus: It’s still a nice finish, though? I like it.
Chris: Sure! I like grungy finishes.
Rudy: New or old, east or west, real or fake, this view is a seller:
Chris: I wouldn’t kick this chair out of bed for eating crackers. But it has too many little “that’s odd” things about it that make me prefer the box chair from our previous chat.
Klaus: That’s a great stance. It’s got personality. What would this chair’s name be if it was an Irish person?
Klaus: First name Cracker. Cracker McWonky.
Chris: McWonky with the Broken Left Arm
Rudy: Cracker McWonky with the Broken Left Arm and the sticky stick.
Chris: That’s it!
Klaus: That’s the title right there.
Chris: Ole Knot in the Back.
Rudy: There is a pub in Dublin called “Y’ole Knot in the Back.” Probably.
Klaus: HAHA, I bet there is.
Chris: It’s also a term of endearment. “I’d like to fondle your ole knot in the back, lassie.” Or it’s the Irish G-spot?
Rudy: Man, your Irish is so good!
Klaus: I like it when ya tickle my ole knot, young lad!
Chris: That’s what the priests say.
Rudy: There are a lot of priests in Ireland.
Chris: And a lot of knotty wood. (Naughty wood).
Klaus: McKnotty wood.
Chris: I’d like to put my tenon in your knot hole. In your feathered crotch.
Klaus: Hahaha. You can’t say that on television.
Rudy: You can in Ireland, I think.
Chris: How about tongue in groove? The chair was made of Naughty Pine.
Rudy: With a butt joint.
Chris: Nailed that butt joint! And this is where Claudia calls the police.
Rudy: I found the info on the chair! Check it out:
True Early 19th Century Irish Antique Primitive Armchair
This is an honest, late Georgian Irish antique country armchair, not to be confused with the large amount of fakes around. This Irish primitive antique armchair is a good, large size, it features a thick elm seat, shaped arms and a comb back rest. In very good solid condition and in the original paint finish. A lovely sculptural looking country armchair that has four stick legs, again all honest and original. Dates from around 1800-20.
Height: 77cm (30.31″)
Width: 63cm (24.8″)
Depth: 47cm (18.5″)
Additional Information: The seat is 39cm high.
Rudy: Haha. They mention the word “fake.”
Klaus: Oh, so George made it…
Chris: “Not to be confused with the large amount of fakes around.” Truthy McGeorgie – all honest and original…”
Chris: …my ass.
Rudy: So at least it is not a fake. Whew!
Klaus: It says that the chair has a “comb back rest.” Nice. I was worried it didn’t.
Chris: Now we know.
Klaus: Yup. At least it’s a chair.
Rudy: And has four stick legs, again all honest and original.
Chris: Four legs – honest.
Chris: Thick seat – honest.
Chris: We should have read the description first. Then this would have been the shortest chair chat ever.
Klaus: The chat would be:
Nice chair. Could it be fake?
Chris: Indeed what were we thinking!????
Chris: Finish – true and honest.
Rudy: Sticks – honest.
Klaus: George was an honest man.
Chris: And early.
Rudy: So, so early.
Chris: Honestly early
Klaus: Is the height honest, you think?
Rudy: The width definitely is.
Chris: What is NOT honest about this chair?
Rudy: The doubler.
Klaus: I’m honestly convinced that George did not make this chair. He hired a Male Paint Stripper™ to make it for him.
Rudy: An honest Male Paint Stripper™.
Chris: It would have been McGeorge if it were truly Irish.
Klaus: Exactly! Can’t fool us!
Rudy: Paddy McGeorge.
Klaus: We’re the Irish Fake Police.
Rudy: The Honest Irish Fake Police.
Klaus: Fake Police are the worst.
Chris: The most honest Irish chair maker in Tijuana.
Rudy: The very most honestest.
Klaus: George also says the chair is sculptural.
Klaus: I’m sure he’s talking about himself. The chair is not very sculptural.
Chris: Unless a cardboard box is sculptural.
Klaus: It’s as sculptural as the ladder I’ve got in my back yard. But I do like it! The chair, that is.
Chris: And the ladder?
Klaus: The ladder, too! We get along!
Rudy: Is it a true and honest ladder?
Klaus: It’s a very honest ladder.
Chris: OK, I gotta go. Gotta cook dinner.
Klaus: Honest dinner?
Chris: No, takeout pork tenderloin.
Klaus: See you later, Georgies.
Chris: Catch you liars later.
Rudy: Bye fakers.