Editor’s note: We get it. It’s easy to feel the need to overstate the obvious when you’re trying to make a sale. However, a three-legged chair with no wobble is like marketing cold ice cream. You don’t really expect it to burn your tongue.
That said, we’re not here to judge. We just like to chat about chairs. It might just be the best way there is to develop a good eye for chair design. And for the record: We love all handmade chairs, even the ones we hate. Because they’re chairs and they’re made by people.
Oh, and if you’re feeling stuck up and not in the mood for fart jokes, here’s a good read instead.
Klaus: OK, so here’s the info from the antiques dealer:
Primitive stick chair. Hand carved in Elm and Ash.
Period: 19th century
Dimensions: Width 22-1/2″, height 24-1/4″, depth 17-1/4″, seat height 15-1/4″.
Condition: Wear consistent with age and use. Sturdy, stable with no wobble.
Chris: NO WOBBLE.
Rudy: WOW – incredible! My three-legged chairs ALL wobble!
Rudy: Not in bad shape for that “age and use.” But, do I smell something….?
Klaus: Welsh farts?
Chris: I smell a rat.
Klaus: I smell Far East Wales.
Chris: Can we talk about the arm? I wonder if it was stool that had that abortion of an arm added later. The seat is a common Welsh and English stool shape.
Rudy: That is a good point. The seat shape is very common for a stool.
Rudy: And if I made an arm with end grain in the hands like this I would be crapping my pants.
Chris: It looks like it wouldn’t last 200 years. The arm is almost all short grain.
Klaus: The arm does look new.
Chris: So someone added it last week. To jack the price up.
Chris: And when have you seen an arm that shape?
Klaus: Never and nowhere. And a chairmaker from that period would know better if he already knew how to make that seat and undercarriage. One whack with the elbow and it’ll break.
Chris: I might be wrong. But I’m not buying that arm.
Klaus: I wouldn’t buy the chair at all.
Rudy: I would buy the stool. But the chair – unless it sat in a museum for 200 years I am not buying its authenticity.
Chris: One wrong fart and the arm would explode. I’m actually surprised it survived the photo shoot when they tipped it over.
Rudy: Haha, good point!
Rudy: Those are not planer marks on the bottom of the seat right?
Chris: Nope. I think the stool is legit.
Klaus: I think it’s just ripples from a big knot.
Chris: Those look like plane marks from traversing.
Klaus: Could be.
Chris: They aren’t evenly spaced like planer marks, at least.
Rudy: The contrast between the seat and the arm is pretty big. The arm looks all rounded over like it was done with a sander.
Klaus: I was just gonna say that. It looks power tooled and even contemporary.
Chris: Agree. It’s too arty.
Rudy: And too “I have no clue what I’m doing!”
Chris: The seat has been sanded and glossed up to match, too.
Rudy: Yup. Sanded and polished.
Chris: So this is like the little boy who is forced to wear his sister’s dresses.
Klaus: Looks like the whole chair has gotten a brand new coating of black antique wax.
Klaus: The sticks look pretty legit though.
Rudy: I was just going to say that!
Chris: I agree the sticks look good.
Klaus: They’re not dowels at least!
Chris: Maybe there was a different arm at one point? Maybe a branch?
Klaus: Hm. Let’s take a look at the top of the arm. Would be interesting to look at the stick mortises.
Klaus: Pegged construction, they say. I don’t see a single peg? Not wedged either. That’s weird. No pegs in from the sides either.
Rudy: Can’t see any either…
Klaus: Broken arm there though. Looks like the short grain failed already.
Chris: Ya, it looks like a crack is forming.
Klaus: Probably when they tipped it over for the photo shoot.
Chris: Yup. Better drop the price!
Klaus: If you look at this photo, you can see that the pith is actually where the short grain broke. So, no wonder. Pith and short grain. Lethal combo.
Klaus: But no pegs!
Chris: Some people call through-tenons “pegs” because they are dolts.
Rudy: So, “pegged” means “not wedged” or can “pegged” also mean “wedged?”
Chris: Pegged means: Round dingus. Dealers use weird words. Like “seat is honed out” instead of saddled.
Rudy: And “doesn’t wobble” when it has three legs.
Chris: NO WOBBLE!
Klaus: That’s amazing. I want a chair that doesn’t wobble!
Rudy: I want chair that NO WOBBLE too!
Chris: You would think it have developed even a little wobble after 200 years!
Rudy: Nope. NO WOBBLE.
Chris: It’s just fun to say. NO WOBBLE!
Klaus: Looks like the arm is actually made from elm. That’s something!
Chris: It does have that chatoyance.
Rudy: NO WOBBLE elm?
Chris: I hate the wobbly elm.
Klaus: Elm is the worst when it starts to wobble.
Chris: Bastards here plant wobbly elms!
Klaus: I miss Turdy. Turdy is the most honest chair we’ve ever had! (Editor’s note: Turdy was in our very first Chair Chat and was originally called The Turd Leg Chair. We’ve loved it ever since we laid eyes on it and came up with the name Turdy later.)
Chris: Turdy NO WOBBLE!
Rudy: OK, so how about the legs?
Chris: Legs are legit.
Rudy: From the back it looks like a pretty nice chair. And it looks like one leg was replaced (this thinner one).
Klaus: The back stick has broken off just where it enters the mortise too.
Klaus: This chair might be authentic all the way up to the arm. And speaking of the arm, it’s so polished it’s shiny!
Chris: Probably to reduce wobbling. Perhaps eliminate it entirely.
Rudy: This is one of the few chairs that has eliminated WOBBLE.
Klaus: Huge game changer
Chris: Too bad I can’t include this trick in my book….
Rudy: Next book!
Chris: I know what the title will be.
17 thoughts on “Chair Chat No. 18 with Rudy and Klaus: NO WOBBLE!”
My best friend’s six-year-old daughter discovered she could tell Alexa to fart. It turns out Alexa has quite the repertoire. It was an unending source of joy for all.
I tried this with Siri today. She didn’t have anything to give us!
Could it have been a chair that had a broken arm and whoever “repaired” it didn’t know a think about grain direction?
Thought you’d enjoy this quote from “This Scorched Earth” by William Gear at the beginning of chapter 3.”His ass ached, as it had since he was a boy sitting on these selfsame chairs. They’d been locally made by a craftsman who’d learned the trade in New England and built a milll-powered lathe to turn spindles, legs, and bedposts. The chairs were as every bit uncomfortable as they were attractive.”
(selfsame is not a typo)
I think this chair was used by the Knights of the Octagonal Table.
I like the look of the chair. At first I thought that the arm might have been the leftover wood from cutting the shape of the seat blank which would have explained the short grain and the shape. But after looking at the pics more carefully, I can see that the dimension of the arm is within the seat’s edge, so it must come from somewhere else. Interesting thing too, looking at the pics, this chair even tipped over on its side will not wobble.
Good thinking though!
This looks like a swell chair. If this chair was given to me as a gift, I would be happy and keep it.
We love all handmade chairs.
timely blog post. just got back from a 3 hour whale watching excursion. It was cold and didn’t expect great coffee from the “store” in the boat but wanted something hot to drink. he said its instant coffee, i said thats fine. i took it back to sit with the family and it was barely even warm almost cold. i took at back to the counter, the guy working the counter looked like Spicoli. i asked “would you mind nuking this for a bit?”, he took the cup and said “oh, is it like too cold or something?”. i told my wife i should have told him to microwave it because it was too hot.
It’s not about being ‘stuck up’. Fart jokes, the menstrual cycle of opposums and your off color language don’t add anything to my knowledge of woodworking or chairs. I know you don’t care but I have stopped buying your books because of it. I’ll send my money to someone who can communicate without foul language or jokes.
We all draw the line somewhere. Ours is in a different location than yours, which is cool. We get it. We post warnings on Chair Chat, which we think is proper. Sorry it’s not enough for you.
I came for the woodworking, stayed for the scatological wit.
What is that sticking out of the back of the seat on the left close to where it meets the diagonal edge? Is this a growth on the wood that “looked too pretty to cut off?” Or did the builder just decided to quit shaping the seat there? Or is it just a blob of something that never got cleaned off?
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