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.