Editor’s note: Please note you are entering the Chair Chat area, a place full of naughty language, toilet humor, bad dad jokes, inappropriate musings, infantile jokes, plain bad jokes, very ugly chairs and many other things that can harm a to a not-yet-fully developed brain like a child. We again rate this post PG13, because of all the bad words. We don’t want to harm anybody.
Rudy: Have you another chair for us, dear Klaus?
Klaus: Yes, dear Rudolph.
“A charming primitive stick chair. Solid oak seat with old repair, stick back with three plain sticks and two elongated ‘paddle’ supports, all raised on splayed legs, united by H-stretcher. Lovely patina to the old varnish. Likely Welsh and late 18th century.”
Rudy: “Paddle” supports? Is this a rowing boat?
Klaus: I was wondering the same thing. What’s a paddle a euphemism for, your tits? So it’s tit support?
Klaus: I want a chair that can support my paddles.
Chris: So the crime here is calling THIS chair “primitive.”
Klaus: Did they call it that?! Oh my.
Chris: Yes, the primitives.
Rudy: Well, this joint is VERY primitive. NOT.
Klaus: That’s really primitive, to call this chair primitive.
Chris: This chair is like what Chris Williams would make.
Klaus: That joint is pretty special.
Rudy: The whole chair is special.
Klaus: There’s not much wrong with this chair
Chris: Look at the way the sticks join the seat. WTF?
Rudy: In a beautiful way. And so PRIMITIVE! Octagonal mortises?
Klaus: Yah, the mortises are special.
Chris: And square mortises in the arm.
Chris: This chair was made by a cabinetmaker.
Rudy: Definitely looks like it. Or by a paddle maker.
Klaus: Truly elegant. So crisp. And yes, square mortises on the comb/back there.
Chris: I’m a bit in disbelief this is 18th c.
Rudy: Same. Not buying that.
Klaus: You’re thinking Far East Wales?
Rudy: Not necessarily.
Chris: Not a fake. Just looks 20th century to me.
Klaus: It’s very modern looking. Like mid-century modern.
Chris: The seat shape is very 20th c.
Klaus: That seat shape too… is just very uncommon.
Chris: And there isn’t anything messed up about it.
Klaus: Good point
Klaus: No wobble AT ALL.
Chris: 200-year-old chairs don’t look like supermodels.
Klaus: Right. And we’ve seen quite a few now. Not many Welsh supermodels from the 18th century.
Rudy: Usually the seats are very banged up from chopping and stuff.
Klaus: If so, that dates the chair.
Rudy: The front of the seat looks like it should be falling off. Is it reinforced?
Chris: It’s a modern glue-up.
Klaus: Just glue? No pegs there?
Chris: I would love to own this chair. But somebody got screwed.
Rudy: SOLD! Oops.
Klaus: It’s also interesting to look at the finish between the sticks on the seat. Looks like small bubbles. Like it got heat treatment.
Rudy: Ah yes, good eye.
Klaus: Well, they’re not bubbles.
Chris: That could be shellac crazing.
Klaus: Yah, OK.
Rudy: Maybe the rest of the seat was like that too but it got worn away?
Klaus: So that would be the original color and the rest is wear?!
Rudy: From the picture it looks like that.
Chris: Look at the legs. That’s the OG color.
Klaus: By the way, is that a very wide wedge in that leg tenon?
Chris: Yes it is. Kinda weird.
Klaus: Also very uncommon.
Rudy: It’s a Wery Wide WedgeTM
Chris: And is the arm a branch or a steam bending?
Klaus: Looks bent to me.
Rudy: Looks like steam bending to me.
Rudy: The front stick is pegged.
Klaus: Yup. And the sticks are also slightly tapered. Very elegant. The spacing between them is also perfect.
Rudy: I also love the wide seat.
Klaus: It’s also not often that combining different stick shapes work together, but here they do.
Chris: Kudos to the maker! Who might still be alive.
Chris: This looks branchy….
Klaus: What makes it look branchy to you?
Chris: The cathedrals. Like they cut through part of the branch and revealed cathedrals.
Rudy: I think the slight imperfection on the underside may hint to a natural crook. But it just seems too perfect to me. I could be wrong!
Chris: If it were a steam bending, I’d expect to see the same grain pattern along the entire arm.
Klaus: If you see it from here it looks a tiny bit wonky. In the middle there, just to the right of the middle stick.
Chris: Chris Williams’ crooks look like they were extruded from a German factory (a compliment).
Klaus: Haha. That’s skill.
Rudy: Yes. Chris Williams definitely has skill!
Klaus: Well, the maker (who is not dead) knew what they were doing. Love the wide stance too.
Rudy: And it very well could be a branch. Looking at the rest of the chair the maker definitely has skill.
Klaus: The seat looks quite low, too.
Chris: Yup. Also the front edge of the seat looks like it was made on a shaper. Very machine-y. Maybe the maker will speak up when we publish this. And then we can take a class from them.
Rudy: I would definitely take a class from this maker.
Klaus: They’ll get my praise!
Rudy: But do you think it is one of a kind?
Chris: Don’t know. That stretcher dovetail joint is a hand thing.
Klaus: But is that seat extension just glued on?
Chris: That’s the turd in the pudding here. It’s so wrong it’s almost factory-ish.
Rudy: It is puzzling. Whenever I glue up a seat, my front legs go through one half and the back legs go through the other half to provide extra strength.
Chris: That’s the best way to do it.
Klaus: That’s what I’m thinking too. Welsh 18th century glue could not be that good. No reinforcements, no sagging of the extension, no pegs. I don’t buy it.
Chris: The antique dealer should lose their license with this one.
Klaus: They should be forced to sit in the last chair we discussed.
Rudy: Haha, yes!
Chris: THE SPLAT. Give them THE SPLAT.
Rudy: Nooooo! Not the SPLAT, please!
Klaus: I have nothing bad to say about this chair. Just the dealer.
Chris: Yup. Good chair. Crap dealer.
Klaus: Good conclusion. SOLD!
19 thoughts on “Chair Chat No. 23 with Rudy and Klaus: Paddle Supports”
Once, in an antique store, I picked up a beautiful and perfect pair of pattern-maker made dividers (I’m guessing) and the tag said DIVIDERS – PRIMITIVE. I said “you’re primitive!” out loud and bought them.
The two paddle supports look like they are pinned at the arm bow.
The stretcher joint almost looks like a dovetail half lap joint 3/4 of the thickness. I would think it would be a weak joint, just held together by glue?
I like the chair myself, even though I’m not a stick chair fanatic like you guys.
The worst thing about the chair is the front seat piece, with all the care in joinery they muff up the seat.
Perhaps the glue up job for the seat was given to an apprentice.
Maybe I am seeing things, but it looks like 3 relatively large dowels holding that front glue up on the seat? Those 3 circles seem too perfectly spaced to be knots.
Actually I think there are 5, but the left one is somewhat hidden by the original finish. Maybe a tinted lacquer sprayed on?
Good eyes. I definitely wouldn’t fault them for missing the pins tho’. I’ve taken scans of B&W photos of an 18th century upholstered chair thinking the upholstery was plain, only to find out that it was and intricate tapestry, just REALLY faded. Computers see everything. Play around with it in a graphic program and those pins would probably jump out of the screen at you.
That was amusing! There was a chair chat shaped hole in my heart these past few months y’all. In Irish Country Furniture the chapter on hedge chairs mentions that chairs were sometimes built by boat builders so that was likely an apt observation. The paddle shaped back sticks make me think of disciplinary paddles though. So maybe a school marm built it. Or a nun. Maybe those back sticks were actually used to dole out some spankins.
What’s an OG color? I’m getting hip hop references… Original Gangster?
Well technically Original Gangsta’
I was thinking Orange Garnet like the shellac?
Looks like this one was designed by an architect. Nice work.
Every thing about this chair cries out that the maker knows his or her stuff. The work and porportions are top notch. The shape of the seat is interesting and different. I also disagree about the front of the seat. Yes the edge is kind of perfect but so is the rest of the chair. Structurally it beats having the joint between the rear and front legs and it would make shaping the seat eaiser. The three pegs holding it to the main plank are also traditional. Especially in boat building – it does have paddles as youve noted. With the natural crook arm and the joinery Id guess this chair was built for a yacht by a high end boat builder. Likely between the 1890s and WW I.
Those “pegs” look more like bungs (over countersunk screws) to me – also a very boat-builderly detail.
I love the undercarriage. It’s perfect. And the stretcher detail is fascinating.
The taper and beveling on the back sticks are my favorite parts. The paddles are just OK.
I’m not a fan of low back chairs. But I could see doing this as a high back chair, with a different spindle, or maybe 2, in place of the paddles.
Word. It truly is a lovely chair.
I’m wondering. If you were to do this as a comb-back chair, and continue the beautiful detail on the back sticks up to the comb, how would you pierce the armrest? Make an octagonal mortise, as a cabinetmaker would?
You could maybe round the spindle where it passes through the armbow then take up a smaller and tapered octagon above the armbow. Maybe the octagonal mortise would be easier overall. I have never done one.
Maybe the front edge broke off at a later date and someone jointed the edge and put it back on.
If you ask a boat builder to make a chair, this is what you will get. Maybe the chair was used by n older boatbuilder to spin oakum used in caulking up a boat hull. This would explain the low stance, as low stools were traditionally used for this.
Why not just say “it is woodworker’s shop talk.”
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