a reminder & some wainscot chair photos

Yesterday I went shopping for some quartersawn oak for my carving class this spring at Lost Art Press – this is the reminder that tickets for that go on sale tomorrow, Thursday Jan 12 at 10am eastern time. https://www.tickettailor.com/events/covingtonmechanicals/827443/#

Today I’ve been shifting those boards around trying to find space to store them in the shop. More of that tomorrow. By mid-afternoon I had enough and turned to some housekeeping in my photo files. I was trying to organize the folder “chairs” – I think I have “boxes” mostly sorted. I found a chair I totally forgot about that has some carvings on it that might show up in that class.

detail PF chair 2013

This is a chair I “made up” = in that it’s not a copy of any particular 17th century wainscot chair. I took the measurements from a surviving chair, but super-imposed carvings on it from here & there. I made this back when I worked in a local living history museum, but have no memory of what it was for, where it went, etc. It’s certainly the last one I made there.

PF wainscot chair 2013

The format of the chair was taken from one I copied some years before that. Made in Hingham, Massachusetts, descended in the Lincoln family – this is my copy of that chair – now in the public library there. You can go sit in it if you like.

Lincoln chair, red oak, walnut & maple

That carving in that chair is unlike most others – most of it is done with just a V-tool. Maple & walnut inlay for the barber pole accents.

carved panels and crest rail Lincoln chair

These chairs are beastly to sit it. Worse to lump around the house, they weigh a lot. I made one in 2020 that I kept here, much to my family’s chagrin. It’s the best carving I’ve ever done – so I’m hanging on to it. This one is almost a verbatim copy of 2 chairs attributed to Thomas Dennis – one at Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts and the other at Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Brunswick, Maine. I have made 4 versions of it – this time I made up the rear panel and changed the crest rail’s pattern a bit.

PF wainscot chair 2020

Here’s the panel.

panel, PF wainscot chair, 2020

One of the exercises in that class in April will hopefully be strapwork – the carvings with the connective bands running through them – like the vertical panels in the first chair – or the top rail of this chair

strapwork carving on top rail, crest rail above that

But for a comfortable wainscot chair, nothing beats this next one – another chair I made a few times. I guess I made this one about 20 or more years ago. Bob Trent showed me the original it’s based on and that led to me writing an article about it once. https://chipstone.org/article.php/347/American-Furniture-1998/A-Seventeenth-Century-Carpenter%E2%80%99s-Conceit:-The-Waldo-Family-Joined-Great-Chair

But the carving on this is nothing to speak of – the others have so much space to fill. This one is different in many ways.

3 legged wainscot chair

6 thoughts on “a reminder & some wainscot chair photos

  1. The panel on the 2020 chair (Thomas Dennis version) is unbelievable. At first, I thought it was also the cover of your book, but I see it’s slightly different.

    Not sure if you’ve mentioned this before, but any idea why they did those cut-outs in the arms? Looks like it only adds to the discomfort and a great place to snag your arm or shirt sleeve!

    Thanks, Peter.

    • On the three legged chair I was thinking those almost looked like a place to hook a strap to provide back support. But I’m not sure that would improve comfort in any way. Then thought maybe a place to tie up the sides of a sheepskin to keep your thighs cozy?

    • Sorry I’m so long in getting to these comments. The cutouts on the underside of wainscot chair arms are like the nib on a saw – anyone who tells you they “know” what it’s for is lying. Period. I think the cutouts are decorative. Key words there – “I think…”

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