Many of you have heard the story a year ago when I first started creating this chair, so I’ll be brief in the beginning.
When my wife and I first purchased our house, it had an outhouse behind it. Fortunately, it wasn’t plumbed…as in it had long since been boarded over and converted into a potting shed of sorts. After a couple years of living with it, my wife had enough and asked me to haul it away. She now knows to describe in writing and have me sign a letter of understanding when she wants me to haul something off. No agreement was drafted nor signed at the time, so I backed the truck up to the outhouse, tipped it into the bed, and hauled it away…fifty feet up the hill to the shop.
I’ve always wanted a bathroom at the shop…maybe this was the way. There were enough ground hog holes around my shop that digging a pit wasn’t necessary. I had enough sawdust, and my friend runs a lime transport company. Although fairly new (by a few years) to marriage, I knew that if the commitment were to last from my wife’s standpoint, I best get the thought out of my head and not resurrect the outhouse.
Upon closer inspection of the outhouse, I noticed a variety of woods used to construct it. Poplar, cherry, sycamore, and oak. I don’t know if it was built by a sawyer, or if it was the office of a local sawmill operation. I planed a few of the boards down and made various projects with them. At some point down the road, someone sent me a picture of a chair made out of an old treadle sewing machine. I liked the concept, but the execution was done via cutting down a pallet. It looked as comfortable as it sounds.
After studying the picture, I went to the barn and got a treadle base. The metal work on the sides had similar curves to that of a horseshoe, so I got a few and set them aside. I make a bench that has some level of comfort, so I took my storypoles from the bench build and made the frame of the seat. I then milled more pieces and eventually the seat came to life. Unfortunately, the more life the seat took on, the more interest I lost. I put the seat under a workbench with intention of getting some spacers to mount it to the treadle base.
Weeks later, I found some bushings that would work, but they were too expensive at eight dollars a piece. I only needed four, but that was thirty two bucks that I didn’t need to spend.
I bought them anyways.
I returned to the shop and placed them on the “Bench of no Return”. Every shop has one of these, it’s a collection of odds and ends that you collect, to put away or put to use one day. That’s all I needed for a reason not to finish the project.
Months passed and I finally found one of the bushings, but I swear, after what seemed like hours of searching, the other bushings were not within two square miles.
More time passed. I began cleaning up my shop. I got the chair parts out to make room for firewood before the next winter storm set in. I put the chair parts on my assembly table so I couldn’t not work on it.
The bushings? I still have no idea where they are. Instead, I made some out of oak. I think it took me all of five minutes. One cautionary note to all those that cut small parts on a saw attached to a dust collector: Turn the dust collector off before making the cut, or you will be knee deep in sawdust looking for said part.
The seat? Have a look for yourself.
I believe it turned out great. The back is splayed at just the right angle and the seat has a perfect amount of curvature.
Yes, its from an outhouse, but I believe that adds to the task of the sit. You see, when one sits on the seat, problems are solved, frustrations are cleared, and chores are put off ‘til later. This newly created seat brings the old past time pontifications out of the cramped shed and places them on the front porch, or in the breezeway of the barn, or in your library. Wherever this piece resides, it’s sure to be a comfortable place to sit.
This piece is for sale on my website. $500.00 Local pickup only.