On our farm, we tend to build many of our own spaces - making our home and surrounding space custom-fit to us is just part of our way of living: it's what we do.
My journey of working with wood started rough, acquiring prybars to recycle pallets for our first chicken coop. Since then, we've moved on to acquiring tools, first by borrowing them from our local tool library, and then acquiring our own.
This past week we had a chance to deliver a series of chairs for a neighboring group's upcoming series of rocket stove and meat smithing workshops. The chairs are good for learning, sitting, and talking.
All of the wood in the chairs has a bit of local history: the seat and back slats are made from pine boards that were reclaimed from the Arlee High School gym floor. They came to us in pretty rough shape still full of staples and nails from our friends at Heritage Timber. We spent hours of summer pulling to make the wood useable. We even enlisted family for a big work party on their summer visit. You can still see some of the holes from nails and staples, but all the roughness has been smoothed out. The leg and back supports come from pine trees that were thinned by our friends to manage for bark beetle near the Middle Burnt Fork of the Bitterroot River, a ways upriver of our own homestead. The blue streaks and patches that many of the boards show are the stain from a fungus that is introduced to trees by the bark beetles.
We worked with all of this wood at several stages, planing it to smooth the surfaces and get uniform thickness, ripping the gym floor planks to narrow slats, and rounding the edges of all pieces with the router and sander for smooth and welcoming edges. We like that way that, from a step back, it appears that the knotty white pine is resting on pieces of curved driftwood. These chairs are inspired by a design from a Canadian woodworker and modified by us to accomodate both shorter and taller people. The chairs can be adjusted slightly so they sit up or more reclined, good for listening or reading. They are not dining room chairs, but we do like them for large gatherings. Nothing is wasted with our wood. The wood scraps help heat neighbors' homes and the shavings from the router and planer are used as chicken bedding for our laying hens.
They weigh 13 pounds and, as you see in the images, the legs and seats fit together so they are easy to store and transport. We've tested them with 320 pounds of weight - stacking both of us and our dog onto the seat to ensure that they hold up well. They are guaranteed for life. We finish them with a non-toxic, VOC-free stain that highlights the wood and can ship them all over the United States. They are available for sale to help fund our own hand built life, our farm, and everything that we build each day. We have several available now, other orders ship in two or three weeks. They are available for $69 each and ship for $30 each in recycled packaging. Discounts are available in orders over 12. If you are within driving distance of Missoula, we'll also consider delivery using our vegetable oil car for a bulk order or can arrange to ship via freight for those farther away. You may order the chairs here.