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My family recently took a trip to Lakeside, Ohio, with another family from our neighborhood. It was someone’s idea to pile all of us in the same van to make the four-hour drive across Ohio, four adults (one pregnant), two toddlers and an infant. Did I mention we had to fit all our junk in this minivan too?

Lakeside sits on the shore of Lake Erie and is a Chautauqua community. The streets are narrow and the cottages are packed onto tiny lots. Everyone waves and everything feels very welcoming. There’s plenty to do with the kids, if you’re looking for a family-friendly getaway in the Midwest, I am happy to recommend the Airbnb we stayed in. I must also mention that this was the first year that I enjoyed Lakeside in the summer since I left the Methodist Church as an ordained elder (but that’s not the point of this post).

The cottage we shared with our friends was filled with cozy furniture. In the enclosed porch space, I noticed two chairs that had a handmade look to them. I took a closer look and it was obvious that someone in the 50’s enjoyed some shaping and handwork. The tapered spindles looked like they were carved by hand and one of the posts on the seat back had been pulled up, or was simply never taken fully home in its mortise.

The seats were shaped but in a pretty limited sense. Perhaps a bandsaw and table saw were used. The underside of the seat was very rough, no effort was put in to finish it to any degree. I was surprised to feel how sturdy the undercarriage was, hardly a squeak.

It’s so rare for me to encounter handmade chairs, that I found myself a little over-excited to examine these.

So, just curious, do any of you start flipping chairs and sticking your head under tables when you find one that’s handmade in the wild?!

– David Lyell


The underside of both chairs was very rough and gave a few clues about the maker’s process.



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