The two most comfortable chairs I make are my lowback and this Gibson armchair, which is a design that originated in Ireland.
In 2019 I went to Ireland and studied many historical examples of this chair and now make a version that is similar to the Irish Gibson, though it is definitely not a reproduction. I made a bunch of small changes, such as planing flats on the chair’s back sticks, to further improve the chair’s comfort.
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Gibson chairs look quite unusual the first time you see them. The back leans so far back (25°) that it looks like a chair for sleeping or for dentistry. The truth is that the chair is perfectly suited to sitting by a fire and talking to friends. Because of the interplay between the geometry of the seat and the back, you sit fairly upright but in great comfort.
In fact, the first ugly duckling prototype I built of the Gibson is the most coveted chair in our family when we’re sitting around talking.
This version is made entirely from red oak that has been split, sawn and shaved so the components are lightweight but incredibly strong. The joints are assembled with hide glue (which is reversible) so repairs in the far future are easy. All surfaces were finished entirely with hand tools, so the chair has lovely scalloped surfaces and eased edges.
The seat is not saddled. However, you can sit in it for hours in comfort. The chair’s low seat height, the tilt of the seat (5°) and the back work together to take pressure off the right places on your legs and buttocks. This chair does not benefit from a saddled seat.
The chair is finished with General Finishes “Blue Moon” acrylic, a water-based paint that allows the texture of the oak to show through and is quite durable.
The seat height is 14-1/2”, a very typical seat height for a Gibson. The chair’s overall width is 24”, its height is 33-1/4” and its depth is 27-1/4”.
How to Purchase This Chair
This is the first Gibson chair I’ve sold (aside from a janky second prototype). So I’m a little in the dark about how to set a price. The chair takes about as long to build as a comb-back. And the materials are about the same cost. So I am asking $1,200 plus shipping.
This chair is being sold via a random drawing. (I’m sorry but the chair cannot be shipped outside the U.S.) If you wish to buy the chair, send an email to [email protected] before 3 p.m. (Eastern) on Monday, Nov. 14. In the email please use the subject line “Chair Sale” and include your:
- First name and last name
- U.S. shipping address
- Daytime phone number (this is for the trucking quote only)
After all the emails have arrived on Nov. 14, we will pick a winner that evening via a random drawing.
If you are the “winner,” the chair can be picked up at our storefront for free. Or we can ship it to you via common carrier. The crate is included in the price of the chair. Shipping a chair usually costs about $250 to $300, depending on your location.
— Christopher Schwarz