For Sale Via Silent Auction: Comb-back Stick Chair 

Today I am putting up for sale this eight-stick comb-back chair that is finished in milk paint. This chair is being sold via silent auction – details of the auction are below. But first, here is some information about the chair itself.

This chair is a new design and is (I think) a successful effort to make a chair that’s ideal for both dining and relaxing. The chair has a newly designed armbow, plus some different geometry for the back, sticks and undercarriage. These changes add comfort without taking away the animalistic stance of the classic stick chair.

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The chair is made from red oak, slippery elm and poplar, which are local materials that have been chosen to make the chair both strong and lightweight. The entire chair is assembled using hide glue, which is a reversible adhesive. This allows the chair to be repaired with ease by future generations. 

The chair is finished in Sinopia milk paint in Bardini Blue, a non-toxic and durable finish. The paint has been hand-burnished to a low sheen and has a topcoat of linseed oil/beeswax finish. This is a time-intensive hand-applied finish with texture and character. The paint is slightly burnished through in places, and you will see neat brush marks. 

Overall, the chair is 39-1/2” high x 25” wide x 25” deep. The seat is 16” x 20”, which accommodates most frames. The seat is 16-3/4” high, an ideal height for most operations and most sitters. And the back reclines at 14°, which makes it suitable for dining, keyboarding and relaxing.

A Silent Auction

During the last few years, I’ve had people ask to purchase chairs for a price far above the list price (two or three times the list). These potential buyers were frustrated with the first-come-first-served way I sell my chairs. I get that. It’s a scramble. But I like to be able to sell chairs at a price that many working people can afford.

So after some thought, I’m going to experiment with some different methods of selling chairs.

About half of my chairs will be first-come-first-served like I have always done it, with prices starting at $900 to $1,500. (As always, prices may go up in the future as supplies become more expensive or the chairs become more labor-intensive.) 

The remainder will be sold using other methods. For this chair, I will use a silent auction. Simply submit your best bid to [email protected] before 8 p.m. (Eastern) on Saturday, Dec. 4. There is no minimum bid, and the highest bid wins. The winner will be contacted on Saturday after the auction closes.

(On shipping: You can pick up the chair, or I will deliver it within 100 miles of Cincinnati for free. Otherwise, I can ship it via common carrier to addresses in the continental U.S. This usually costs between $150 and $270, depending on where you live.)

In the future I will also experiment with a raffle. (Anyone who wants to buy the chair at the retail price will have a week to put their name in a digital hat. Then a buyer will be selected at random.)

Please remember that this is an experiment. I am trying to find a way to maintain my dignity as both a chairmaker and a breadwinner. However, I might just tick everyone off. Then I’ll flop and end up getting a day job. So if you see me cleaning up sloth poo at the Cincinnati Zoo….

— Christopher Schwarz


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