Published at Monday, April 02nd, 2018 - 04:03:19 AM. Balloon Chair. By Dylan Boutet.
Well, at least they were 19th century! Unfortunately, with steadily increasing labour and material costs the era of the bodger (or chair-maker) was close to an end before the end of the 19th century. The end of truly hand-made chairs: mortised and tenoned without the aid of machinery; with turned and carved legs, sometimes even with carved back rails depending on the particular skills of the craftsman making them. Very few examples of Australian chairs with the Trafalgar-style back have carving on the actual cresting rails; these chairs, even as individuals, are eagerly sought and highly prized.
The 1870s and 80s saw predominantly balloon-back chairs with a variation or the bar-back -the ladder-back chair. The ladder-back chair, although not all that pretty to look at in comparison with the others previously discussed, is probably the sturdiest of all cedar dining chairs, excluding provincial manufactured chairs utilising peg construction methods and leg stretchers. The ladder-back chair has two horizontal back rails that are tenoned into the rear legs, giving both strength and comfort at small sacrifice to style. Even though there were many of this style of chair manufactured, we have repaired surprisingly few with any major damage. We have seen many examples of these, both hard-seated and upholstered versions, usually with turned front legs. Another point worthy of mention is that the back legs are straighter, relying on nature to its fullest with less short grain, giving greater mechanical strength following a straighter line and therefore resulting in a stronger chair.
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