Billy the Chairmaker

Discussion in 'Home, Auto, and Computer Tech' started by crosscreekcooter, Jul 1, 2018.

  1. crosscreekcooter

    crosscreekcooter Cunning Linguist

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    On the way from Georgia Friday, I stopped off to visit a friend who lives about 15 miles outside Swainsboro. Billy is about 75 and grew up on this 30 acres. They used to raise all their own food, including some cows and chickens and had about 200 hogs. One of his old sheds had a brick chimney which I assumed was a barbecue pit. He told me that was where they would boil the water at hog-killing time. At one rime they raised about 200 hogs. He has a nice wood shop out back in between the 5 acre pond, peach and apple trees and his muscadine grape vines. Billy makes some pretty good wine. He has numerous sheds and outbuildings scattered around mostly filled with a couple tractors, harrows, boats, and a bushhog. Every farmer up here seems to have a bushhog and a riding mower.
    Billy's workshop is framed out of old timbers taken from derelict homes and such and resawn and like most has an old tin roof. It's heated with a large steel tank he converted into a wood burning stove. Billy wanted to show me his new stash of recently sawn cedar; 3 of the sheds were stacked full. He was especially proud of the big stack of white ash lumber a man gave him recently. It turns out that Billy sawed the ash for the man back in 1993 and it's been stored in this old corn crib all this time.
    Both Billy's father and grandfather were chairmakers. His dad would make a collection of furniture, load up the family truck, and travel around Georgia for a week selling the things he made. He showed me a chair that his grandfather made that was probably 150 years old, although somewhat primitive looking, was still very sturdy. All of the material in the chair was hand split and scraped and assembled with nails. Billy has made an exact duplicate that looks like a twin and they are in his living room. Billy can probably make anything out of wood, but focuses on ladder back and Adirondack style chairs and rockers. Most all the chairs he makes are cut from cedar and cypress timbers he has harvested. Once the wood seasons, he may then cut the parts out and they will sit another year in his shop to "do what they gonna do" as he puts it. He can then cull the parts that may twist, split or check. His hand made furniture pieces are almost perfect and he's real proud of what he makes. The parts are assembled with high strength glue and exposed brass screws and then finished with numerous coats of sanding sealer and polyurethane. You really have to see them in person to appreciate how beautiful and sturdy they are. When Billy hangs it up the world will lose a real craftsman.
    20180629_151233.jpg

    This is the white ash. Very straight grained and strong, they make baseball bats from this wood.
    20180629_151346.jpg

    Cedar. The piece turned on it's side is pecky cedar, looks worm eaten in the grain. It's caused by an injury to the bark allowing an opening for a fungus that actually rots the heartwood. The fungal growth stops once the tree is cut. Sold as a specialty wood.
    20180629_151253 (1).jpg
    More cedar. The cedar lumber in the middle left is 3" thick and 14" wide.There is as much cedar behind this stack as what you see. The dingy looking material on the left is very old. You can barely make out the heavy beams on the bottom. They are probably 16-18' long with hand hewn dovetails and mortise and tenons cut in them. The pegs have been cut. That material may be 200 years old.
    20170819_113918.jpg
    This cedar table is massive, the top is about 3" thick.
    20170819_114456.jpg
    The back and seat are cedar, the legs and frame are hickory. The chair is very heavy. He also made the cabinets you see in the background.
    20170901_150514.jpg
    Adirondack rocker, made from cedar and cypress. The color striations really stand out against the clear cypress grain. He also makes really cool looking boat and canoe paddles.
     
    #1 crosscreekcooter, Jul 1, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2018
    • URGatorBait

      URGatorBait #TeamCasey
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      awesome story, and that is some real nice wood work!!
       
      • crosscreekcooter

        crosscreekcooter Cunning Linguist

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        Billy is quite a character and funny as hell.
         
        • ChiefGator

          ChiefGator A Chief and a Gator, Master of the Ignore list!!!!

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          Nice stuff, does he do any custom work and how are his prices?
           
        • Detroitgator

          Detroitgator General Factotum
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          No, he clearly went full corporate cookie cutter design. ;)
           
          • ChiefGator

            ChiefGator A Chief and a Gator, Master of the Ignore list!!!!

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            I understood that, but what I might want as custom he might not want to do, and I do wonder if he does stuff for money. Thanks for the response, I do appreciate it.
             
          • Detroitgator

            Detroitgator General Factotum
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            I was just kidding, and yes, I’d ask the same question you did.
             
          • ChiefGator

            ChiefGator A Chief and a Gator, Master of the Ignore list!!!!

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            I suspected that and it was amusing. I might want so chairs and perhaps something that looks like a Gator, if I move to Florida.
             
          • crosscreekcooter

            crosscreekcooter Cunning Linguist

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            Yes he does but to be honest with you I dont know the prices. I could put you in touch with him, he doesnt know I posted this.
             
          • NVGator

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            That’s awesome work there, cooter. Thank for sharing it. Would look great in a mountain cabin. Not my style, per se, but I can certainly appreciate the woodwork and craftsmanship.
             
          • oxrageous

            oxrageous The Fuehrer
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            Thanks for cutting and pasting that story off the internet, cooter - I enjoyed it. Your particular version uses "Billy" but there are 4 other versions I found, including "John", "Freddy", "Buford", and "Milton".
             
          • crosscreekcooter

            crosscreekcooter Cunning Linguist

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            Buford :lol2:
             
            • NVGator

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            • crosscreekcooter

              crosscreekcooter Cunning Linguist

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              You are kidding right?
               
            • NVGator

              NVGator Member
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              I can’t tell who’s kidding here
               
            • crosscreekcooter

              crosscreekcooter Cunning Linguist

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              You actually believe that I plagiarized a story about an old man that makes wooden furniture?
               
              • URGatorBait

                URGatorBait #TeamCasey
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                plausible
                 
              • NVGator

                NVGator Member
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                No, I don’t, but it’s also hard not to believe Ox. He’s usually pretty easy to read.
                 
              • MJMGator

                MJMGator Slightly amused
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                First rule is don’t believe a word Ox says. No wonder he made you a mod. :lol:
                 
                • URGatorBait

                  URGatorBait #TeamCasey
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                  wait :eek3:
                   

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