A trio of local wood workers are putting the finishing touches on a massive new piece that will soon be nestled along the Bridgewater Channel.
Lost Woods owners Jeff and Tracie Rehark have been working alongside Steve Laster on a towering blue Adirondack chair for The Blue Chair restaurant in the English Village. Measuring 6-feet-9-inches tall at the back, four feet across at the base, and weighing an estimated 350 pounds, the new blue chair will tower over the oversized seat already on display in front of the restaurant.
That smaller chair has already become a popular photo stop for patrons and passersby in the year-and-a-half since the restaurant opened its doors. The Blue Chair co-owner Danny Finch said the plan is to keep both big chairs once the new one is delivered.
Tracie Rehark said Lost Woods made the cornhold games for The Blue Chair several months ago when co-owner Dallas Finch brought up the idea of getting a bigger blue chair.
“I said, ‘We can do it, sure.’ But in my head I was thinking, ‘How are we going to do this?’” Rehark said.
In researching the world’s largest chairs, some of which are well over 20 feet tall and not even possible to sit in, Rehark said she came across Scott Gooch who owns a furniture shop in the Bay Area called Bayview Escarpment. Gooch had made seven large Adirondack chairs and agreed to share the specs if Lost Woods agreed to share photos of the finished product. Rehark said this will be the eighth such chair of this design, and the first one constructed completely outside of California.
Gooch’s furniture store generally cuts and prepares the lumber and ships it off to be assembled onsite. Laster said, as a result, the specs they were sent were missing some valuable information such as board lengths and cut angles. So there was a little bit of trial and error involved with putting the chair together.
“Just with the knowledge of doing regular Adriondack chairs this thing just kind of came together, but it was totally different than anything I have ever done before,” Laster said. “It is night and day. This thing is a monster.”
Laster said he has been making Adriondack chairs, also called Muskoka chairs, for years for his family and friends and has recently started selling some through Lost Woods. But the big blue chair was a special challenge. Laster said a normal Adriondack chair would be comprised of mostly 1x4 lumber. This chair uses 2x8s, 2x10s and 2x12s for the added mass.
“With just simple 1-by wood you can put a screw in the bottom of that and you can bend that wood to make it straight and to give me the dimensions that I want,” Laster said. “You can’t do that with this stuff, so you put it in there and you hope that it is going to be right.”
If not, Laster said they had to slowly rework the board that wasn’t sitting quite right until it fit flush with the rest of the chair.
It was Laster’s first foray into making oversized seats. Shortly after the assembly of the chair was wrapped up on Monday he decided it would also be is last.
“I’m officially out of the big chair business. That is the swan song right there,” Laster said with a smile.
Tracie Rehark said the chair has taken the equivalent of about three or four 10-hour work days so far to de-sap, cut, sand and paint the lumber and assemble the chair. Now it just needs to putty, touch up paint, weatherization and a coat of polyurethane which she hopes to finish up today. The plan is to deliver the big new seat to The Blue Chair around noon on Wednesday.