The evening I received the oar my mind was racing, thinking of how I might use it in a chair project. I went to bed but couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned. What kind of chair could I build?
I knew that the oar was long enough that I could cut two legs out of the bottom portion and use the top piece for the back leg and chair back. I could make a three legged chair with a long slender back. That’s the kind of chair I build most often.
Now if you are going to build a chair from an oar, the chair has to have some connection to water or the sea
In 2012 Popular Woodworking published an article about building an Irish chair and my first thought was to build some type of ancient Irish Sligo or Tuam style chair.
These are three leg chairs with a simple slender back.
But since the oar had a connection to an Italian boat I thought perhaps the chair should have some type of Italian theme. During my visit New York’s Met in 2012 I saw a Sgabello. It is a 16th century Italian chair, used primarily as a hallway or side chair. It was made with flat seat, slender high back and three legs. Now that was a possibility.
So perhaps I could use the oar to build a chair based on an Italian Sgabello.
Now as you move south from Pescara along the Adriatic coast you pass through a number of seaside towns.
One such town is called Fossacesia (foss -a-chess- see-a) ia . My paternal grandfather left Fossacesia in 1925 and settled in Canada.
Along this portion of the Adriatic coast-line , the Trabocchi (tra-bow-key) coastline, you will see numerous ramshackle looking piers with a little hut on it, used for fishing. These fishing piers are called trabocchi .
My idea was developing and I decided the back of the chair would include a marquetry panel depicting a trabocchi. Ihad taken a number of marquetry seminars and wanted to try my hand at this outside the seminar setting.)
This portion of the chair would represent the sea.
The second part of the town of Fossacesia is built up on this hillside overlooking the Adriatic sea. Much of these hills are covered with olive groves. In fact Fossacesia is known for one of Italy’s most ancient olive trees planted between 700 – 1000 A.D. So it came to me that I could use a piece of olivewood for the seat of the chair. The olive wood would represent the land.
I had the concept for my chair project resolved. I would build a three leg chair in the style of an Italian sgabello that represents the town of Fossacesia. The sea would be represented by the oak oar with a marquetry panel of a Trabocchi. The land would be represented by an olivewood seat. My project would be called Fossa – chair – sia.
It was now about four in the morning and I finally fell to sleep.
-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario