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Re: [medievalsawdust] Viking ? Chair

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  • jrwinkler@msn.com
    While we might not ever be able to prove that the stargazer chair was originally of viking design... or even used by vikings.... what CAN be said about it is
    Message 1 of 13 , Sep 26, 2002
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      While we might not ever be able to prove that the stargazer chair was originally of viking design... or even used by vikings.... what CAN be said about it is that there is no technology in the chair that is inconsistant with viking culture.
       
      The chair is constructed with planks.... vikings did planks.   The chair is assembled using a through mortise and tenon joint...  vikings commonly used through mortise and tenon joints (see Mastermyr chest, Gotstad (et.al.) beds and various ship construction techniques)...     Unfortunately the research trail ends here...   even finding a plank with an "appropriately" sized and placed hole in one end doesn't establish that the chair existed as such a plank could potentially be a part of a variety of things.  
       
      ... and there is that fact that neither planks nor through mortise and tenon joints were unknown to a large variety of cultures and periods... so it could have originated durn' near anywhere at any time...  
       
      Research is a bitch...
       
      ... but, as it has been noted before...  ;-)   Even if the chair ain't viking in origin, or even of period origin... it truly is one of the more comfortable and easily transportable chairs around...  and, in the SCA context... unless you're trying to do a absolutely authentic campsite...  its a wonderful asset and beats the hell out of sitting on the ground.... particularly after its been raining...  
       
      Chas.
    • vinlandar
      ... ain t viking in origin, or even of period origin... it truly is one of the more comfortable and easily transportable chairs around... and, in the SCA
      Message 2 of 13 , Sep 26, 2002
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        --- In medievalsawdust@y..., jrwinkler@m... wrote:
        >
        > Research is a bitch...
        >
        > ... but, as it has been noted before... ;-) Even if the chair
        ain't viking in origin, or even of period origin... it truly is one
        of the more comfortable and easily transportable chairs around...
        and, in the SCA context... unless you're trying to do a absolutely
        authentic campsite... its a wonderful asset and beats the hell out
        of sitting on the ground.... particularly after its been
        raining...
        >
        > Chas.

        Hear, hear! They are all that. :-) As for me in my attempting to be
        accurate camp (see note below) I have found that the Lund type 3-
        legged stools are amazingly comfortable up to a point, but it sure
        would be nice to have something with a back on it. I am looking into
        the Irish tuam type chair which is included as a pdf file in one of
        the better known SCA furniture websites. I found the book at the
        public library which is used for a refference, but it is short on the
        history of the chair, saying only that it has been made in Tuam,
        Ireland for a very very long time. I will try to dig further if I
        can to get some more information about how far back they made
        something like it.

        (here's the note below) For what it's worth, my kit is not 100%
        accurate either, but most of the furbys are of the less obvious
        types, and I am gradually working on them. If I am doing a demo in
        which it is not likely I will be taking off my turn shoes, I will
        wear foam insoles with structured arches. The tunic I use right now
        was a gift made graciously for me quickly so I wouldn't be nekkid.
        It's beautiful, and looks like linen, but I am pretty sure it is a
        cotton/polyester blend. I am working on a hand-sewn linen under-
        tunic, after which I will work on a hand-sewn wool tunic, but Rome
        wasn't built in a day, and neither will be my little kit. the reason
        the historical accuracy is important to me in my kit is not at all so
        I can say I have the coolest kit on the block, but simply because I
        care very much about the teaching process, and I want to try to teach
        and illustrate as accurately as possible. That's my hobby, and what
        another person does is theirs, and I celebrate our enjoyment and the
        luxury of having hobbies in the first place. :-)

        -Charlie
      • Joseph Hayes
        ... Although I m an authenticity policemen in training, I d rather see a viking chair than a modern camp chair. Ulrich
        Message 3 of 13 , Sep 26, 2002
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          > Even if the chair ain't viking in origin, or even of period origin...
          > it truly is one of the more comfortable and easily transportable
          > chairs around...

          Although I'm an authenticity policemen in training, I'd rather see a
          "viking chair" than a modern camp chair.

          Ulrich


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        • Conal O'hAirt Jim Hart
          unless you re ... But mud is period..... ===== Baron Conal O hAirt / Jim Hart Aude Aliquid Dignum Dare Something Worthy
          Message 4 of 13 , Sep 26, 2002
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            unless you're
            > trying to do a absolutely authentic campsite... its
            > a wonderful asset and beats the hell out of sitting
            > on the ground.... particularly after its been
            > raining...
            >
            > Chas.
            >

            But mud is period.....


            =====
            Baron Conal O'hAirt / Jim Hart
            Aude Aliquid Dignum
            ' Dare Something Worthy '

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          • Avery
            There are a couple things about the stargazer chairs that I think ought to be brought up. For our needs they re great. An eight foot 2x12, and hour or two of
            Message 5 of 13 , Sep 27, 2002
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              There are a couple things about the stargazer chairs that I think ought to be brought up.
               
              For our needs they're great.  An eight foot 2x12, and hour or two of cutting, maybe a spot or routing, some finish or another and you're done.  They pack up small and set up quick.  But, I'm not so sure our honourable ancestors would have felt the same way about them.
               
              By and large, the middle ages was a time when materials were dear, but labor was cheap.  Even limited to period tools, I could probably crank out several stargazer chairs a day if my start point is getting in the truck to go to the hardware store for kiln dried 2x12s.  Change that start point to "hey, look, a tree" and my productivity plummets.  Now, admittedly, they had to cut down a tree for whatever they did, and, as Charles said, they had planks, but looking at the Mastermeyer find, it looks to me like then tended to split those planks out of a log guartersawn-wise.  This makes sense for a number of uses - ship siding spring immediately to mind.  It's not going to tend to yield the thick planks you pretty much need to make the stargazers work.
               
              The stargazers have that big-assed tennon sticking out the back.  This is not such a big deal when you are sitting around a fire in the woods somewhere and have all outdoors to spread your stuff around.  Think about putting a couple of those in your long house or on the deck of your knorr.  Quite the obstacle course.
               
              While stargazers pack up tight, they are HEAVY!!!  Not such a big deal if you are traveling via motor coach.  If by muscle, on the other hand.... I once carried two of them (out of yellow pine) from N21 to the barn for court at Pennsic.  NEVER AGAIN!  I thought I was going to loose and arm or two when we first hit the merchants.  If we are assuming that the Norse (or anybody else) might have used them in the field, we have to ask how they would have gotten them to their location.  By comparison I have made one of Charles' fauld chairs out of white oak.  It weighs about a third what the stargazers weighed. 
               
              So, while they could have made them - I think there would be a number of forces that would tend to steer you away from them if you were a woodworker in the day.
               
              Avery
            • Chris Stone
              Amen How many archeology books have I read where all of the conclusions were mere speculation. More than I care to think about. Christophe ... From:
              Message 6 of 13 , Sep 27, 2002
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                Amen
                 
                How many archeology books have I read where all of the conclusions were mere speculation.  More than I care to think about.
                 
                Christophe
                 
                -----Original Message-----
                From: jrwinkler@... [mailto:jrwinkler@...]
                Sent: Thursday, September 26, 2002 12:33 PM
                To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: Re: [medievalsawdust] Re: Digest Number 50

                 
                Hey ya'll...   have to comment a bit on the conversation between Donato and Charlie... 
                 
                This whole question of "authenticity" was one I crossed swords with a while back...  for my purposes I divide projects into three categories:
                 
                1:  Reproduction (period pieces based on proof)
                2:  Period-informed (semi period pieces where you have some knowledge... but parts
                     of the data pool are a bit shallow and ya' gotta' make some stuff up.... OR...
                     something that looks like something in a manuscript but has modern materials,
                     construction techniques, finishs, etc.
                3:  Hobby useful (or SCA-useful)... these are the "couldn't prove they existed on a
                     bet... but darn are these projects handy" class if item.
                 
                Donato's observation that "but just because something is not documented
                does NOT mean it did NOT exist, it only means you cannot prove
                conclusively that it DID exist."  is accurate as far as it goes... however...  
                 
                Years ago my Lady and I did archeological work with Fairfax County in Virginia.  One of the things that the "professionals" pounded into our heads is that when you're documenting an artifact the one thing you have to be very clear about is differentiating between what you KNOW and what you THINK....  many, many times we'd dig up some chunk of rusted iron that looked like this or that... but... it was documented on the sheets as "unidentified machine part"...  i.e... a metal thiga-ma-bobbie...  The reason for this approach is to eliminate the power of suggestion from later research...   and suggestion can and has taken many an enquiring mind down the wrong path...  never to be heard from again.
                 
                Its also very easy when trying to interpret a site to let your imagination take off... to draw connections between this or that where no real connection exists.   Views of history and cultures can take some interesting turns when artifacts and contexts are mis-interpreted based on assumptions or incorrect foundation knowledge....  and history is repleat with these "OOPs-es"....  ;-)   [Hey... look at all them viking movies with the horns on the helmets.... ]
                 
                Doing research is hard and frustrating...  finding the evidence to undertake a project and be able to say with confidence... "this is something they did back then" gives our work context and meaning...   Don't get me wrong... there isn't anything wrong with doing Hobby-useful stuff...   as noted before... I do it myself...     It all depends on what you're personal goals are for a particular project.
                 
                But documenting is important... for those interested in documenting...   and those who strive for being period and take pride in it are as correct in their thinking as those who rebel against it...   and how correct that opinion is depend on which camp yer' standin' in when you voice that opinion...  
                 
                Context is everything....
                 
                Your most obdn't servant -
                Chas.


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              • vinlandar
                One of the things I consider when thinking about a period informed piece is to consider the types of things that were made, and some of the common
                Message 7 of 13 , Sep 28, 2002
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                  One of the things I consider when thinking about a 'period informed'
                  piece is to consider the types of things that were made, and some of
                  the common construction techniques. i.e., the chest I just made
                  slants in on the sides like the Mastyrmyr chest, but it is not of the
                  same dimentions as that chest. Other chests of that period and
                  general location have a similar slant on the sides, and were not
                  identical. I figure there was not a (as i have said before) medieval
                  WallMart, so it's not likely one will find all that many chests of
                  exactly the same dimentions as an original artifact, but a technique
                  found useful would have been shared and copied. I DID find that that
                  slight slant makes a chest amazingly stable and resistant from
                  tipping up on end. Maybe something we have forgotten?

                  -Charlie





                  > -----Original Message-----
                  > From: jrwinkler@m... [mailto:jrwinkler@m...]
                  > Sent: Thursday, September 26, 2002 12:33 PM
                  > To: medievalsawdust@y...
                  > Subject: Re: [medievalsawdust] Re: Digest Number 50
                  >
                  (edit) while back... for my purposes I divide projects into three
                  categories:
                  >
                  > 1: Reproduction (period pieces based on proof)
                  > 2: Period-informed (semi period pieces where you have some
                  knowledge... but parts of the data pool are a bit shallow and ya'
                  gotta' make some stuff up.... OR... something that looks like
                  something in a manuscript but has modern materials, construction
                  techniques, finishs, etc
                • Avery
                  ... mere speculation. More than I care to think about. But when you get right down to it, unless you have a 500 year old man on staff, all your conclusions
                  Message 8 of 13 , Sep 30, 2002
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                    >How many archeology books have I read where all of the conclusions were
                    mere speculation. More than I care to think about.

                    But when you get right down to it, unless you have a 500 year old man on
                    staff, all your conclusions must be speculation. The difference is, "this
                    item has concentric tool marks on it, it was either turned, or was made with
                    some sort of fly cutter" and, "from the shape of this stone we can deduce
                    that the ancient Atlanean fire alter was 657 feet tall...."

                    Avery
                  • James Winkler
                    ;-) .... and the marshmallows they toasted over the fire on it were roughly the size of small elephants (species unknown)... (-; ... AND... they were
                    Message 9 of 13 , Sep 30, 2002
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                      ;-)   .... and the marshmallows they toasted over the fire on it were roughly the size of small elephants (species unknown)...  (-;  ... AND... they were toasted by aliens from alpha-whatever!!!
                       
                      Avery makes a good point.   There are some things where physical evidence on the piece can lead to "educated guesses" that may be provable (or at least tested in such a way that the possibility cannot be eliminated) by experimental archeology...  the caution here is ensuring that what you see is really what you see and that your conclusion can be provable.  
                       
                      Like totin' stargazer chairs...  repeated experience validates Avery's observation that, although they are damned comfortable and elegantly simple to make and use...  totin' them over any distance can test one's determination...  unless you've been partying... in which case you might just elect to say... "Heck... totin' is harder than buildin....   I think I'll just leave this one here and go build another one..."  ;-)
                       
                      Chas.
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