Friday, February 5, 2016

I just parted with my electric chair.

Someone made me an offer for it that I couldn't refuse.

The history of it is pretty interesting when you think about it. There is a hardwood sawmill along my usual march routes and somehow I made friends of the guys that work there when I saw piles of what proved to be scrap.

They let me dig through the scrap pile every so often. They told me they were going to urn it in the boiler anyway so I might as well help myself if I promised to keep it down and not get greedy.

A while back I made a couple of end tables and a really nice desktop out of mahogany I got there and snagged some wood for a guy I know that is a woodworker. I got it for him but refused to tell him where it came from as I didn't want to create a mob scene at the sawmill and have the freebie shut down.

Anyway, I snagged some nice 1x6 pieces of oak. They were eight footers but you could only get about four feet out of them as the ends were bad. I grabbed a bunch of these and stashed them and then sort of forgot about them.

Several months later they had some oak 4x4s. The guys said they were for a customer, a furniture maker that wanted them to turn on a lathe to make beefy table legs out of. However, they were not perfect. Again, the ends were screwed up.

Still, if someone wanted shorter lengths there they were, free for the cutting. On the way home I wondered what to make out of 4x4s.

I was about halfway home thinking of what to do with the oak and my mind wandered to the old movie I had seen a week earlier. 

What do you do with a bunch of oak 4x4s and oak 1x6s?

You make an ELECTRIC CHAIR out of them!

So I Googled for pictures and the Tenessee hot seat looked makeable so I made one just like it.

The chair itself took a couple of days. I had most of the hardware but the devil is in the details. The chair was solid enough and I slapped a couple coats of varnish on it.

Thrift shops supplied me with a stainless  mixing bowl to use as a skullcap and some woman's wide belts became the tie-down belts. A piece of copper flashing became an ankle contact and I found an old small fuse box to bolt to the bottom right leg. A quick coat of grey paint made the fuse box look 'official' and while the woman's belts couldn't really hold anyone down, they looked pretty realistic.

An electrician friend gave me some scrap cable.

When I was done it would have been something James Cagney would have been proud to be fried on it. The ghost of Ethel Rosenberg would have been proud on the way it came out. Richard Hauptmann and Ted Bundy would hae marveled at it.

To cap it off I had a brass plate enscribed with 'Property of the State of New York. Sing Sing Correctional Facility, Ossining, NY". I screwed the plate to the back of the chair with brass screws.

It was a truly professional job.

So what does one do with an electric chair?

You put it in the living room facing the TV. That's what you do.

So that's what I did.

It was an instant hit with my guests. EVERYONE that walked in immediately sat down in it.

One of my friends came by with his wife. She sat down in it and laughed a bit... or at least until I slapped a wet sponge on top of her head and pushed the skullcap down but I won't get into that.

It was actually a pretty comfortable place to watch TV.

Anyway the other day someone made me an offer I couldn''t refuse and it is now gone.

I'll miss it.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

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