How Do I Choose the Best Carver Chair?

Dan Cavallari

A traditional Carver chair will be built in a distinct fashion with turned supports that make up the back. The chair is likely to be made from wood, and the seat will often be woven. Such chairs make good dining chairs, though they can be somewhat uncomfortable for lounging. If you are considering purchasing a Carver chair, it is likely you will find several designs, some of which share very little similarities with the original Carver designs. The best chair for you will depend on several factors, including whether you prefer a traditional design or a more contemporary one.

Woman with a flower
Woman with a flower

First off, it is a good idea to do some research to figure out what the Carver chair looks like and what its defining features are. Then, you will need to decide whether you want a true antique Carver chair or if you are happy to purchase a reproduction. Each choice has advantages and disadvantages; antique chairs add an unbeatable aesthetic and an eye-catching conversation piece to any room, but antiques can be expensive, difficult to find, and sometimes fragile. Reproductions do not have the same storied pasts, but they can also be exceptionally beautiful and much more durable, depending on how they are built.

Look for a Carver chair that is made from strong, attractive, and durable wood. American white ash was commonly used in the past to construct these chairs, though other woods have commonly been used as well, including knotty pine, oak, ash, mahogany, and cherry. Hardwoods tend to be the best materials to choose, especially if you buy an antique, because hardwoods are exceptionally durable, beautiful, and resistant to water damage. Softwoods such as pine are also quite beautiful in some cases, though they can be susceptible to water damage, chipping, cracking, splintering, rotting, and even growing mold if left unattended in a damp area.

Contemporary chairs that are upholstered and cushioned are sometimes labeled as a Carver chair even though the unit may bear little or no real resemblance to the original Carver designs. If you are trying to find a model that matches the more traditional design, avoid upholstered chairs and look for units that are made from wood that was turned on a lathe. If comfort, however, is your top priority, you may want to avoid more traditional Carver chair designs in favor of contemporary models that are made for comfort and leisure.

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