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Childs-Seat-art - 10/26/07


"A Child’s Seat" by Mistress Slaine ni Chiarain.


NOTE: See also the files: baby-slings-msg, 2-Hobbyhorses-art, children-msg, child-wagons-msg, p-cradles-msg, babies-msg, child-clothes-msg, teething-toys-msg.





This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.


These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author or translator.


While the author will likely give permission for this work to be reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.


Thank you,

Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous

stefan at florilegium.org



Previously published in "The Barge", the newsletter for the Barony of Three Rivers in Calontir.


A Child’s Seat

by Mistress Slaine ni Chiarain


In the weeks leading up to the Lilies War this year I planned on making a small bench chest for my 18 month old daughter to use as a seat. I also realized that she did not like riding in the wagon if it meant bouncing and sliding around so I thought about making a back support or booster seat.


I came across a solution to both problems while researching bench chests at the Viking Answer Lady’s woodworking page. On her site is a picture of the surviving pieces of an 11th century child’s seat from Lund, Sweden. Googling failed me. I could find nothing else about this little seat on the web. Then I searched through the archives of a couple of Yahoo groups devoted to historic woodworking and finally found an offhand reference to a child’s seat. I had met this poster before but didn’t necessarily know him. I took a shot and emailed him. He ended up scanning the one page in the book From Viking to Crusader: The Scandinavians and Europe 800-1200 with another photo of the child’s chair. (Thank you Halv!) The brief description gave me some idea of material (beech) and size (the longer piece is about 19 inches long.).


The two surviving pieces of the original chair give a good idea of its construction. Tenons (the tabs) on the back rest and seat fit into mortises (holes) on the side panel and are secured by pins. A circular hole near the forward top edge suggests a round cross piece. The notes mention that this type of chair was used to restrain a child to keep them out of the cooking fire but there is no indication of where straps might have attached.


The pattern I used is attached. The main change I made from the original was to raise the back rest (good) and to slant it (not so good). I think leaving it straight up and down would be better. The other small change I made was to add a slot for a strap to secure the chair to our wagon. The width of wagon’s bed also dictated the width of seat but it was still in proportion to the original. The dowel is a few inches longer than the seat is wide and just slides into place.


The original seat was made of beech but I choose to use pine because of its price and availability. At Lowes I bought an 8 foot by 10 inch by 1 inch board and a 1 inch hardwood dowel. I already had some scrape pieces of half inch dowel for the pins. Tools used include a drill (Make sure you have a bit the same size as your dowels.), a saber saw and a palm sander. I also used a chisel and a file to clean out the mortises. I’m not much of a woodworker but this chair was pretty easy to make.


Once all of the pieces are cut out, sand it down well so that your kiddo doesn’t get splinters and then make sure they all fit together. Then drill the holes for the pins. It works well to start with a larger pin than the hole and whittle it down so that it will fit. I don’t know what surface treatment was used on the original seat but linseed is period and works well.


It was very satisfying to find a period answer to a modern reenactment problem. As soon as I first put it together and set it on the floor in front of my daughter she sat in it. We used this seat every day at Lilies War both in and out of the wagon. If I were to make another one of these I’d make the side pieces longer and not slant the backrest. This would keep it from tipping backward when used as a step stool by a toddler. I would also like to find more references to child seats like this.

Roesdahl, Else, and David M. Wilson. From Viking to Crusader: The Scandinavians and Europe 800-1200. New York: Rizzoli. 1992. Figure 562.


Ward, Christie. (Gunnvôr silfrahárr).  The Viking Answer Lady: Woodworking in the Viking Age. http://www.vikinganswerlady.com/wood.shtml  accessed 6/5/07




Copyright 2007 by Mary M. Haselbauer. <mary_m_haselbauer at yahoo.com>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited.  Addresses change, but a reasonable attempt should be made to ensure that the author receives a copy.


If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org