Max Woody has been making rocking chairs for nearly 60 years. Max came to the MobileBooth in Asheville with two of his close friends, Maggie and Zach, to talk about the custom chair making tradition that can be traced back six generations in his family. He still works what he calls “a half day,” that is, 12 hours. Each rocking chair is made to fit, no matter “how tall or how short, how scrawny or how healthy,” the customer. Although the average wait on a chair is 3-5 years from the day you order it, if you are an invalid or pregnant you can get one much quicker, says Max.
As a kid Max remembers playing with his father’s toolbox. Although his dad tried locking it shut to keep him out, he still found a way to undo the hinges and get to the tools. When Max was 15 his father passed away. The day he died, Max remembers sitting with the toolbox. It was the place where Max felt closest to his father. After high school, Max saved $850 to buy his own tools and started his chair making business, which he has been doing ever since.
After all these years Max still looks forward to going to work and still loves his customers, in fact, he says, “you don’t have buy anything to visit us, the latch string is on the outside, that’s a mountain term for making people welcome in your abode.” I was welcomed one afternoon at Max’s shop in Marion, North Carolina. I tried out the rocking chairs and heard many more of Max’s stories and words of wisdom.