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Max Woody’s Chairs

Posted on Monday, May 11th, 2009.

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.

7 Responses to “Max Woody’s Chairs”

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  • Max,

    I saw you on the morning show just a few minutes ago…I’m comin down to visit you and your shop next week in Marion…hope you’ll be there..if you have an address or phone number let me know…

    I’m interested in wood and recently retired as a shop teacher just outside of Buffalo NY.
    your fellow wood worker..Dan

    Comment from Dan Cudzilo on November 30, 2011 at 9:53 am - Reply to this Comment
  • How do I order a couple of Max’s rocking chairs? My father-in-law knows him and his father knew him and we have been to his shop. Have you seen the casket he made for one of his family members?
    How much do they sell for now?

    Comment from Sherry Jarrett on May 22, 2009 at 5:00 pm - Reply to this Comment
  • I had the the privilege to work for Mr. Woody and his sister Margaret for a time during the spring and summer of 2001 in his chair shop. It was an experience that my wife, my small children and myself will never forget, and cherish to this day. His life lessons imparted to us of the “old ways”, when family values were true to the heart made an impression on us all that will truly last many generations to come.

    I encourage all reading this comment to take the time to visit Mr. Woody, and thank him for his may contributions to the community.

    This man is a true christian craftsman from the heart and one of Gods true gifts to us all !!!!

    Comment from Jeff Bartlett on May 20, 2009 at 9:19 pm - Reply to this Comment
  • Not yet, but I got many raffle tickets and am hoping to win one!

    Comment from Chaela on May 12, 2009 at 2:29 pm - Reply to this Comment
  • Chaela – I’ve been to that chair shop many times and you captured its endless array of chair parts waiting to be put together – I loved your photos.
    For a man in his 80’s, Max teaches us to love what we do so we can do it forever!
    Thanks for your fine hospitality in the StoryCorp booth, Chaela, and the joy of knowing you.
    Come back to Western North Carolina which we believe is a very special corner of the world – as the old Irish drinking song goes “We’re not a man you meet everyday…”
    And many thanks for bringing Max to the internet – he indeed is not a man you meet everyday…

    Comment from Maggie Lauterer on May 12, 2009 at 2:20 pm - Reply to this Comment
  • I hope you got your name on that chair waiting list!

    Comment from Whitney on May 12, 2009 at 2:05 pm - Reply to this Comment
  • Great post Chaela! ;-)
    And beautiful photos!!!

    Comment from Sara on May 11, 2009 at 3:47 pm - Reply to this Comment

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