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A whale for the sitting

It took a week and a half for Bear River chairmaker John Fowler to create a custom made Windsor chair for a movie production company shooting a television remake of Moby Dick.

Bear River chair maker John Fowler examines the hand-carved whale armrests on a Windsor chair he made for a film of the classic, ‘Moby Dick’. Tim Wilson photo

“It’s built in the traditional way it would have been built 200 years ago,” said Fowler. “I carved whales into the handpieces of the chair.”

Fowler drew on his past two years of experience to make the chair using a combination of wet and dry wood.

He said he doesn’t buy lumber, he takes it straight from the tree, and the chair’s seat is made from elm from the Annapolis area. He painted the chair with a milk paint finish, a mixture of milk powder and lime.

Tele Munchen Group, the German based production company received the chair Sept. 15, and will start filming the remake later this month on South Shore with some scenes being shot in Halifax. The movie budget is U.S. $25.5 million, said Fowler.

The film will star Ethan Hawke as First Officer Starbuck and William Hurt as Captain Ahab. The custom made Windsor chair will appear in Captain Ahab’s office in the movie. “It’s quite exciting, I don’t know how many seconds you’ll see it for in the movie,” he said about his chair.

The production company also rented authentic 19th century woodworking tools from area resident Bill Menzies for the film.

For a chance to see some of Fowlers other hand made chairs visit him at the Annapolis Market on Saturdays.

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