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Big Chair reclaims its seat in Bennington - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Big Chair reclaims its seat in Bennington

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BENNINGTON, Vt. -

Remember the big chair that stood on the corner of Haywood Hill road in Bennington for about 40 years?

"Everyone in town would use it as a landmark for directions," said Christopher LaFlamme of LaFlamme's Furniture. "Take a left at the Big Chair or a right at the Big Chair."

Well-- it's back.

"A historical landmark: to bring it back to Bennington is a wonderful thing to do and I am excited to do it," builder Scott Hutton said.

Hutton was hired by LaFlamme to construct a new version of the Big Chair, which was taken down 12 years ago after it rotted. LaFlamme recently opened his latest furniture store right behind where the chair once stood. Each time he opens a store, he says, he tries to find a unique way to give back to the community.

"I can't think of a better way," LaFlamme said. "You would think I'm doing something much more remarkable. It's humbling to see the response. Everyone's just so happy, I'm amazed."

The new chair is over 19-feet tall-- just like the old one-- and is constructed just like a real ladder back chair, only bigger.

"This is traditional joinery with the chair. There's a round tenon that goes in halfway and the log and held in place by a wooden dowel," said Joe Curran, a timber logger.

The construction took nearly 3,000 pounds of lumber and the chair seat required almost 1,000 feet of rope, weaved exactly as it would be for a real chair at your kitchen table.

"I've never woven a seat that I could stand on before. So this is the first time I've ever been able to stand on my work," said Paula LaPort, the seat weaver.

LaPort is from Bennington. She designed the weave to allow rain to fall through, which she hopes will prevent it from rotting like the last chair did.

"It's a marine-grade rope, so it's very resistant," she said.

To put it in perspective, you'd have to be about 30 or 40 feet tall to actually fit in the chair when you sit down.

Friday, the chair will be delivered to the same spot it once stood. And LaFlamme hopes it will become a longtime landmark, once again.

The chair will be revealed at an official party on Saturday. Click here for more information.

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