Our Story

The Great Outdoors

The story of Blue Ridge Chair Works begins with the story of the great outdoors. Alan Davis, founder and Chair-man of the company began his career as a white water rafting guide on The Cheat River in northern West Virginia and the Youghiogheny River in south West Pennsylvania. By the late 70's Alan was a guide on the mighty Gauley River in central West Virginia every fall.  In the winters he worked as a Professional Ski Patrolman at various mountains in Upstate New York and Vermont. In his spare time, Alan began a lifelong love affair with the art of trout fishing and spent his free time chasing the next big catch.

Do It Yourself Attitude

It was the 1970's and screen printing had recently become popularized by Andy Warhol and was permeating pop culture. Screen printing machines had become widely available after being patented in 1969 and Alan and his fellow raft guides saw an opportunity to make some extra money for the company they worked for. The guys bought a screen printing machine and started pressing the rafting company's logo to sell to tourists and locals who visited the river. The t-shirts were such a hit that Alan and his partners soon hung up their PFDs and starting printing full time.

Birth of Blue Ridge Chair Works

The screen printing company excelled for years before the 1980’s banking crisis led to financial turmoil across the country and forced its closure. After the company shut up shop, Alan took several years to relax and enjoy his outdoor passions. He built a home - "Shangri-La" - in Western North Carolina that sits nestled in the woods, and hand crafted with beautiful wood cuts from around the world. It was in this new home Alan began to tinker with another one of his favorite hobbies, crafting canoe paddles for himself and his fellow adventurers. Years previously, Alan had apprenticed with a fellow crafter who taught him about the specific and intricacies of wood working, and trained him to high standards. Eventually, his craft grew and soon Alan was creating everything from cutting boards to chairs. Eventually, Blue Ridge Chair Works was born.

 

Today, Blue Ridge Chair Works sells products around the globe and has been featured on sites such as Men's Journal, Urban Outfitters, Canoe and Kayak Magazine, and dozens of prominent outdoor specialty magazines.

Made In America

Alan began by building his chairs by hand. Soon he was selling his items online to customers around the globe who were clamoring for a better solution to inexpensive metal folding chairs that fell apart constantly. All products manufactured at Blue Ridge Chair Works are created with two goals in mind, sustainability and comfort. The company strives to create the most comfortable and portable outdoor furniture.  Our mission is to craft American-made outdoor furniture and speciality products that are innovative and built to last. This pride comes from the heritage passed on from generations of fine furniture makers in the region. The chair frames and tables utilize the finest hand selected kiln dried Ash hardwood for both durability and looks. The slings and chair backs are sewn from heavyweight polyester fabric, which is both color fast and fade resistant. All the furniture pieces are assembled using corrosion resistant stainless steel hardware. Every piece of wood is beautifully finished with penetrating Danish oil.

Eventually, to meet the demand of his customers, it became clear that Alan would have to outsource the manufacturing of his chairs. Alan was determined to continue producing his furniture to his high standards and made a commitment to continue producing the items in Western North Carolina and each peice of Blue Ridge Chair Works furniture continues to be manufactured the region, embracing the heritage of southern Appalachian craftsmanship. The result of this special collaboration of craftspeople can be witnessed when inspecting the thoughtful details and quality of every piece of furniture.  Our logo is burned into every finished chair and table as a symbol of our commitment to comfort and quality.

Zero Waste

Inspired by his friends who enjoy kicking back in their Blue Ridge Chair Works chairs with a cold bottled beverage, Alan experienced a Eureka Moment - Let's create the perfect bottle opener using the great quality leftover wood we have from building our chairs! Each Blue Ridge Cap Lifter is produced 100% from the upcycled Ash hardwood, enforcing the company's commitment to sustainability. The best part? Our design lifts the bottle cap off perfectly without bending or warping it, so it is the perfect item for cap collectors. Alan continues to innovate, creating products that are both decorative and functional. Visit the Workshop Projects Gallery to check out what's new.