Ridiculous. Over the top. Practical yet goofy.
That is how Matt Thompson describes his creation: an Adirondack chair in the shape of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, an attached Upper Peninsula-shaped cooler and a chute that delivers drinks between the two.
Just goofy enough and practical enough to go viral.
Thompson posted a video of his woodworking projecton Facebook and it has generated nearly 9.9 million views and nearly 200,000 shares in four months. He estimated about 40 million more views came from other places.
“I had a feeling that it was going to go viral,” he said. “I thought it would go viral in Michigan. I didn't realize worldwide it would go crazy.”
Thompson, 48, of Garden City spent more than 100 hours on the creation dubbed the “Michigan beer/pop chair.” He said the inspiration came from a similar Labatt Blue chair, but he came up with his own mechanism for the creation.
Thompson, a woodworker for nearly three decades, used pine to tinker and perfect the chair, then built the final version out of cedar.
“It was a lot of fun to make it," he said. "And I thought people would be entertained by it.”
The comments on the Facebook post, many from across the globe written in other languages, show he was right.
“I need a chair like this,” John Lappin wrote.
“This one has Michigan written all over it!” Yvonne Wiegand posted.
Feedback, Thompson said, has been about 98% positive, but not everybody gets it, some pointing out it would be easier to just use a cooler.
He posted the video on Aug. 24 and it quickly circulated around the country. It's still getting watched around the world.
"It seems to explode in one area," Thompson said. "Then a few weeks later it will explode in a different country.”
Hundreds of people have expressed interest in buying a duplicate of the handcrafted piece, but he said it's not practical to sell them, pointing out he spent about $400-$500 for the cedar wood alone.
Thompson, who works fire protection maintenance at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor and runs Thompson Woodworks in his spare time, has just made one so far.
But he plans to make two more this winter to be used as fund-raisers, one for Life Remodeled, a Detroit-based nonprofit that invests in neighborhoods, and a second for World Vision to help raise money for clean water in communities in Africa.
Meanwhile, he's working on a new creation: a wine chair with pulleys and springs. He hasn't publicly revealed many of the details yet but offers some clues. There are moving parts, he hopes to have it done by spring and the theme is designing something complex to do something simple.
“The most important thing is something you wouldn't expect,” he said. “And I can't give that away because if you see it coming it won't be that exciting.”
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