The Art of Joggling

AccentsDonovansJoggleVer2 Image 2

Using traditional methods and environmentally safe materials, Summerville’s Chris and Kristi Outland build joggling boards to grace porches, entryways, backyards and even nurseries. These benches are constructed with two rockers and a long board that gently bounces, or “joggles,” when sat upon.

“It’s a conversation piece,” Chris says. Since the Joggle Factory opened in 2010, customers have come from across the United States and as far away as the French Alps, suggesting that demand has risen for this historic product.

The joggling board, invented in the early 1800s, became a fixture in Lowcountry homes by midcentury. It came to be called a “courting bench,” as a lady and her suitor would joggle from the ends of the board to meet in the middle.

It was, in fact, a romantic event that brought joggling boards to the foreground of the couple’s lives—their wedding.

“Kristi wanted one for the wedding, but no one could get it to us in time. So I made one,” Chris says. “That was the first I built.”

The rest is history, something the Outlands care about very much.

“We use traditional joinery…no nails or screws. It’s the way they would have done it 200 years ago,” he says.

The Outlands get most of their lumber from the Charleston area, avoid treating it with caustic materials and finish each piece with zero volatile organic compound (VOC) paint.

“Once the job is done, we don’t throw anything away,” Kristi says. “All our scrap is used for something. The sawdust, for example, is taken to local farms and used as bedding for animals.”

The Outlands’ thoroughness is evident in their completed products. They offer an array of colors and three sizes: traditional (14–16 feet), condensed (8–10 feet) and children’s (4 feet).

—Kristin Jeffords