Sunday, August 31, 2014

Day 3 Stick Chair Build - Little Things

What I imagined we would be able to accomplish today was a little bit different than what we were actually able to do. I was thinking that it would be neat if I could get my legs shaped and driven home, along with a good start on the upper half of the chair. This would leave me tomorrow with a bunch of extra time for doing something unexpected like knocking out all the parts for a Roorkee chair.

Reality can be an annoying thing.

Shaping the legs isn't complicated, but care must be taken to get them to look the way you want. I think Jonas and I both underestimated how long it would take, even with every Danish cowboy trick we could think of.

Executing the final cuts on my seat blank.

I chose to use as much of the blank as there was there for this chair, resulting in a little bit of live edge remaining.

This Lee Valley spokeshave really worked well cleaning up the endgrain on this elm.  Alcohol really helped too - I mean rubbing alcohol on the endgrain, what did you think I meant?

Entertaining ourselves in the shop.  A little immaturity helps you stay young.

The Viking Hoarde.
Jonas' parents stopped by for the day.  Mr. Jensen has a hobby of collecting quality tools at auctions in Sweden.  He brought along a box of goodies for us to pick through, and I came out with my very own hoarde of essentials I didn't know I needed.
Jonas and his parents.

Yes, alcohol really does help with the endgrain.
Back to work.  I didn't even think about the fact that I wasn't done shaping the seat yet.  It wound up taking me until lunchtime to finish it.  This was another one of the little things that I didn't account for when thinking about today's plan.
Beveling the underside of the chair to reduce the profile and give the chair a more delicate look.  Here is a good view of the different colors in this chair blank.  The dark stuff on the near side is extremely hard and of a completely different feel than the rest of the wood, which is challenging enough.  I roughed this profile with a drawknife using slicing cuts, and crept up to my line with my jack plane.

Jonas showed me how to make tapers on the jointer using Glen Huey's technique.  Trust me, I was very mindful of where my body parts were while using this beautiful but scary old machine.

Olav seems to be able to do twice as much work in half the time as me.

Jonas chose to turn his legs round on his lathe.  I think they turned out nice!

I used my Moxon vice to hold my legs for octagonalizing.

There is more than one way to taper a cat.

After shaping the legs, I roughed out the tapered tenon on Jonas' lathe.  He has a gizmo on his that will copy any shape, including the six degree taper we are using for the tenon.

The bottom two are started with the template cutting thingie.  After that, I flipped them around in the lathe so I could get closer to a finished shape.  The top one was finished up with a six degree rounder.

Once you commit to boring the holes, you should follow through with confidence!  Notice I have John Brown's book and Drew Langsner's full size drawing close at hand.  I did not stage those in the photo on purpose, I was constantly referring to both.

After boring a hole, I use a reamer to make the tapered mortice.  The lines and layout gauges in this photo helped me to dial in to the exact perfect angles for the legs.

Driving the legs home.

It's starting to look like something to sit on.

Jonas and I both are making some progress.

It was interesting keeping my eye on what Jonas was doing today.  We both chose very different ways to do our legs.  One could learn a lot from him.

Even though we didn't get done with as much as we thought we would, we actually got a lot done.  I would rather take my time to do the job right than rush through the project not achieving the level of quality that I expect.


  1. This chair looks really coszy...
    Are the legs glued or just fixed with wedges?

    1. Hey Wolfram,

      I had a couple problems with the legs, but I think they turned out well. I'll write a bit more about it in my next post. But, the idea is to glue and wedge them in a tapered mortice.

      The chair is amazingly comfortable. I saddled it using the instructions in Drew Langsner's book, and it turned out really well. All of the visitors to the shop so far are amazed at how comfortable it is.

  2. This build is shaping up wonderfully.

    1. Thanks, Dyami! None of us completed our project in the four days we had, but things are close. We'll put in an extra couple hours tomorrow before I leave and I'll probabaly finish up this project at home. I don't think there really will be all that much left on my chair. Jonas' is almost done. Another couple hours and he'll have it.

  3. The seat looks good! How'd the steam bending go for the back?

    Also, I hear you on time warp... I always have to multiply my estimated build time by at least 3!

    1. I find it difficult to estimate how long it takes. Especially when I am fiddling with a part that should have been correct off of the saw in the first place.

      Jonas' steaming was a learning experience. We screwed up several attempts before we got his final piece done. We didn't do any more steaming after that. I chose to make a laminated arm rail, and Olav is making one from a solid piece of wood.