Saturday, August 30, 2014

Elm is Awesome - Stick Chair Build - Day 2

Elm is a pain in the neck.

Elm is easy to plane, and then all of a sudden it tears out just as you do one too many swipes.

Elm is gorgeous.  It is strong, resists splitting, and is a traditional wood for these kinds of chairs for these properties.

One of the interesting parts of my seat blank.
 Today was a productive day for Olav, Jonas and I.  Jonas and I decided we wanted to try to get our seats saddled today in order to free up those tools for other woodworkers joining tomorrow.  Unfortunately, life happens and none of the other woodworkers who were going to join us will be able to come, so it will just be the three of us.

Jonas did some amazing things that I have never even heard of to get his settee blank ready.  His bench is going to be absolutely stunning.  Check out this video of him saddling his bench seat with a circular saw.

Enough artsy talk, have a gander at some pics:

Jonas set this nice try plane up as a long scrub.  It was perfect for this job.  The elm behaved exceptional for this, that is except one of the more 'interesting' parts of elm had some nasty tear out that required some care in eliminating.

With all of the figured parts, I decided to use my toothing plane after scrubbing to get everything nice and flat.  I then used my 50 degree (62 degree total) blade to smooth with not much tear out, besides the one spot from scrubbing which was eliminated during saddling.

I bought this short-blade-honing-guide-adapter-thingie from Lee Valley.  I didn't realize it only worked with a Lee Valley honing guide.  It turns out that if you set it up this way, it works perfectly fine, even though you won't find this method in the directions.

That high-angle blade really does the trick on any kind of grain.

We ripped some ash bending stock during one of our few side adventures today.  Jonas really can work this mill efficiently.

My blank after smoothing.  I guess these photos aren't really in order.
After smoothing, I roughed the saddling with an adze.  As per Chairman Brown, I had it vertical in a metal vice that Jonas had.  After a couple whacks, I realized it needed a bit more support, so I put this bit of scrap behind the blank which made things a lot better.

Money shot.

Bent.  I guess his real name is Bernie, and begs for apples.

Saddling mostly complete.  I cleaned up my less-than-skillful adze work with Moby Dick, and finished the shape with a scorp, a travisher, a couple of spokeshaves, and a few scrapers.
Elm is awesome.


  1. The chair seat is beautiful. Love how the grain turned out!

  2. Yes: Elm is awesome. It's my favorite wood to work with because of how unique it looks. Your seat looks awesome. Expensive mistake I made; wish I was there.

    I may try to get some wood in the next 6 months and follow the posts to do my own.

    1. We wish you were here, too! But, nevermind, shit happens. We'll hook you up and next time you can bring the beer.