Tuesday, June 23, 2015

June Chair Build - Day 2

I hope everyone got the sarcasm in the end of my last post.  There was no way I was going to finish this chair today.  The good news is, I feel like I am cruising through this build faster than last time.

I found a piece of wenge (Millettia laurentii) in my scrap pile, and it looks an awful lot like my smoked oak.
Can you tell which is flat sawn wenge and which is flat sawn smoked oak?
When I was building chairs at Jonas', he showed me a cool technique for using a power jointer to taper legs.  You can watch a video of Glen Huey demostrating the technique here.

Anyway, while I was at the Dictum woodshop, I was not permitted to do this technique.  I can totally understand that, as if I was hurt while doing it, their insurance adjuster probably would say, "you let him do what with the jointer?"

I decided to do it the old fashioned way, which really isn't that hard.  I used my BU jack (of course) and finished the cut with my hot-rod jointer.
Any excuse for me to post a picture of this plane.
It was a good workout, and between that and the octagonalization of the legs took most of the day.  Overall it was pleasant enough work.  Plus, I now am certain that the grain of the wood is plenty straight enough for chair legs.  There is virtually no run out on this wood.  Nearly as good as riven stock!

For some reason I couldn't find the octagon-layer-outer that Olav gave me, but it was simple enough to make a new one.  Follow this link for the original post on this simple layout jig.
My version of the octagon-layer-outer.
The octagon-layer-outer in use.  Granted, the pencil mark is hard to see on this wood.
 I used my moxon vice as a joiner's saddle to plane the octagons.
Moxon vise alternate use #1.
Here I took a break and ran back over to Dictum.  I decided to use the seat blank that I had ripped in half as stock for the crest.  I feel like I could be wasting a good seat blank, but what the heck.  This stuff grows on trees.

I made a decision to saw the shape out of the 2"+ thick wood I had.  After Andi and I spent half an hour using all of the geometry, trigonometry and calculus we knew, we figured I could joint one edge on an angle, make a cut for the inside of the crest, re-joint the bottom square and make the cut on the outside of the crest.  Perhaps it is easier to see in a photo or two.
Action shot!
If it looks like the wood is not sitting on the bandsaw's table square, it is because it is not.  It is at a slight angle.  Hopefully, when it is done the crest will have a gentle curve, and the top will be about 1/2" thick where the bottom will be a full inch.
Completing the cut.
 After re-jointing the bottom, I'm ready for the next cut.  By the way, this bandsaw is really nice.
Ready for the outside cut.
Luckily, all the thinking Andi and I did paid off.  It worked perfectly!
The rough crest.  I kept the offcut to aid in clamping it to the bench if I need to.
Peter Galbert's book said you should drill holes for the back before saddling the seat, so that's my plan.  Before I do that, I needed the crest so I can see where to drill the holes.

Enough of that, back to the legs.  Plane, plane, plane, plane, taper, taper, taper taper. 


I did find another cool use for the Moxon vice.  I don't have a shavehorse yet, but I was given a cute little drawknife that was perfect for pre-shaping the rounded tenons on the legs.  Since I don't have a lathe, that is.
Moxon vise alternat use #2.
The Moxon vise was perfect for this.  I just set the jaws up on the vise so the far side was wider than the near one, and pulled the tapered chair leg until it stopped.  This vise is awesome, as one good tug and the leg was firmly seated.  To turn the piece, I just gave the leg a little push to loosen it, and pull it again in the new position.  A lot like a real shavehorse!

I have to say I love this Moxon vice.  I have had it for about a year and I have yet to use it to cut dovetails.  It is amazing to me how many uses I find for this vise.  It is great.

Once I got the tapers roughed in with my drawknife, I used my rounder made by Elia Bizzari to taper the tenon.  This tool works best to just finish off the joint.  It doesn't do well to hog off lots of material.
Tapered tenon rounder.
With only a little cleanup with the drawknife, the tenon is done!
Completed tapered tenon.
 This is the state of my shop at the end of today.  I have even emptied my trash bucket twice by this point!
Totally trashed!
That is about it for today.  I was hoping to ream the holes on the seat and try the legs out, but there just wasn't quite enough time.  Unfortunately, I have another long stretch at work starting tomorrow, so there is only one more day in order for me to finish this chair in June. 

Do you think I can do it?


  1. Brian I like the way you used the Moxon vise. I only think of using it when I need to cut the occasional dovetails. Is that a Laguna band saw? Looking forward to more posts.

    1. Hi Ray! That Moxon vice finds all kinds of use in my small shop. It works great for octagonalizing, as long as it doesn't have to be perfect.

      The bandsaw is not a Laguna, it is German, but I don't remember the name. I'll take a look next time I am there. But, plenty of HP, and a nice blade makes all the difference.

  2. Hey Brian,
    I took you up on your chair challenge and finally got mine glued up. I would've done it eventually, but you helped kick me in the ass and get it done sooner. :-) Thanks for the inspiration. It's posted on my blog if you're curious.

    1. Hey Steve, congratulations. The chair is gorgeous. How will you finish it?