|Greg's chairs are already finished!|
Me? Well, I've been plugging along. I finally finished up the legs today. I think these ones turned out better than any I have done to date. I did my best to be as precise as possible. It could make a difference. I think that chair legs do not have to be perfect, but have to look octagonal. These aren't perfect, but they are much more uniform than any octagonal legs I have made previously.
|Eight legs looking for some chairs.|
Here is how I made the legs octagonal:
First, I made an octagonizer according to Greg's instructions on his blog, except instead of a scratch pin I made a hole for a pencil. This gauge is nearly the same as the one Olav the Great gave me a couple years back. Overall I would say Greg's tool is easier to make than it looks, and perhaps easier to make than Olav's. However, Olav's works better with a pencil. You can see in the photo below how short the pencil had to be.
|My interpretation of Greg's octagon tool.|
I've also started using a jointer and a smoother since I have them in my tool chest. I could have done these all with the BU jack, but I wanted to try out the Course, Medium, Fine technique.
This was great! I was able to leave all my planes at one setting. Also, with the jointer and smoother both having cap irons, I was able to eliminate all tear out, even on the spots with crazy grain and over knots.
|Medium (Yes, the #8 is overkill)|
Here is how the shape of the octagon came out on the last leg that I did.
|Not perfect, but pretty good.|
My point was to make chairs out of home center materials, and the home center here doesn't really have an economical alternative to these. They started life as 2x2 eight footer construction lumber. I cut them up the best I could to mitigate weak spots with knots. Most of the visible knots are at a glancing angle to the chair leg, so I think those knots are not that structurally damaging. Only one has a knot that goes straight through. I tried to put that knot in a part of the leg that was thick, hoping the extra mass there will survive the Tony test.
In a way, these legs are an experiment to see if they will hold up over time. It's not best practice, but there are plenty of chairs in the world with legs made of MDF, so I predict they will sit. At least for a while.
Next up is to make the seats from 18mm laminated pine. You know, the stuff wrapped in plastic!
There's still plenty of time left in June for you to build your chair. Let me know what you are working on!