What to do? Same as I always do. Start another project!
Last summer Christopher Schwarz taught a couple classes at Dictum here in Germany. The first was making a bowsaw. That class I attended and was pleased with. The other class was building a Roorkee chair. I was not pleased with this class as I couldn't go. I had to work. I did, however, crash a couple of mornings and imposed myself on the group at the Biergarten at the end of a couple days. That chair looked so fun to build, I knew I just had to do it myself one of these days.
Lost Art Press released Chris' new book a week or two ago, 'Campaign Furniture.' I bought a copy and also downloaded the ebook. It seems to be a great book so far. I have to admit, that I haven't read it all. I skipped to the chapter about Roorkee chairs and got really excited. I decided I had to build one.
Looking at my available stock, I had plenty of pear that was thick enough for the legs of the project. This pear was earmarked for another project, but I decided that the other project isn't going anywhere and I want to build a Roorkee, so pear it is. After all, wood grows on trees. I can always get some more, right?
The first night of the build I broke down my roughstock and cut out leg blanks by hand. Not so fun in 2" thick lumber, but good practice. Once I got them cut out, for good measure I planed reference faces and reference edges. This whole process took about three hours.
|Several hours of work getting these bits cut out of a solid chunk of wood.|
|Good news: the shop is open!|
|If you have the opportunity to use a machine like this, do it!|
I did something a bit outside of my usual philosophy: I bought an Easy Rougher. If you were to read my earlier blog posts about what tools you should buy, you might be correct in thinking I would recommend a traditional tool, learning how to sharpen and use it as the skill is something that you'll use forever. However, I did decide to buy this tool, which has a carbide insert for a blade and works by scraping. It is very easy to use, and easy to learn. I justified buying this tool as I just wanted to get the parts turned for this project and get it over with. I am not really interested in learning to turn much, I just wanted to get the legs for this chair done.
|My first real turning project.|
|The results of half-a-day's work in a power tool shop.|
|"Finger Weg!" is the only German phrase you need to know to get by in Germay other than, "Stimmt."|
|Only three different measurements for boring stretcher mortices.|
|In action. Notice the leg and the story stick are butted (is that a word?) up against my planing stop.|
|I usually keep my eyes in front of the bit, which keeps the hole going in straight from that way. Every once in a while, I peek over to see this, the square and the bit lined up. At least, hopefully I do.|
Those people would be wrong.
|Jennings on the left, Irwin on the right.|
Jennings bit has threads in the lead screw are doubled up, where as the right they are a single screw. Normally I prefer a Jennings bit, but in pear the lead screw kept clogging up. After 1/2" to 3/4" of boring, the lead screw would get clogged and the bit would quit cutting. Once I changed to the Irwin bit, there was no more clogging. The Irwin bit would consistently drill the entire way with no clogging. If you are having trouble with your bit clogging, try using the other kind of bit. It made my boring go four times faster.
The next step is to ream out the 5/8" holes you just bored into tapered mortices. I again used my brace, and was very careful to ensure everything stayed nice and square.
|For some reason, this looks weird to me.|
When I get a few turns in, I insert a stretcher and measure. If I need to make some adjustments, I do, and then I check again when I am almost to the bottom. Once you are at the bottom, there isn't much room to make corrections.
|Checking the stretcher.|
|I think I need to adjust some tenons and mortices, but overall I'm happy.|
Now we get to the fun part. How to shape the rounded tops of the legs. Chris Schwarz recommends in his book to mark it out using a template and using a band saw. Due to a slight miscalculation, my legs turned out a bit skinnier than he recommends. To get the top to look round, I used my combination square to mark 45 degree lines from the corners and rounding from that center point with a compass.
|The layout for the curved top. Also, you can see the tools I will use to do it, besides a hand saw.|
I'll get a bit specific with this. This technique will be handy for the folks at William Ng's this week. If you find yourself 12th in line to use the band saw, try this and get on with it. The whole process took me less than ten minutes each to go to a finished surface.
|I first sawed off the corner at about 45 degrees.|
|A closer look.|
|I can't pass up an opportunity to point out my DICK saw!|
|Just pare away the sharp corners with a chisel. Take light cuts and go down to the line.|
|Notice the grip: No flesh is in front of the blade. If I slip, the tip just goes into my backer board, not a vital artery.|
|A little more progress...|
|I think this is smoother than I could do with a bandsaw. Now for the rasp:|
|Some light rolling cuts with the rasp down to the line and Voila!|
|I could have done this in about a half an hour if I didn't continually stop to take pictures.|
Now to drill a hole on the back legs to hold the back pieces. More precision boring, I go in a few turns on one side, flip it over and drill all the way through from the back. This prevents blowout, and also helps match up the hole in the middle. It does need to be perfect for a bolt to fit in.
|Same drill, different bit...|
|First from one side, then the other. Notice the nice long shavings one gets with a sharp bit.|
|Not too shabby. But the real test...|
|Does a bolt fit? Yes!|
Pretty much now all I have to do is finish. I decided to go with one of my stand-byes: polissoir the crap out of it, then finish with straight beeswax with more polissoiring.
|This is as far as I got tonight. I'll finish the waxing in the morning.|
If you're still reading this enormously long post, congratulations! You are one of my hard-core fans!
Next time - Leather!