Monday, June 22, 2015

June Chair Build - Day 1

OK, this is kind of embarrassing.  I thought it would be a great idea to organize a group build for June, and here I am getting started on June 22nd.  On the other hand, this kind of has no rules, so if I say the 22nd is a good day to start this build, then there you have it! 

C'est la vie, life gets in the way, blah, blah, blah.

It still is fun, though.

I scrapped the idea of building a pair of chairs, because I think doubling the work here is just begging for not one, but two unfinished projects.  Instead, I am going for a single Welsh stick chair, but as a side chair this time.  There doesn't seem to be too many of those on the internet out there, so here's mine.

The first thing I did was choose which piece of elm to use.  I wound up using the smallest one, because I liked the grain on this one.  I figure a side chair can be a little narrower than the arm chair was, so this one will have the grain going fore and aft just like my last chair.
Look!  A piece of wood.
I used a template from Drew Langsner's book, but only for the size and rough layout.  I tweaked it from there, and decided to use my own design for the shape of the chair, as well as the rake and splay of the legs.
The rake angle of the back legs on my other chair look a bit weak to my eye.
I started today by trying to make one surface of this board flat.  It has dried a bit over the last months, and cupped a bit.  I decided to use the part of the board that is on the inside of the tree as the show surface on this chair, and that surface had a huge hump down the middle.

I decided to start this with my scrub plane, taking heavy shavings across the grain in the center of the board to start.

Scrubbing across the grain.
After getting some of that hump down, I moved to my BU Jack plane.  I used this across the grain, with the grain, and diagonal to the grain.  This started to get things flat-ish.
My beloved Veritas BU jack.
I also used my home-made jointer plane.  This tool is a bit fussy, but I think it helped.  Plus, I feel like a badass when I use it.
My badass Krenov style jointer.

As an aside, I followed Drew Langsner's instructions on the last chair, including the angles for rake and splay, and found the angles a tad on the conservative side.  The back legs especially didn't have enough rake for my taste, so I decided to go radical on this chair.  This chair's rake and splay will look extremely rustic.  I can't wait to see if it looks good or not.

I spent a little time here laying out my idea for a chair seat.
Starting the layout.
Next, I put my geometry to work.  Actually, I used Peter Galbert's geometry.  His sight-angle-figurer-outer is a neat trick. 
Layout done, ready to drill some holes!
I think this method makes things easy.  I tried to get the angles as perfect as I could, but I know if they are off a bit I will be able to dial those angles in perfectly when I ream the tapered mortice.
Look ma!  I'm drilling a hole!
The rest of the day I spent at the shop at Dictum.  In the hour that I had there, I cut the shape to the front of my chair seat on the band saw, ran a big board of smoked oak through the jointer and planer, fretted a bit about the cracks in the oak, cut some legs and some sticks from that oak for the rest of the parts of the chair.  Sorry, no photos of that process.  Many electrons were abused.

A word about this smoked oak:  it is cool.  I paid a bit extra at the lumber yard for this, but figured it was worth it as opposed to fuming the oak myself.  It was a little less than 8/4 rough, and is dark the whole way through.  The guy at the yard said they do it with some kind of vacuum process.  I'm impressed.  It reminds me of working with wenge.  This should make for a fairly un-traditional look.

Unless I get a unexpected session in the shop tonight, that will do it for today.
Here is today's progress.
The plan for tomorrow is to drill some more holes for the back sticks (I plan on using seven), saddle the seat, taper the legs and octagonalize them, round the sticks into dowels of some sort, shape the crest, drill holes in it, bang it all together and slap a coat of finish on.

Easy, right?

I almost forgot!  If you have been building a chair this month, or intend to, send me some pics or a link to your website.  Life happens, and several of the folks who let me know they wanted to build this month haven't been able to for one reason or another.  That's OK, though, because Ray Schwanenberger is well on his way to making us all look bad with his build.  He started this project with a big cast on his foot, and looks to know what he is doing.
Ray has been steam bending.
Check out his build on his blog, Rivings And Shavings.  Let him know what you think of his chair build.

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