Wednesday, July 1, 2015

June 31st

It must still be June because I am still plugging away at my June Chair build.

Lots of pics today, so I'll try to keep the text to a minimum amount of superfluous recitation.  Oops!  Too late.

I woke up this morning unhappy with the size of my tapered tenons.  They seemed pretty delicate in comparison to the beefy legs.  I figured with the radical rake and splay angles of the legs, this tenon might not be enough.

The problem is, I used the biggest rounder I have to make those tenons.  It ends the taper at 5/8".  I remembered that when I got to chat with Tim Manney at Handworks, he had this ghetto, shop-made gizmo he said was superior as a rounder.  He told me he gets grief for not selling matching rounders to his tapered reamers, and his reason he doesn't is because they are simple to make and you should make one to exactly match the reamer you have.

Fair enough.

He blogged about it a while back, but it is easy enough I didn't need to reference his instructions to build.
First, get a stick of wood about as wide as a plane blade you have.

I drilled a 3/4" hole, and reamed it with my reamer.

I marked a line on each side that just touched the outside of the circle.  This will be a different distance on each side.

Saw to the line.  At least, don't go over too much.  If you do, don't go over near the hole.

After a couple swipes with a plane, I am getting close.
Once it opens up, clean it up with a chisel.

Clamp a plane blade (bevel-up) with a C-clamp.  I got extra fancy with a piece of leather, because this is a brand new blade.

Round 'till your heart's content.
Usually you want to stop when the end of your leg gets to the very top of the rounder.  I kept going, because I already used a smaller rounder before.  This tenon is getting pretty long.
Success!  The tenons seat farther now.
I figured I would lose some length to my chair legs doing this, but it couldn't be helped.  I think most people who sit in the chair would rather it is a little lower rather than the legs break when they plop into it.

There's an hour re-doing something I should have thought about in the first place.

Oh well, now on to complete my adzing.

It took a lot longer than the five minutes Peter Galbert said it would, but I figure that's expected when using elm rather than pine. I wound up having to use twice as many depth cuts as Peter says in his book.  
This actually looks WAY better than the last time I tried this with a vintage hammer adze.

Next up - the scorp.  What a cool name for a tool.  "Scorp."
The scorp is the medium tool here.  I tried to smooth out all of the adze marks enough so I could go to the fine tool, the travisher.
I find the travisher a very simple tool to use.  Don't think about it, just let the tool tell you what it wants to do.
Now that the chair is scooped out, I need to move on to shaping the front and sides.  Before I do that, it is time to work on the shape.

I had intended on going for a shape with a French curve in it, similar to any other Windsor side chair.  However, something wasn't quite right.  It dawned on me that I had never seen that shape in a Welsh stick chair before.  I decided to change it to a really mild and gradual taper to the back of the chair to give it a bit of a lighter feel without going crazy.

It just took a minute on the bandsaw at Dictum.
When I got home, I was able to use my spokeshave to smooth out the sides and front.
A little layout was required before the next step, so I smoothed the bandsawn edges and laid it out.

I have a couple of nice Swedish drawknives.  The only problem is, I haven't rehabbed them yet, and they have no handles.  Just in time, I was given this drawknife.  It is a new Pfeil, and is a real dainty thing.  Just perfect for those tiny details.

For hogging off an inch thickness of elm, not so much.

It is, however, amazing how much you can get away with when it is all you have and it is sharp.
Action shot!

Here's where I had to leave off for today.
There I am.  Most of the shaping of the seat is done.  Just some refinement and I'll have it.  Then I can saw off the back, bevel the underside and bang the legs home.  The only real work left after that is refining the shape of the crest and gluing it on.

June 32nd is only a day away!


  1. Looks very good. Did you try Claire Minihan's travisher at handworks to compare against Elia's? Her's are certainly beautiful pieces especially that ringed Gidgee one... but wondering if like the reamer discussion there is significant functional difference.

    1. I did try Claire's travisher. It was very substantial and worked great. I considered hers when I bought mine, but I went with Elia's because for the price of Claire's I got a travisher, a reamer and a couple rounders. That all goes against my philosophy of spending more on the best tool, but I really didn't know the difference at the time.

    2. You don't always have to have the best tool to have a good tool. I noticed you picked up an old Stanley instead of one of Konrad's planes at handworks. Also I'm intrigued by the much maligned transitional style plane in the Studley chest. Buying tools from Elia isn't exactly like buying from a giant disinterested tool shaped object corporation, so I wouldn't get too hung up on it if the tool works, which it appears it does well

    3. Don't get me wrong, I love my travisher. I think my point was it can be difficult picking tools on the Internet.

  2. Where can I get a copy of the calendar you're using?

    1. June now has as many days in it as I need to finish the June chair build.

  3. Looks like its coming along nicely. I like the figure in the seat.

  4. Even if this is the longest June in the history of mankind, I am enjoying your progress! That seat and its markings already look fantastic. Best Regards John

    1. Thanks John. I'm having a lot of fun with this build. Only problem is getting time in the shop.

  5. How is your chair coming along on this fine June 33rd? :-)
    Even if you don't finished it until the 50th of June, it will still be a fine looking chair.

    I know very well what you meant by not getting enough time in the shop :-)

    1. Hey Bob, The Frau and I took a few days to go hiking in Austria. I hope to get back to it on Sunday, the 35th!