Sunday, December 27, 2015

Constructing the Satan Santa Pope Chair - Part VII - AAR and a Poll

This chair was a lot of fun, and in many ways surpasses any of my previous Roorkies. One big success was the cigar shaped octagonal stretchers. Those really weren't so hard. I'll definitely be using those again.

One of the unnecessary challenges was using a drawknife on this dry lumber. One leg was nearly ruined because I took too heavy of a cut, and the resulting split dove deep into the surface. I felt I was really at the mercy of the grain here. I want to try this again, but next time instead of carving the legs with a knife, I will use a technique like the one Roy Underhill uses when making his bench hooks. I will make several relief cuts with a saw and chop out the bulk with a chisel. Then I can smooth it out with a spokeshave.

I also might go with the more angular look if I use this charred finish again.

I did really like using the knurled knobs for the back of the arm straps. I probably will do that again. I just ordered the same ones that Christopher Schwarz wrote about. It only took a few minutes to polish them on sharpening stones, and I think it might be fun to punch some initials in these. Also, I think it might make sense to install two threaded inserts closer together, permitting the use of fewer holes (or farther apart).
I like this.
I think the charred finish was an unmitigated success. I look forward to trying this with other woods. Although I used a paste wax for this, it might be fun to experiment with some other finishes, too. I am pretty sure BLO or shellack would both work equally well, depending on what the goal was. More on this later.
I like how the texture of the endgrain looks.
I really enjoy playing around with different aspects of this chair. In total, I have done four, and I feel I did something unconventional and new on all of them.

The first one I did was this black one. I have this set up at home and use it to watch TV often. It seems to be holding up well.

I used pear wood for this one, which I have never heard of anyone else doing. Having not built one before, I followed Christopher Schwarz' instructions closely. With the exception of planing down the legs a bit farther than he suggests. This chairs legs a a slender 1 5/8" square, as opposed to CS' recommended 1 7/8". The result is a bit of a more slender look. It seems to be holding up so far.
Pear and black leather.
The second chair was one I built with my dad when I travelled home to visit a while back. He builds walking canes and the like with diamond willow, which he collects from the wild himself. I had an idea that this would make a really cool rustic look. I was surprised how refined the leather made it look. Dad is really proud of this chair.
Diamond willow chair.
The next chair I made was a gift for my sister Janet. I bought a hair-on cowhide for this build, and repurposed some wenge I had laying around from an abandoned project. Honestly, I expected this chair to turn out with a kind of Western cowboy look. I didn't expect it to look so swank.

Janet was thrilled.
Coffee and Cream.
Of course if you are still here you should know about the story with this one. It was a gift for my sister Linda. She loves it and says this is her favorite color of red. She claims she has some decorations in her house this exact color, so it should fit in.

If it does, it was purely by accident.

My opinion is this is a very striking chair that will dominate a room. Once again, I think it looks swank.
Red and black SSP chair.
Now that you see them, I would really like some feedback on these chairs. I am happy with them all and am confident and secure in my thoughts of how they look. Even so, I think it would be fun to see what you all think of  what I have done so far. Go ahead and answer the poll of which one is your favorite and which one comes fourth on your list of my chairs. I also would love to read any comments regarding your choices, too.

Which chair is your favorite? free polls

Which chair is your least favorite? free polls
Until my next chair...

Finished Chair
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V
Part VI


  1. Hi Brian,

    if you add some blue and yellow, it would look even more like a Rietveld version.

    Well made!

    Cheers Pedder

    1. Hi Pedder, I never thought of that, but you are right! Perhaps Linda could go for that look with some accent pillows or something.


  2. I like the new ssp chair. It shows innovation with regards to that finish on a campaign chair. Very cool. The red leather makes it POP out wherever it's placed. Not really my cup of tea but if you wanted to send me one, I wouldn't refuse. And I could see Santa sitting proudly in it. Its the christmas char chair!

    But seriously, I like the idea of the charred finish. The texture and sheen of the wood looks perfect. Im not one for stains etc, so I might give this a try. I have the parts for a campaign chair blanked out. Im using Kentucky coffeewood, a ring porus wood but with a softer hew to it which I will probably keep natural. But my next campaign chair I would love to try the burnt finish.

    As far as a least favorite, I personally dont have one. I think they are all great and they are made especially for the recipient. The natural hide with the hair is interesting. How is it holding up? Does it get used a lot?

    Well done, sir. You are an inspiration.

    1. Hi Jerseytool, Thanks for this comment, it made my day.

      You should definitely try the charred finish. If nothing else, it is fun to do!

      As far as I know, the hide chair is holding up. That leather was really flexible, and a bit thin for this purpose, so I backed it by using spray glue to attach some canvas I had around for strength. It seems to have worked. I'm mostly worried about the hair falling out, but it I haven't heard that yet.

      Send a photo of your chair when you are done, I'd love to see it!


  3. Hi Brian

    This is a tough one, as all the chairs look good.

    Being slightly conservative (old fashioned and boring), my favorite is the willow chair. The colour of the leather is what makes all the difference to me. I like the brown natural look.

    My least favorite is the SSP chair, because I think the shiny combination is a bit too modern for my taste.

    By the way, in Denmark SSP is the formal abbreviation for the cooperation between School, Society and Police. like a way of trying to keep kids out of trouble, the SSP will typically employ a social worker that will act as a liaison officer between the three and any youngster that is on the way down the wrong path.


    1. Hi Jonas, thanks for the comment.

      I actually expected you to like this one the least. I think if I had been at the leather store choosing leather, I would have picked something else. But, I'm glad it worked out this way as this chair seems to draw an opinion one way or the other from whoever looks at it. That is a success, in my book.

  4. I like them all too, but if forced to choose one less likely "liked" it would be the coffee and cream. I like it but its not my cup of tea. The red one is really standing out, great combination of colors. The diamond willow one is so special in so many ways, how could anyone not like it. The pear and black is a great looking combination.
    So i guess what we are all saying, is that all 4 chairs are well executed and look marvelous darling :-)

    1. Thanks, Robert! Actually, I trolled for feedback on these to find more about what people like and don't more than for affirmation of my choices. I like each chair in it's own way. I'm glad they fit in the mail, as I think there are still a lot of combinations to try before I'm done with this chair.

  5. BTW, there is something wrong with the poll, and I am not getting any feedback from it. I must have done something wrong. Maybe next time!