Thursday, September 27, 2018

Danish Chair Building Extravaganza III - Day Three

Today was a bit frustrating for me. I made some forward progress, but spent most of my time fixing screw-ups and re-doing parts that I wasn't happy with.

The day started out well enough. I decided that since I had already cut the whole seat blank out (rather than leaving the rear of the seat alone so I could have something to clamp to), then I would finish the rear of the blank allowing me to use the outside radius of the actual seat to lay out the spindle deck.

I know that elm is an incredibly difficult wood to work. It has interlocking grain, and is temperamental in the sense that grain direction can change from one shaving to the next. That being said, the shaping of this part of the seat was easy. Maybe my tools were sharper than usual, or (more likely) the wood was still has a bit higher moisture content than bone dry since it was milled in February.

Regardless, roughing out of the rear roundover was pretty easy, and it smoothed up with my spokeshave with no problems. Yay!
My cute little drawknife.
To lay out this roundover, I just used my finger as a fence and drew a pencil line about half the thickness of the seat. It's then just a matter of slicing away until you get there.
Finished the roundover in no time flat.
This is where things started to go south. The next step was to sink the mortises for the back supports and the arm stumps. I decided that the shape of the back supports I made the day before were not suitable, so I made some more. I made blanks for four, just in case I made another screw up, and I wound up ruining all of them. I then milled out another pair, this time taking my time and using some care in ensuring they turned out exactly right, and they did.

What I learned was it really doesn't take longer to do things the right way. I know the "proper" way to square lumber and make tapering cuts, and it would have saved me the entire morning if I had done it that way in the first place rather than trying to cut a corner or two because I'm in a hurry.

Rant over.

Meanwhile, Jonas was finally able to get a piece of ash to bend in his loop back form.
This looks weird, but you'll see why it has to be this way once you see his finished piece.
I mounted the back supports and the arm stumps.
This is where another disaster happened. Not due to poor workmanship (this time), but as a result of not understanding the photo of the chair I base this rocker from.

After mounting the arm stumps, I gave the chair a test-sit, and realized that there was barely enough room for me to get in it between the arm stumps. Once the arms are on, I won't fit in this chair.

The problem was there wasn't enough splay in the arm stumps. If they were pointed a bit farther out, the chair would be much more comfortable.

I decided to plug the holes I just drilled and drill them again, at the proper angle.
A matter of gluing a piece in, cutting it off and starting over.
It doesn't look that great, but I can drill the new hole from the same spot and hopefully the repair will be invisible when looking at the chair.
Meanwhile, everyone else is plugging along making marvelous progress. Ty has a lot of turned parts on his chair, and it turns out is is an extremely skilled turner.
Stunning turnings in hornbeam.
And Olav is coming along on his shaving horse. I don't fully understand his design, so I am excited to see how this bench comes together.
Olav's progress.

Discussing how to drill accurate holes.
At the end of the day, I made a bending form for the crest rail of my chair. I laminated two 2" pine boards together and left it to glue overnight.
Jonas has a cool Ohio compass plane.
Jonas' compass plane came in handy for smoothing this form. I figured it was good practice for making rockers.
bending form.
One of the offcuts of the bending form gave me a preview of what the shape of my chair will look like.
Testing the shape with a scrap.
The whitebeam we are using for many parts is really interesting wood to work. It has some interesting properties. Jonas was amazed with how an end-grain cut off from a cross cut on the table saw was so flexible. Any other wood is very weak, but this stuff is very flexible.
Jonas and an end-grain cut off of whitebeam.
I did get some forward progress, but I wish I would have gotten farther. Tomorrow is another day. I plan to start the day steam bending a beautiful piece of quartersawn elm for a crest rail. I also hope to saddle the seat and get the rockers cut out and on the chair. Stay tuned!

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