Sunday, September 30, 2018

Danish Chair Building Extravaganza III - Day Six - Final Day

Just a quick update, as I left my camera which has the best pictures in the shop. I'll post some of those photos tomorrow.

Today was the last official day of the DCBE. I don't fly home until tomorrow evening, so it is possible I might be able to sneak a little bit more time in Jonas' shop. It looks like a bomb went off in there. I think tomorrow should be dedicated to putting it back in order and helping move Olav's benches out. I'll also need to pack my stuff to get ready to fly.

Ty left today. It was great getting to know him over the week, and it was refreshing to see him work on his chair which required such precision. He pulled it off to perfection, and completed his chair with time to spare. Something of a first for the DCBE.
Jonas giving Ty's chair a test.
The rest of us have all made a lot of progress on our builds, but Jonas, Olav and I will all have to put the finishing touches on our builds later.

Jonas is saddling the seat of his nanny rocker. It is a mammoth task because it is a pretty big seat and bassinet combination, and he is going the full 3/4" depth into whitebeam, which is doing everything in it's power to resist being saddled. Once he's done with that, I think he'll be on the downhill stretch.

Olav is wrapping up his shave horse. I look forward to seeing it completed. It should be a massive thing when it's done. He has designed it with removable legs.

I'm actually pleased with my progress. I hoped to finish this week, but there are certain things that just take time. No shortcuts allowed. One such thing was getting the rockers on.

It really wasn't difficult, I just had to get my head around what I was looking at, what I wanted to see, and where the problems were coming from. Next time will be a bit easier now that I've done the mental gymnastics required.

I discovered one thing that was giving me fits, and that was the front right leg. I must have been just a hair off in drilling the mortise for the stretcher, because the front leg assembly doesn't quite snap into the seat as it should. It's not much, but the angle is just a tad bit too open. I decided to charge on with it rather than making a new front leg assembly because it is just a small thing, and the legs are flexible enough to lock properly into the mortises in the seat.

The issue is, that tiny bit of tension has changed the angle of that leg ever so slightly.

It's not enough to be seen or noticed, but it does make aligning the rockers so they are perfectly in line difficult. The usual method of measuring distances between different parts of the chair isn't working.

Once I made this realization, the alignment was pretty easy. I just levelled the rockers with each other using winding sticks, then measured from the seat bottom to the rockers on each side to ensure the chair sat level, left to right.
Aligning the rockers.
I then marked out the full depth of the rocker slots on the legs, sawed to depth, and used a chisel to permanently mark the baseline to chisel to. There is still a few things to get ready on this chair that I have to do in Jonas' shop rather than at home, so I didn't chisel the waste out to the basselines and final fit the rockers. That can easily be done later.
It works!
The rest of the day was spent roughing out parts from Jonas' massive stash of wood for the pieces I still needed: back spindles and arms.

I found a really nice board of kiln dried ash. Since they were the delicate back spindles, I spent some real care laying out the cuts for the spindles resulting in blanks with perfectly straight grain.

Here's how I did it: I crosscut the board to length, then I used a straight edge to pencil in a line on the board which followed the grain from one corner of the board until it ran off the other side, as best I could. Some of the boards already were straight, some of them had a little runout which wasted a little wood. After laying out these lines, I jointed one face on the machine, then cut to the previously marked line on the bandsaw. This freshly sawn edge was run over the jointer giving me a flat edge and a flat face to take to the table saw. There I ripped out about twice as many blanks as I needed, as not all of the defects could be seen through the rough finish of the rough sawn boards.

I ran them all through the thickness planer and selected eleven of the most perfect blanks that had the least runout, (nine for the chair and two extras, just in case).

Once the spindle blanks were four-squared, I used Glen Huey's trick to taper the blanks on the jointer.

Now I have eleven square spindle blanks that are rough shaped on the machine and double tapered. The next step is to spokeshave them to final shape.

The last thing I did today was use the leftovers from the board I cut the rockers from to rough out arms to the general shape I want. They will eventually get a round tenon on one end.
Here's a picture of the upper assembly as it looks right now.
If I'm able to get some shop time tomorrow, I'll see how far I can get final shaping the spindles. and the crest (it is bandsawn to rough shape)

Here is what's left for me to do on this chair:
  • Finish shaping the crest, and tenon it into the back supports.
  • Shape the spindles
  • Drill 1/2" holes in the seat for the spindles and 3/8" holes in the crest for the spindles.
  • Final scraping of the seat to remove any marks - ready for finish. 
  • Plane the bottoms of the rockers to an angle so they sit flat on the floor.
  • Mount the spindles and crest rail after gluing and wedging the back supports.
  • Perhaps before that I should glue and wedge the legs (after finishing the mortises to final depth).
  • Finish shaping the arms, mortise the back supports.
  • Final shaping of the arm stumps, glue and wedge into seat.
  • Mount the arms, glue and wedge.
  • Shape the bottoms of the legs and mount the rockers.
No matter what, the rockers go on last. One piece of advice Ray Schwanenberger gave both Jonas and I was to mount the rockers last. I can just imagine the clown show involved in assembling the upper assembly on a chair with permanently affixed rockers.

Overall, it has been an amazing week. Although I hoped to finish the chair, I am pleased with the progress I have made. I've only made a handful of staked chairs, and this is my first rocker. It was fun, and I would like to make another one someday.

Next: Bonus (Cleanup) Day

EDIT: More pictures! I took a lot fewer than I thought.
Field expedient measuring dividers

Dividers in use

Rough shaped spindles.


  1. Looking good, hope you will have opportunity to finish this fine project. Thank you for making my introduction to DCBE a fine and rewarding experience, hope to do something similar toegther another time!

    1. Hej, Ty! It sure was fun, and your chair was beautiful.