A place for me to display some of the varied projects that come out of my shop, as well as to "talk" about some of my experiences working with wood.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Leminster Chair Progressing!!

Since the prototype is more or less complete, I have been working through the massive amount of turning I have for the chairs. Even at 5 minutes apiece to turn a spindle, that’s still lots of hours at the lathe.

I have been working on the support brackets for underneath the chair. These are bent ash laminations which are shaped around a mold to conform to the angles of the front and back legs. This meant ripping the offcuts from the leg and spindle stock prep to lots and lots of 3/32” strips and cutting them to length to be bent and glued in the mold.

In addition I built a jig to rout the mortise iton the leg to receive the bent wood bracket. This was a complex exercise, the jig needed to hold the turned leg still while routing the ¼” deep and ½” wide by 6” groove in the round leg. This exercise took a morning to get to the point where I had one leg mortised, the great part was that it took 15 minutes to do the other 3!

Support brackets screwed in place on prototype

This picture shows the underside of the updated prototype chair with the curved brackets installed, they are screwed in place (not glued). On the finished chair these will be glued into the leg and the screw holes plugged and blended into the bracket. Even with the tenons not glued in the mortises, these brackets stiffen the chair up a lot more than before.

The side view of the chair shows the subtlety of this design, while adding very little visually, the structure is improved a lot. I like this clean down under look (like a Ken doll J) which to my eye is more interesting than a typical stretcher design. This approach is typical of the shaker style of chair and bench construction, and is one of the key shaker design features I have included in what is more or less Windsor style chair. I guess this makes sense because Leminster is 20 Km or so from my hometown of Windsor (NS) so it strays from the Windsor-style, but not too far!!
I only have two molds (one for each angle) for the bent laminations so can only do one chair set per day as it is necessary for the glue to dry hard(8 hours) before removing them or they will spring back to shape or weaken the glue joint. While these were gluing up I spent a bit of time at the bandsaw cutting the crest rails to final shape and rough cutting the seats to shape. The next step with these is sanding and hand-shaping each of the crest rails before drilling the spindle holes; the final machine step for the crest rail will be to rout a round over on the top face of the crest rail – this ill only be to remove the bulk of the material, as it will be hand-shaped once attached to the chair.

Six cherry and one walnut rough cut seats and crest rails.

I spent quite a bit of time shaping a plexiglass template for the seat, refining the curves on the front and back, as well as the final placement of the leg mortises. From using the prototype as a dining chair for a couple of weeks I saw a few subtle things I wanted to change in the final design. Next step for the seats will be final bandsawing to exact shape and cleaning up the outside shape to set up for mark-up before carving begins.

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