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Location: lake placid, florida

Monday, August 27, 2007

the sounds of silence

photo worth a thousand words-

while making the chair, i hurt my carpal tunnel. the chair came in the brown truck, and of course i couldn't wait to sand it, so rehurt the wrist. not the brightest move i've ever made.

now i am being a very good girl.

just a tiny bit of knitting. so far, knitting doesn't seem to be hurting, maybe cause i knit continental and only use my right hand to hold the needle.
can anyone guess what's on these needles?

then we took my baby to college.

think she has enough stuff?

rebecca and her new room-mate! i hope my baby girl has the best time ever!
but i miss her terribly

Friday, August 10, 2007

warning- looooonng chair class post ahead!

are you ready for a windsor class primer?

then step inside the storybook joinery workshop-

first up, planing the red oak stock for our bows. i have one long back bow,

while terri has 2 bows, one rounded back bow, and one arm bow. terri's arm bow will have mittens attached, which i covet.

after we planed our bows, they go into the steam box.

the steam box is made of a long pvc pipe, the water is heated by a propane tank.

charles has asbestos fingers.

the bows are bent around a mold,

very much like we bend nantucket basket handles.

we used metal bending straps with wooden handles to pull the bows over the molds.

next we used an axe, a wedge and a large wooden mallet to split green oak for the spindles.

charles is very trusting ;-)

the raw spindle blanks. it must be green (not dried out) oak for the spindles so the spindles will be able to bend later on in the chair.

we used a drawknife, spokeshave and compass plane to shape the spindles. mine have a plain long taper.

terri got to sit at the shavehorse (i had to stand, wheh).

terri's spindles have a fatter bottom, and a narrow taper at the top. her arm bow will rest on top of the fat part of the taper.

then we turned hard maple blanks into legs on the lathe.
i thought i'd be a lot better at this than i was. the skew and i are not friends.

had much better luck with the bowl and roughing gouge and scraper.

you can't see in the photos, but there is a master leg to copy resting behind the lathe in the orange clamps. we made pencil lines to mark off the different parts of the leg turnings, and calipers to measure how much wood to take off.

here are the tools we will use to chop and carve the seats. from top left going clockwise, travisher, scorp, spokeshave and drawknife. i also used a compass plane, but it's not in the photo.

the seats are made of 2 pine blanks glued together.

terri, refining her seat. terri's sackback windsor has an oblong seat.

my bowback rocker has a shield seat.
first we used the drawknife to taper the back of the seat.

charles is giving me the "what are you doing, girl?" look.

then we used a curved adze to chop out the butt part of the seat.

watch your toes!

see the seat template behind my seat? all the reference points you will need for the leg and spindle holes are marked on the template, plus the degree of each angle.

since i want to use my chair for spinning, i shaped my seat a little different.

most windsor seats have an angle from the pommel to the sides. for me, this angle hits the back of your thighs and bothers the sciatic nerve.

my seat is shaped with a wide groove where your thighs hit the seat, for smooth spinning action :-)

i am one with the scorp.

terri is drilling her first leg hole with a bit brace and an auger bit.

drilling my first leg hole. we used bevel gauges to measure the splay, which is the angle of the legs from side to side, and rake, which is the angle of the legs from front to back. each of the holes we drilled is a compound angle.

then we used a reamer in the bit brace to refine the angle. so the legs go into the seat at just the right angles.

the reamer on terri's seat.

my seat wth the 4 leg holes drilled.

we put the 2 front legs in and check for symetry.

all 4 legs in and we place the 2 metal winding sticks from front to back and check the angle with a bevel gauge. now is when you pray the angles match!

one of the hardest parts was drilling into the 2 side stretchers and the medial stretcher with the bit brace and spoon bit. no photos cause we were working too hard.

terri went first, and when terri, aka amazon woman, was having a hard time, i knew i was in deep doodoo.

first the stretchers are glued together in an angled H shape, the stretchers are glued into the legs, then the whole leg assembly is glued into the seat.
next we took a chisel and split the top of the leg where they poke out of the seat, make a wedge, glue and hammer the wedge into the legs to make the joint extra strong.

the wedges look like this- they are walnut and i love them. too bad they will be painted over.

refining the spindles with a compass plane.

see how terri's armbow is setting on top of the fat part of her spindles?
terri is seating her spindles. she used a piece of pvc pipe held over her spindles so they wouldn't
my spindles only poke out of the backbow a little bit, so i didn't need the pipe.

after my middle spindle is in, we check the backbow to make sure it isn't torqued one way or the other.

turning the spindles to look as straight as they can.

seating the spindles with a 1 1/2 lb. brass hammer. tap wait tap, til it sounds hollow.

the 2 back spindles on my chair and the 2 smallest side spindles are steam bent and shoved into blind holes.
i love the little coffin back brace that the 2 back spindles fit into.

the master.

we measure the legs and mark for the rockers.

the bottom of my legs and the rockers are put together with a with a bridle joint.

a true stroke of serendipity. charles bought plain maple for the rockers, but when he was sawing it, the flames of figured maple appeared!
figured maple is one of my favorite woods!
so the body of my chair will be painted, and the rockers will have an oil finish letting the figuring in the wood show.

one rocker fitting perfectly!

the rocker is more than i ever dreamed it would be :-)
terri and i are already planning a class next march so the weather won't be as beastly hot.

terri will make a nantucket windsor rocker (what else)?

i am torn between the nantucket, or this boston armchair with rockers.
the boston is easier, plus it can be shipped disassembled and i can glue it together at home.
at least i have a while to chew on it!
terri and i were so lucky to meet charles at the waterford fair, and ask him if he would consider teaching us to make a windsor chair.
charles is the very best kind of teacher; unfailingly patient, willing to share his knowledge and a fabulous craftsman.