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Location: lake placid, florida

Monday, March 31, 2008

almost heaven

west virginia

this year's nantucket windsor chair class started off in terri's workshop-

charles was kind enough to drop off the maple turning stock for our legs.

this allowed us to have a lot more time to turn the legs, no chunking out this year!

aren't my legs purty?

much better than last year. i really took my time with the turning, plus i got a new curved skew chisel that me helped tremendously.

first step in class was marking and carving the ears on the crest.

the crest is red oak.

we carved volutes on the front, and rounded over the backs.

the crests went into the steamer, then we bent and clamped them over a jig.

spindle splitting- charles is a trusting fellow, isn't he? the oak spindles are split with an axe and a mallet.

nine spindles for this nantucket windsor chair.

first the spindles are shaped with a drawknife, then my favorite job not shaping the spindles with a forkstaff.

what i do best, sweep up the shavings.

now we plane our seat blanks, i enjoyed this much more this year then last, i finally got the feel of the plane.

the nantucket windsor has a much larger seat than the bowback i made last year.

on the nantucket, the wood grain runs side to side on the seat, so the coffin, or tail, must be made as a separate piece, or it might crack off from the pressure.

the bowback's seat has the wood grain running front to back on the seat. the tail and seat are one piece.

we carefully measure, then cut the mortise into the back of the seat. first we used a brace and bit to drill 2 holes, then we squared up the hole with chisels.

the tail gets a matching tenon cut with a saw and finished off with a chisel.

glue the tail into the seat and clamp.
the seat and tail shape are cut on the bandsaw.

the seat is marked with pencil lines to show you where to cut off the underside.

finish the back of the seat shaping with a spokeshave.

next we mark off the part of the seat that will be chopped out.

and we get to use the gutter adze, fun!

we clean up the seat with a scorp (my friend), the compass plane, and the travisher (not my friends).

shaping the pommel.

the underside of the seat front.

our seats get marked for the legs and spindles. we drill the leg holes, and stile and stump holes.

drilling the holes in the hard maple legs was much easier this year.

we begged charles to let us use auger bits instead of spoon bits. it's the little things in life that make us happy.

the stretcher holes are drilled after we make sure all the leg angles are correct.

every hole is a compound angle, the legs have a rake (front to back) and splay (side to side). the stiles and stumps have a slope (front to back) and flare (side to side). 2 bevel gauges are used for each hole drilled.

once the legs and stretchers are assembled, they are jammed into the seat, and the legs are wedged.

dryfitting the spindles and stumps. starting to look like a chair!

the arms are made of poplar, an extra block of wood is glued to the bottom for carving the knuckles.

we carved the paws-

then marked the volutes-

and carved them with carving chisels.

the volutes on the arms were much harder to carve than the ears. especially ones on the inner curve.

but i think they are beautiful!

measure the distance of the arm to the stump.

then we assembled the whole arm, drilling the holes for the stumps and short spindles, and fitting the arm into the stiles (the turned uprights that run from the seat to the crest).

almost finished!

we steam the 2 spindles that run from the tail i like to call it the coffin, that's what it looks like to me to the crest.

and bend them into place.

very last job is drilling a small hole into the stiles, coffin spindles and the center spindle, and driving a small wedge into each hole.

charles and sherry treated us to a lovely dinner- starting with charles' world famous margarita.

the mantle glowed with candlelight.

as did the credenza. sherry really knows how to set the mood :-)

seafood stew with fennel and orange peel- fabulous!!!

our chairs are finished- terri and i each made a nantucket rocker, and charles made a nantucket armchair.

what can i say? the picture says it all!

charles, thanks from the bottom of my heart for all your patience.

terri, you are the very best and equally obsessed friend!


Blogger anne said...

WOW! that is so cool; i'm going to show david . . .he's starting to be very interested in furniture building.

11:26 PM  
Blogger Romi said...

Yay!!!!!!! You're back!!! Great chairs. :)

11:52 PM  
Blogger Teyani said...

love it! love it!
You are a woman of amazing talent.
Whay a fabulous accomplishment - and a beautiful chair to keep forever.

12:08 AM  
Anonymous Rebecca and Peggy said...

We can't keep up! We're not worthy! We bow before your obvious superiority!

12:37 AM  
Blogger weebug said...


2:40 AM  
Blogger Pumpkinmama said...

Amazing! Was that all done in one day? Remind me never to get in a chair-making race with you either ;-)

8:38 AM  
Blogger anmiryam said...


I so admire woodworkers. Unlike knitting there is no room for mistakes.

Your chair is beautiful and I'm glad to see you posting again.

8:54 AM  
Anonymous Chris said...

Wonderful! The chair, the post, and that grin of satisfaction as you enjoy sitting in your chair. And how nice to have such a beautiful chair to rock the lovely little Gingersnap when she comes for a visit.

9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I say again WOW!!!
That's amazing!
I wanna go play! And yet, I KNOW my skills are not up to THIS! (says the woman who's never turned anything).
I'll have to send this to my father, who is into wood working these days.
Your chair is a work of art!

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Beth S. said...

You are seriously hardcore!

I assume stain comes next?... ;-)

9:52 AM  
Blogger June said...

Hey, long time no update - glad to see you are back! :)

The chair is fabulous, I am jealous. One of my someday hobbies is woodworking and furniture making. But I figure that has to wait until I retire.

3:04 PM  
Anonymous LisaK said...

Very cool!! I missed you!

6:35 PM  
Blogger Hope said...

Absolutely spectacular! You should have taken video. You could have a TV show - "This New Chair". We could call you Norm.

7:32 PM  
Anonymous Janine said...

I am impressed beyond words!!!!

7:41 PM  
Blogger Jacqui said...

absolutely stunning!

thank you for taking the time to share this amazing process with us.

8:43 PM  
Anonymous Laurie said...

Amazing work. I wondered where you were. Now I know...extremely focused and busy.

9:39 PM  
Anonymous julia fc said...

my next life. but not quite as lovely as yours.

so . . . is there a home made wheel in your future?

1:05 PM  
Blogger Vicki said...

You are amazing! Glad to see you back.

7:11 AM  
Blogger Joanne said...

The chairs are a work of art! Thanks for returning to blog land; I always love to hear how you're doing and what you're making. :)

10:33 AM  
Blogger PJ said...

Somebody has been sittin' in MY chair...
Love it! I enjoyed your pics last year and I enjoy them this year..what a treat!

1:53 PM  
Blogger annmarie said...

what a beautiful accomplishment! :)

4:09 PM  
Blogger Melanie said...

So glad to see you back! And OMG, this was so worth waiting for, what a fabulous post! You've made a beautiful heirloom piece, and you've done a wonderful job of documenting it.

4:45 PM  
Blogger June said...

How cool Vanessa!! Hope you're back to stay!

7:56 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

Well, well, well - three awesome chairs, and what a complex process! You girls go!

12:46 PM  
Blogger Manise said...

I am gobsmacked impressed! And pleased as punch to see you back posting again! I was starting to wonder what had happened to you.

8:13 AM  
Blogger cyndy said...

Wow Vanessa- the nantucket windsor is just beautiful!

5:31 PM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

I've been wondering where you were! You have been off making furniture. Have you been knitting during your blogging sabbatical as well? Or have you been playing with your new grandbaby?

9:50 AM  
Blogger thegabbyknitter said...

Gorgeous chairs!

2:44 PM  
Anonymous Kim said...

Holy molly are amazingly talented both on the fiber front and the furniture front!

VERY nice!

8:06 AM  
Anonymous AlisonH said...


10:47 PM  
Anonymous Vee said...

I enjoyed your pics...And I thought I had a lot of hobbies/skills :-) You are amazing and everything you create is so beautiful!

4:39 PM  
Anonymous Robbin said...

Beautiful chairs I might add...Could you have used this versacart to help you throw and cart away your garbage...

9:44 PM  

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