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Location: lake placid, florida

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.


Blogger Terri said...

Nice job on the post Vanessa. I'm exhausted just reading about all the things we did in our Windsor chair class. Makes me cherish my chair all the more.

12:31 PM  
Blogger PJ said...

WOW!(double bold)what a layout!...and all by hand! awesome! how long does it take to make one? What a neat class! Beuatiful grounds as well.

2:39 PM  
Blogger Spinny Bunt said...

You do the coolest s&*t Vanessa! Your rocker looks great.
I am truly envious.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

Wow, what a fantastic post (and workshop)!! Your chair is beautiful.

I'm with Lara, I'm envious!

5:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great idea for "camp"!

7:01 PM  
Blogger nornspinner said...

Beautiful! Class, location, photos and of course - chair!!!! Sounds like you had a great time and what a fun idea for a vacation!pmgdwel

10:46 PM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

You two girls are AMAZING! That is about all I can say...truly AMAZING!

11:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No wonder you were so tired! It looks like a lot of hard work but so worth it. The chairs are gorgeous!

4:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow. thank you for such an informative narrative. your talents never cease to surprise me. i am amazed.

11:04 PM  
Blogger zippiknits...sometimes said...

Stunning! What an art that is, too. Thanks for posting the primer on building a windsor chair.

12:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't find words. 'Amazing' is not good enough, but ...

Thanks for the post :)

8:46 AM  
Blogger knitspot anne said...

wow! woman, it's no wonder your arm is out of joint!

9:55 PM  
Blogger Marsha said...

Nice job on both the chair and the post! Thanks for sharing, looks like it was a great adventure!

8:13 AM  
Blogger Dr. Steph said...

You are awesome.

10:13 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Wow, that was truly amazing! That's what I call real art!! I grew up with a woodcrafter dad and real quality is almost a lost art at least it is in the retail stores!
Your chair is so perfect!

10:38 AM  
Blogger cyndy said...

What a great class Vanessa! And your post was so well done, just fascinating--thank you so much for all those pictures, and a great explanation to go with it! It looks like it was a terrific workshop!

2:10 PM  
Blogger Romi said...

This is so cool!

Hey - Clint has a shaving horse (he made it). If you come out and visit I bet he'll let you use it. :g:

8:35 PM  
Blogger June said...

Wowza! Now I understand the injuries! Wonderful post, do you think you'll make it back to make the other gorgeous chair?

You are amazing -Ms. V!

8:58 PM  
Blogger Dorothy said...

Wow! What an amazing class and it all turned out so beautifully. I hope you do get to take another class in March and my personal favourite is the Nantucket, although being able to ship the Boston disassembled would tip that in favour of being the one I would actually make.

9:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How EXCELLENT that you did this!! My brother in law took a class here up in NH making Windsor Chairs(he's from Georgia)

Great job!

9:38 PM  
Blogger Angela said...

Oh my gosh Vanessa - you are the coolest ever.

11:53 PM  
Blogger Teyani said...

what an amazing post! congrats on your skill and your learning.... totally impressed here! wow. The chairs are gorgeous.

12:36 AM  
Blogger Laurie said...

That is amazing. I think it was worth the wrist pain. Just WOW.

6:26 AM  
Blogger Mia said...

oh my god almighty! That is the MOST EXCELLENT blog post EVER!

Really.. I'm SO impressed by the woodworking (and all the time you put into this post). I'm gonna be reading it several times over the next few days :)

You are blessed and it shows in the work of your hands :)

9:22 PM  

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