To bore the leg holes in the seat, I used the usual method of aligning the bit to a sliding bevel and a combination square. These two in combination get the right angle.
|Boring a leg hole|
Boring at this angle is a little awkward. I would really prefer boring from the underside, but my layout points (from the drawing) were drawn for the top of the seat.
|Legs fitted to the holes|
No pics, but I tapered the holes with a reamer and tapered the leg tenons with a tapered tenon cutter – both homemade tools.
One of my favorite parts of making these chairs is building the undercarriage. I didn’t get any pictures in progress, but this uses the legs in situ to lay out the holes for the side stretchers and uses the side stretchers in situ to lay out for the center stretcher. It’s enjoyable to figure out how to bore the holes at the proper angles.
|Undercarriage in place|
Moving on: time to get to the crest rail. Having no wood-bending capability, or access to green bendable wood, I found in my stash a piece of laminated beech that had a curve bandsawn into it. It was almost the right curvature, so I cut off a 11/16″ wide section and shaved it to 11/16″ square and to the proper curve. The curvature was laid out with homemade trammel points.
|Beech about 1″ thick by 2.5″ wide|
Now, it’s 11/16″ square (cross section) and octagonal layout lines have been added
|Spokeshaved to octagonal|
After boring the holes for the seat-back posts, I clamped the crest rail in place and played with different orientations of the spindles. Curtis’ full-size chair has five spindles, but I thought that would be a bit crowded in this smaller chair.
|Four spindles (one still in rough form)|
I liked the version with four spindles better. Something else that makes sense to me is this. With three spindles, there is one directly in the center of the back. I’d prefer my backbone reside between two spindles. Not that I’ll be sitting in this chair, but still … But with that decided, I laid out the spindle hole locations in the seat. The outside two used the original (five spindle design) hole locations. The inside two were spaced evenly between the outer two.
Before going any further there, I had to get to the tough job of shaping the seat. First I sawed to the outer shape and cleaned up to the lines.
|Outer shape all set|
Hollowing the seat was interesting. Sure wish I had a scorp! But a large gouge and mallet did most of the rough work. First I drilled depth holes to ensure I didn’t go too deeply or asymmetrically. Unfortunately, I drilled some of these holes too deep and had to fill the holes later.
|Hollowing out the seat|
I tried to use the drawknife as much as possible to do the other shaping. Good layout lines are key here. Until I get a feel for this by making hundreds of chairs (not bloody likely!), good layout is the way to go.
|Shaping the upper, side “flat” of the seat|
Next I bored and tapered the holes in the seat for the back posts. Also, the tenons of the posts were tapered for a nice tight fit.
|Back posts fitted to the seat|
At this point, I glued up the undercarriage. Hide glue was used and the tops of the leg tenons were wedged.
|Undercarriage glued up|
Next time I’ll get to the back assembly. That was a lot of fun!