As far as I obtained in a weeklong class, plus sooner or later of saddling the seat—the armbow glued up and tough-formed, legs made and mortised, and completed stretchers. It’s not that I’m sluggish (although I may be); we ran out of bench area for an “extra” scholar (me).

After virtually twenty years in woodworking publishing, I believe I’ve learn at the very least a little bit one thing about most issues in woodworking, each previous and new. And I’ve learn an ideal deal about sure issues, notably these subjects on which Lost Art Press has revealed books. I’ve additionally watched loads of woodworking occur that I’ve not truly tried.

No shock, however it seems that studying a few course of and/or watching a course of doesn’t imply one can truly carry out the method. I can’t inform you what number of “Kentucky Stick Chairs” I’ve watched Christopher Schwarz construct, or what number of instances I’ve learn the chapters in his “Stick Chair Book.” I’ve additionally been out and in of the room in at the very least a half-dozen stick chair courses—most likely extra.

Legs and stretchers glued up on a stick chair.
Legs and stretchers glued up.

But till just a few weeks in the past, I’d by no means gotten previous slicing the tough components and a few desultory seat saddling. (That was 9 years in the past; that partially executed seat stays in my basement, now with two deep splits in it. I’m glad I didn’t end it—may need put me off chairmaking eternally!) But we had some additional components in a latest class in our store, so I made a decision to present it a go (black cherry is tough to withstand, plus I would like just a few extra chairs for the eating room).

Faceting the top of a leg tenon with an inshave
Faceting the highest of a leg tenon with an inshave (aka scorp).

And let me inform you: It is a problem. I’m so used to slicing dovetails and making initiatives with proper angles (typically virtually-proper angles) that making a chair—with its many not-proper angles—is messing with my head. Even issues that appear like they should be straightforward, resembling slicing a tenon on the tip of a stick (which, with the tooling beneath, requires you to carry the tenon cutter at a proper angle to the stick whereas urgent in) aren’t so simple as they seem. A travisher and spokeshave are each, of their essence, handplanes with bizarre handles, but the grip and motions to make use of them aren’t acquainted to these of us who’ve performed solely within the flat world. We know what they’re speculated to do, however to get them to do it effectively?

Centering a tenon
It is darn-close to unimaginable to get the tenon completely centered on the tip of the stick. For me. Yet.

It takes persistence and apply, identical to slicing dovetails or end-planing a flat board. While studying to make use of these instruments, I’ve to consistently tamp down my frustration and remind myself that, lo these a few years in the past, I needed to discover ways to correctly wield a dovetail noticed, and switch strain from the entrance to the again of my No. three because it moved down a board.

Tenon-making practice
This is tenon no. 13. Some of my others are usable, however this was the primary one the place I assumed, “yeah, I’ve got this now—at least well enough for my first chair.”

I ruined a number of of the brief sticks with tenons that had been just too far off heart, leaving a flat down one side all the way in which to the ends (for this design, you need at the very least a small shoulder) earlier than all of it clicked and I may reduce an honest tenon. It wasn’t till my 13th attempt that I used to be even semi-OK with my effort. I then made the error of going house for the night time; I ought to have stayed and completed tenoning my lengthy sticks, too, to additional cement into my muscle tissue the profitable stance and actions. In different phrases, when you get it proper, do it once more. And once more.

But the subsequent day, it took solely three poor outcomes for using the device to click on again in place. Now all my sticks are tenoned, and I’ve moved on to shaping them. Next can be ending the armbow, then the thrilling second of gluing up the sticks and armbow, at which level it’ll truly seem like a chair! Then the comb. The final thing earlier than end can be “make pretty”…or on this case, “make pretty enough.”

My subsequent one can be higher. Still, I’d reduce just a few dovetails this week, simply to remind myself of that.




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