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The Chair – Stretchers

Building the templates revealed a number of subtle details that one may not take in with a casual glance.

An obvious feature is that the front and rear stretchers differ in length. I expected that the curves would still match, but the rear stretcher curve is deeper than that at the front.

The downward curve narrows slightly towards the centre (below).

It is time to saw and shape the front and rear stretchers. So as not to bore you too much, I shall only show the front stretcher. The rear is simply a repetition of the front, and the straight side stretchers are straightforward.

The first step is to use the templates to mark off the desired shape. Note that the templates did not include the tenons, which are marked at this point.

Here’s a question for you – in what order would you saw the work piece?

I have chosen to start on the vertical …

The bandsaw blade follows the line as closely as possible. I want as little to plane away as possible.

mmm … I can see where my hand twitched. There is a slight bump to remove.

I only cut off one side so that the work piece will be more stable when clamped on the bench.

The surface is smoothed with a round bottom spokeshave (LN Boggs). The curve is too great for a flat spokeshave.

Once completed, the other side is bandsawed. This is easier to fair with a short smoother (here, a HNT Gordon with a high cutting angle).

As one works, so it is important to ensure that everything remains square at all times.

The template is used to check the dimensions …

Now mark off the other curve with the template and saw the waste …

Below: there was a flat spot in the centre of the curve that I could not remove with the smoother. Any deviation from a faired curve, especially at the front of the chair, will later be easily seen. The curved sole of this Record #020 cleaned it up beautifully.

And finally, all the basic shaping on the stretchers completed.

Next up are the tenons for each. Another question for all – how would you cope the tenon shoulders?

The stretchers still need to be slotted for the Danish Cord seat, as well as have all edges rounded over.

Regards from Perth


January 2014