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The Chair – Fitting the Front and Rear Stretchers (Part 1)

At the end of todays’ session in the workshop I really feel as though I have dodged a bullet.

When I started on the mortice and tenons, I reasoned that the straight stretchers of the chair would be a better place to start – partly because the stepped tenons were difficult enough, and partly because the angles of the front and rear stretchers were daunting. I lacked confidence in my own measurements - gauging the angles accurately, I reasoned, would be easier in situ.

In retrospect, I should have fitted the front and rear stretchers first. It would then have been much, much easier to do so then than now … which is the task that now faces me.

It is a little bit of a roundabout route, however I did have a cunning plan to solve the problem, to quote Baldrick.

What is needed is a jig to hold the sides at the correct angle, and then position the front and rear stretchers between them.

The first step was to build a seat out of blue tape …

Onto this went a layer of paper …

Which became a template to create a thin (flexible) MDF version …

This positioned the mortices.

The second jig started as four holes drilled into a MDF board. These marked the position of the feet of the original chair …

Here the sides are set in the holes and bridged by the MDF seat …

Holding the legs at the correct angle was managed by hot-gluing MDF angle supports, which were measured from the original chair.

And now we have something that resembles a chair!

Finally, the shoulder angles of the front and rear stretchers could be checked for accuracy.

It turned out that the vertical shoulder angles were fine. The end (horizontal) shoulder angles were a little off line, however, and need to be adjusted.

All this was worth the effort to get this right before any work is done.

Regards from Perth


January 2014