Arts & Crafts Dining Room Set #13: It's All About the Template...

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Blog entry by CaptainSkully posted 01-30-2010 02:13 AM 3409 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 12: Rodel Chair Layout Part 13 of Arts & Crafts Dining Room Set series Part 14: The Paradox of Quartersawn on Four Sides... »

So today, I cleaned up the shop a bit and started on the template to make the back legs. Based on my AutoCAD drawing, I laid it out on some 1/4” masonite (hardboard). I even remembered to make it longer to affix the ends together. I cut it out and faired it as best I could. It’s almost perfect (you can spot 1/1000” off) when sighting down it. It looks pretty darn good from the side.

I then double-sided taped it to a roughed out blank and using my pattern-following bit, made an exact duplicate, which needed almost no sanding. I then started laying out the mortises, because that’s how you mount the blank to the template (the mortises will eventually eliminate the screw holes). You just have to make sure to screw half the legs on one side, and half on the other, so that the mortises will be on the inside (note to self). BTW, I made sure to put the rough side of the masonite inside to have the slick outside slide better on the router table.

I’m gluing up the 1 1/2” blocks/spacers for the end of the jig, and will route them to fit tomorrow, after the glue dries. After that, it’s gluing up large 1 1/2” blanks for the legs out of 3/4” stock. I’ll obviously try to optimize because the bent back leg could waste a lot of wood. I’ll try to get the front legs out of the waste. While that’s curing, I’ll start on thinner parts like spindles, gussets, etc.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

3 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3576 days

#1 posted 01-30-2010 04:38 AM

Looks like a good strat

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Jero's profile


79 posts in 2986 days

#2 posted 10-13-2010 08:38 PM

After looking through various plans I too came across the Rodel chairs and immediately decided to make it my first project for this fall. I too have drawn up the rear uprights in autocad, and am going to make a template off of it. Overall, the chairs look like a nice challenge. First chairs I have ever built as well.

-- Jeremy - Marshfield, WI

View Jero's profile


79 posts in 2986 days

#3 posted 10-19-2010 08:29 PM

My adventure in the rear legs went from really good, to really bad in 2 days.

I’m making a set of 6 chairs, so I needed 12 rear legs. I got all 12 cut out utilizing all the thicker white oak I had in my shop. They do generate quite a bit of waste, but can get the front legs out of the waste. that part went great. Then it got bad.

I made the templates out of the 1/4” hardboard as recommended, however forgot to leave one end longer to attach them together, and ended up finageling something together to hold it. That was a mistake. It lead to a weaker template. That, combined with only “attaching” the template to the legs in 2 places (which is recommended by Rodel), which led to the template slightly shifting/bending during routing, which led to me gouging out several of the legs…beyond repair. I was (and am) disgusted.

I notice on Kevin’s FWW article that HIS template is built with quite a bit heavier material than 1/4” hardboard. I will be re-building a new template with 1/2” or 3/4” material, AND getting new material for the rear legs.

My recommendation. Either secure the 1/4” hardboard to the legs in more places (by clamping, or some other method), or make the template out of thicker material. I also did not have the same router bit that he recommended. I had the bearings on the bottom end of the bit…dont know if that hindered anything…

Have you been able to machine the legs?

-- Jeremy - Marshfield, WI

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