I’ve made a lot of progress on the chair in the last few days, although I’m at one of those points in the project where the progress isn’t easily apparent. One thing I had to do was spend a few days re-bending or replacing a few of the seat and back slats because they either hadn’t bent well the first time around, or had cracked too much. Fortunately with steam bending the effective is somewhat cumulative, so a second bending cured those ills.
I also cut and shaped the stretchers for the seat. The stretchers are mounted at an angle and are radiused to provide a comfortable seat, so shaping them is a bit of a challenge. After careful marking out the bias from the seat legs, I mark out the radius and then rough shape the whole thing with a drawknife. Then I go in with a spokeshave to clean it up and fine-tune the shape. That works pretty well, although this mahogany has a lot of reversing grain and other problems that make it somewhat challenging.
Here are a couple of shots of the progress so far.
The chair frame basically complete. You can see some of the decorative pegs in progress. They’re maple with walnut wedges. They’re all supposed to be clocked with the wedges parallel to the ground, but you can see I messed up one set and clocked them at some random angle. Not sure how that happened!
Here’s a shot with the seat slats laid out. They’ll be attached with smaller pegs to the front and back stretchers. I spent a little time today building a little jig to help get a consistent layout. You can also see the wings on the arm supports. Although it’s not apparent, they share the same arc with the back of the long legs.
I also practiced inlaying the compass rose.
It wasn’t a terrible effort, but I broke off some of the small corners trying to rout out the wood with my #71. (On the positive side, it gave me some practice on repairing!) I also used this to test how well Crystal-lac would fill larger gaps. It can be done, but I don’t like the look. I decided to rout out the inlays in the chair with my Dremel tool, and got a fairly nifty router base for it from Stewart-MacDonald.
I haven’t tried out yet, but the craftsmanship is excellent.