Adirondack Chair & Table #2: I Love the Smell of Mahogany in the Morning

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Blog entry by jcontract posted 12-28-2009 04:36 AM 2775 reads 1 time favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Intro and Preparing the Back Slats Part 2 of Adirondack Chair & Table series Part 3: Not So Fast »

After receiving about 20 inches of snow last week, this weekend brought heavy rain and warmer temperatures to the NY metro area. And there was enough rain to wash almost every trace of snow away. Today, I took the trip down to my friend John’s to get some more work done on the chair. John has the Jointer, the Surface Planer, and the Table Saw that I am sorely missing in my lame excuse for a shop. But, it’s a great excuse to get together and have some dedicated shop time.

We had a big day planned. A lot of Jointing, planing, ripping and cross-cutting would fill the air with the sweet smell of Mahogany. And the 50+ degree temps made for a very enjoyable day.

First, we flipped on the Jointer, and jointed one edge of the rough boards. This would give a good edge to rip the boards to width on the table saw later.

Then, off to the surface planer to get the stock down to 1” and 3/4”. John’s Ridgid surface planer is excellent and up to the task. I hope to purchase one by the end of the year.

With the 2 of us, we were able to quickly crank through the planing. One feeding and the other catching. Here is some of the stack.

Once the boards were planed to thickness, we moved to the tablesaw to rip the boards to width. Again, what an advantage having 2 people. One feeding and one catching at the other end. It goes very quickly.

Next comes the fun part. We get to use the hardboard templates that we made while building a chair last year. Here we are laying out the arms.

Then it was off to the bandsaw to rough cut the curved components of the chair. We cut these components to rough size and then will come back later with a templating bit to make the exact final shapes.

I had to throw in a picture of John. The arm that he cut was a lot better than mine. He’s been at it longer than I have, but perhaps I’ll get as good as he is some day.

Here are the arms after cutting on the bandsaw. This time, we saved cutoffs (show on top of each arm) from each of the arms so that when we plug the holes, we’ll hopefully get a pretty good match. Especially since the grain on these arms is so wavy.

The upper rear cross support is the trickiest cut on this chair. It requires a curved cut that also has a 30 degree bevel, as you can see here.

No matter how careful you cut this curve on the bandsaw, there are little humps and bumps along the entire surface of the curve. Now, when Norm does it on the video, he’s got a souped up drum sander to smooth out the curve. We’re not so lucky. The last time we attempted this with an orbital sander. I remember it took a while to get it right. This time, John suggested we try a spokeshave.

It worked very well. It was the first time I’d ever used one. What a great little tool.

Very little sanding will be required in the final assembly thanks to this. I’ve gotta pick up one of these.

Another compound curve required for this chair is the lower back support, which requires a 6 degree bevel angle. This cut is a challenge because the waste side isn’t waste at all. It actually forms the rear-most seat slat, so there’s no room for error.

Here, I’m using the template to lay out the cut.

And here is the result…not too bad.

A few passes with the spokeshave, and it’s off to assembly next time.

1 comment so far

View jtash's profile


30 posts in 3135 days

#1 posted 12-28-2009 07:14 PM

Great second installment to the first. I am looking forward to seeing the end results.

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