A little over a year ago, I started this project with the intention of it being my in-laws Christmas gift. I was slightly overly optimistic on the time it would take me to complete it… The sad thing is I’m still only about 50% complete on it, with lots of little life issues getting in the way. In the 13+ months since I’ve started, I have probably only put 100 hours into it, if that. It is starting to come together though, so I thought I’d start posting some updates in the hopes that it helps motivate me when I’m dragging my heels or agonizing over some detail.
I bought this plan from Woodcraft, and decided to do it in white oak instead of the cedar they use. I wasn’t really finding any good sources for clear cedar around me at the time, but there are always lots of sources selling white oak on Craigslist around my area for anywhere from $1-2/bf. The initial boards I bought had been stashed away in a guys barn for 3+ years, so they were a bit weathered and warped, but over 1” thick so I knew I could mill them down to the required 3/4” easily.
Finding 6/4 was another issue, and for some of the initial pieces I laminated two boards together. I got sick of doing that pretty quickly, so for the seat frame I broke down and bought some 8/4 (at over $5/bf from the local lumber yard) to mill down. The base and the arm rests are made up of these laminated boards, but I took a lot of time and care matching up the grain and rays in the oak so that you really can’t see the glue line unless you’re looking for it. Plus you hardly see the base at all unless you get on your hands and knees, so you’d never see them anyway.
So here’s where I am as of tonight:
I just got done cleaning all the mill marks from the jointer/planer/tablesaw off the seat slats, and put the 1/4” round-over on all the top edges.
Here’s a closeup of some of the joints on the seat frame (front corner, then back corner), which I’m really pleased with:
And here’s one of the end assemblies (the armrest goes on top of this):
The vertical piece in the front is one of the laminated 6/4’s I mentioned above, and you cannot see the glue line at all (it’s essentially where the lap joint is).
I have very much enjoyed working with white oak on this project. It has not been nearly as bad as I thought it would be, though I did learn early on be very careful about splintering the edges. I have used some super glue and painters tape to reattach more than one chunk I accidently took out when not being careful with my hand planes.
I have pretty much every piece I need at least rough-milled, so once I attach all these seat slats the next step is to assemble the seat back and attach it to the seat frame. That’ll take some time, as I still have to cleanup all of the back slats and cut one more piece that will be the back brace (there are essentially 3 back braces, made up of 5 pieces of wood – one at the bottom, one near the top, and one in the middle that attaches to the armrests).
Despite the fact that it is taking me forever to complete, I have enjoyed this project, but I will be very happy when it’s done. I just hope the outdoor oil I bought a year ago is still good :-/
-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"