The Italian 16th century Sgabello had a flat seat. They were used as hallway chairs. If the patron of the house wanted you to stay you were invited in. If not, they didn’t want you to get too comfortable and stay too long.
For my version of the Sgabello I decided to go with a classic Italian mid-century modern look . My seat would have some curves to it.
The olivewood seat is made from two pieces about 9 inches wide and 18 inches long. The boards were about 1.75 inches thick.
The two pieces had some twist to them so I flattened them with a hand plane and jointed the other edge square. I drilled ½ dowels into each half primarily to ensure alignment when gluing up.
Each half was cut to final width (8.5 inches).
The olive wood gives off a very nice olive scent when it is being worked.
Prior to shaping, I cut the seat portion of the Maloof joint.
I also located and drilled the two angled holes for the front legs. Using a tapered reamer I shaped the holes to fit the tapered tenons on the front legs.
I had a general idea of the shape of the seat I was looking for and marked it on the blank with a sharpie. I drilled some depth holes: ¾” at the back, ½ “ in the centre and about ¼” in the front. I wanted to leave enough meat on the seat and also did not want to grind into the dowels (been there done that!)
The seat was shaped used a grinder and kutzall carving disc wheel followed by 40 grit grinding disk then my random orbital sander. Beyond the general shape outlined by the Sharpie the shaping was done by eye and feel. I was looking for pleasing (to my eye) shape.
I was really pleased with the figure of the olive wood. It really popped when I rubbed the seat with some paint thinner. I’m looking forward to putting a finish on it.
-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario