This is a wrap-up posting to talk about some of the lessons I learned in making the chair. I like to retrospect a little at the finish of a project to understand what worked, what didn’t work, and how to apply those lessons to my craft. This was the first time I’d done a project with steam-bending. For the most part that worked out fine. The actual process of steam-bending is not as daunting as it first seems. There were some challenges in building the forms—they need...
It’s been hard to get any long stretches in the workshop lately, but when I look back I’ve actually accomplished quite a bit. After bending the arms for the chair, the next step was to inlay the compass roses. (In retrospect, I might have been better off fitting the arms to the chair and then inlaying the roses rather than the other order.) I marked a reference point on each arm and then taped down the stars to keep them from moving and carefully marked them onto the arm. ...
Redryder asked about the steam-bending process. I’ve covered that a little bit earlier in the series, but I bent the arms (well, one so far) today, so I took some photos along the way. Here’s the basic set-up. The box is made out of plywood, dado-ed, glued together and caulked on the seams. It has held up fairly well but is starting to come apart in some places and I’ve had to reinforce it. The steamer is the standard Rockler kit. The kit comes with the brass fit...
Making one of the back supports. The back gets deeper as it goes up, and I cut dadoes to capture the back slats and help even up the spacing. After the steam-bending, the slats are not entirely straight side-to-side. The flat side of this support gets shaped to a curve after it is dadoed and the peg holes are drilled. The back slats attached to their supports. The bottom (far) support is heftier; it attaches to the legs with a single peg on each side so that it can pivot. This...
Seats slats have been attached with maple pegs, and everything dyed and given a coat of linseed oil. Compass stars from layout to inlay.
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 shape...
Made some good progress on the chair this weekend despite the usual competition for my time and attention. One task was to make the front leg supports and join them with the long runners. In a typical Adirondack chair these are just screwed together (and that’s how I made the practice chair) but I decided to do a half-lap joint which I’ll eventually decorate with some pegs. The layout of this isn’t straightforward, since the long runners are at about a 20 degree angle to ...
Left work a little early today to go by Vienna Hardwoods (that’s Virginia, not Austria) to pick up some African Mahogany for the Adirondack chair. I’d considered some other wood sources in the area (particularly Exotic Hardwoods over in Maryland) but Vienna Hardwoods had the best prices that I found and on an earlier scouting trip I’d seen plenty of acceptable boards. If nothing else, Vienna Hardwoods is an adventure—a small warehouse space jammed with a jumble of ...
My father-in-law has been a long-time builder of Adirondack chairs. He’s retiring this year, so I decided to build him a custom Adirondack chair for his retirement. I looked around a bit for inspiration, and really liked this chair by Michael Brown: The lines are nice, and I like the idea of the bentwood slats for the back and seat, to be more comfortable than the traditional Adirondack design. I posted a question about it on one of the forums, and Andrew Kopac of 24HourDesign...
Building the NYWS chair. Using Cypress from Crossroads Sawmill in Land of Lakes, Florida. Planed it down today and letting it dry some. I picked it up yesterday in the rain, but what a better way to waste an afternoon right? I’ll post pictures as the project comes along.
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