Using a Router and Hand Tools to Shape a Seat.

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Blog entry by davemoorefurniture posted 01-10-2018 04:51 PM 484 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve used routers many times to do the bulk removal of wood when shaping a solid seat. But, I’ve never done it totally freehand like I do in this video. In the past I’ve made large patterns that a router-on-sled would follow with a collar. Each subsequent pattern requires a different depth of cut and what you end up with is something that reminds me of the tiers of a quarry that undulate along the natural path of the topography, concentrically. It really makes you feel like a human CNC machine. Then, using hand tools, the squared tiers left by the router are scooped out and blended in a systematic fashion.

Because I was making only one of these benches, I decided to forgo the time and trouble of making a series of patterns that would guide the router. Instead I thought more about the order of cuts and how I could make cuts without also removing the surface the router needs to ride on. With large 1” diameter straight cutting bit that was short and sharp, I had no problem with the router getting away from me. I laid out the lines based on my drawing, and began cutting.

Once the routing was complete, the scorp came in most handy. My dad had taken some classes at Mike Dunbar’s school around the year 2000 and came back with detailed pictures and notes of how Dunbar trains students in shaping seats. Although I’ve never studied with Dunbar, there are probably some similarities in technique, but also major differences, hence, the router. The compass plane was used to slope the seat towards the back where the deepest router cut had been made. The spokeshave helped smooth out the rough compass plane and keep me on track to a flat, sloped, surface that blends smoothly into the deep pocket in the rear.

Watch the video and see for yourself!


3 comments so far

View EarlS's profile


808 posts in 2279 days

#1 posted 01-10-2018 06:19 PM

I was considering making a contoured seat for the A&C chairs I’m working on but after looking at my options to build a jig for the router, or to build a jig to use on the table saw, I decided to go with the original design and upholster the seats.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View BenjaminNY's profile


128 posts in 1333 days

#2 posted 01-12-2018 11:14 AM

The bench is gorgeous.

View cabmaker's profile


1706 posts in 2739 days

#3 posted 01-12-2018 01:21 PM

Well done !

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