Feeling that a lot of uncertainties have been cleared away in my last post it is now time to take on the most challenging part of the project: shaping the back rest.
This is where tings are getting a bit complicated. Shapes in 3d is difficult to visualize and shaping takes a long time.
Having done a series of sketches i had a semi vague idea where i wanted to end:
In order to work fast i decided to start using mdf for the first tests. Shaping in a combination of freehand and using dividers to get the curves right. Cut out the resulting shapes with a jig saw:
Glued up and rough shaped wit a rasp this is what came out:
And seen from the top:
Hmm… A bit too wide, too low at the back and those “horns” are not quite right. Next attempt:
And from the top:
Definitely better! Bit still not quite sure about the “horns”. Are they too much? How about just a flat end?
And closer up:
A sharp chisel and a rasp makes super quick work of shaping that mdf. Those japanese saw-files are great and probably the best cost/quality ratio i have ever seen:
These tests have clearly showed some parts that works and some that dont. After some more thinking, more sketches, more coffe it was time to do a test in real wood. Sketching up the shape:
The stock of elm i have is 45 mm thick and that does put some limitations on the construction. Would have prefered to make the back part of only one piece of wood in order to avoid a joint in the middle. Well- not an option. Fiddled wit a suitable solution for a while and settled for a 4 part back jointed with finger joints. Gluing that shape together can be a challenge but found that the work bench vice was a great help:
The back shape is a perfect semi-circle and not having a shaper the TS will have to work. Made this simple jig and took about 3 mm thick cuts:
This left this surprisingly fine surface:
For the inside it is hand tools only:
The narrow parts are easily done with the frame saw:
And after almost 2 hours of chiseling, rasping, spokeshaving, card-scraping and sanding this is what emerged. Now we are talking! A lot better. Nicer curves and “tighter” shape overall. :
Here the whole process in steps:
Another rubberband test:
Was so pleased that i went ahead drilled mounting holes. The legs needed to be shortened a little and realized that the dowel-cutter could be used (same diameter):
And the finished product so far. Now we are talking! A lot better. Nicer curves and “thighter” shape overall. Really comfortable to sit on and those short horns give a nice rest to the elbows while not being in the way while eating/writing:
And from the side:
The finger joints are not super tight and i either need to get access to a real shaper or find another method for making them at the TS. Starting to realize why Wegners furniture makes so heavy use of shapers..:
Thats it for now. I got SO much closer in this step. Not quite there yet but i am starting to feel confident that this will end in some ok nice chairs. I’m a happy woodworker today!
I am still not absolutely sure on the shape and would love to hear you opinion: How about the general shape? Is the back rest too short? Should the chair be narrower at the back overall? Are there better suited (or better looking) joints for the back rest than finger joints? Could it perhaps be steam bent? Let me know what you think!
-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda