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Rocking Chair Build - Due Oct 5 #6: Shaping the Back Braces

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Blog entry by Marshall posted 11-22-2015 09:18 PM 860 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: Cutting and Shaping the Front Legs Part 6 of Rocking Chair Build - Due Oct 5 series Part 7: Shaping the Arms »

The back braces were made by cutting thin strips, “lams,” and then laminating them together on a form. Each back brace consists of four lams. The top and bottom lams are Walnut, the same as the rest of the chair. The middle two lams are quarter sawn ash which gives them strength and flexibility.

The lams are just shy of 1/8” thick and were cut on the table saw. This operation is generally not something I’d consider doing on the table saw—as its pretty much a universal no-no to cut thin strips like this on a table saw. But, in his book and plan, Hal assures us that he does it all the time. Per his advice, I also made a dedicated push stick that is sized specifically for this operation. The photo below shows me cutting the ash strips:

This is the result of an awful lot of ripping:

The lams were glued up on the form eight at a time (two braces at once):

Once glued, the edges were cleaned up on the jointer and then a short adder piece was added to the bottom to thicken them up by another 1/8”.

Then it was time to cut the tenons on the bottom where they insert into the holes in the seat:

This shows me fitting the braces into the chair. I mark the headrest position on the tops of the braces before cutting the top tenons. Yes, there is a lot of progress on the chair shown in this photo that hasnt been covered by the blog yet. But I wanted to show the fitting of the back braces.

Ok, the next photo shows the completed back braces—sanded to 1000 grit. I presume you notice that they dont look like the same wood in the previous photos. Thats because I made a mistake when cutting the top tenons of the original braces. They were cut too narrow so they didnt fit snugly into the headrest. So, I had to remake the full set unfortunately. On the plus side, I really like the grain of these new ones :)

-- Marshall - http://mcomisar.tumblr.com



4 comments so far

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MJCD

483 posts in 1831 days


#1 posted 11-22-2015 11:44 PM

Marshall:

I find this all very interesting… especially, as I’m a member of Hal’s Forum…

Just to let you know, and the other readers, as well – before they start copying you …

Hal does this particular procedure because he’s done it a thousand times – literally, not because it’s generally ‘safe’ (he goes over-board to highlight the need for safety in this procedure); nor because it’s the only way to do it – I’m sure that when you did your research, you discovered that Greg Paolini does it differently, as does “the Canadianwoodworker”; as does Charles Neil; and that Hal has an alternative method in his book.

By the way, your Back Braces are out of order.
You Take Care.

-- Lead By Example; Make a Difference

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Marshall

151 posts in 1515 days


#2 posted 11-23-2015 12:14 AM

Hey there. Good advice.

This is certainly a higher risk operation on the saw, which is why Hal discusses it for multiple pages in his book. He also points out that it can be done on the bandsaw and states that it would be safer to do so. Since I dont have a drum sander to prep the surfaces after bandsawing, I decided to use the table saw.

I’m always careful when using the table saw, so to say “extra careful” seems somewhat redundant. But in this operation I followed all of Hal’s advice. I made certain that I was out of the path of any kickback, and made sure that the push stick was flush against the fence at all times. I didnt have any issues. That said, if and when I get a drum sander, I might use the bandsaw method.

For those of you who have commented that they’ve been wanting to make one of these chairs. I’ll just give Hal a plug. Search for Hal Taylor on google and use his plans. They’re super thorough and he has a yahoo forum where he’ll give personal advice and answer questions. I couldnt have done it without him (and the rest of the forum members).

Also, thanks for the heads up on the order of the braces. The chair is already finished and I managed to get them in the right order :)

-- Marshall - http://mcomisar.tumblr.com

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MJCD

483 posts in 1831 days


#3 posted 11-23-2015 06:47 PM

Marshall:

First, My Apologies.

Personally, I consider the ‘ripping-of-lams’ practice to be advanced woodworking – one that I have not mastered – I’ve dented a few of my body parts, and I over-reacted to it, here.

So, again, my apologies.

Paolini rips the ‘good’ piece to the left of the blade, on the other side of the fence – so, it’s not constrained; and many others use the bandsaw, and sand the lam smooth.

I’m glad to see another successful woodworker take Hal’s concepts forward.

-- Lead By Example; Make a Difference

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Marshall

151 posts in 1515 days


#4 posted 11-24-2015 12:28 AM

No reason to apologize. Safety concerns should always be pointed out

-- Marshall - http://mcomisar.tumblr.com

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