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A "Z" chair

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Project by rowdy posted 1489 days ago 6620 views 15 times favorited 30 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Years ago when I was getting started in woodworking I ran across an advertisement in a woodworking magazine for the Kehoe jig, which is used to make dovetail splines. In the ad was a photo of a “Z” chair that was constructed with this type of spline. My wife learned of my interest in the jig and later gave it to me for a birthday present. Since then I have used the jig many times, but, alas, I forgot about the Z chair. Then a few months ago while surfing the web I ran across the site: www.dovetailspline.com and there was a picture of the Z chair again! So I decided that now was the time to make one of them. It turns out that Larry Kehoe, the designer of the jig, had died in 2007 and the business was then taken over by Kevin and Terry Jaynes, the current owners of the dovetail spline business. So now the deed is done and I have completed a Z chair.

This project offered several challenges, not the least of which was controlling (with less than 100% success) tear out in the 3/4 inch “big orange box” birch/maple plywood that I used. The veneer is so thin that it tears like paper, as I am sure most LJs know. Cutting the acute angles required, figuring out how to clamp sharply angled pieces together while glue dried, and so on made this a learning experience. The first picture shows the completed chair (finished with a home brewed wiping varnish), the second picture shows another view of the chair before it was finished, the third picture shows some detail of the splines, and last picture shows some old 170 lb guy sitting on the chair to show its strength. The strength, of course, derives from the splines.

Finally, I must acknowledge the assistance and advice I received from Kevin and Terry. They could not have been more helpful. They are GREAT folks and no one could have offered more encouragement. They are the most customer oriented merchants I have ever known. I recommend them and their product heartily.

-- Rowdy in Kechi, Kansas





30 comments so far

View gjd's profile

gjd

18326 posts in 2251 days


#1 posted 1489 days ago

Rowdy:
That is an interesting piece. I’m glad you posted the 3rd pic, it took me by surprise. I don’t know what I was thinking but I wasn’t thinking it would be assembled like that. Good work and thanks for posting.

-- gjd Southcentral Wisconsin

View dakremer's profile

dakremer

2448 posts in 1690 days


#2 posted 1489 days ago

do splines really make things THAT strong? It doesnt seem like that would hold up to the weight!! Awesome chair though – I want to try something like this!

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2247 days


#3 posted 1489 days ago

very cool chair! I would not have guessed that those were splines without seeing it in person, or – seeing the 3rd pic :)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View OttoH's profile

OttoH

857 posts in 1609 days


#4 posted 1489 days ago

Dang Rowdy, that is a great chair. Now I have yet another project to my never ending list of things I want to build.

-- I am responsible for how I respond to everything in my life - - Deadwood SD

View NewPickeringWdWrkr's profile

NewPickeringWdWrkr

338 posts in 1612 days


#5 posted 1489 days ago

Awesome, I could see myself trying that. But then the mental picture of Mel Gibson in ‘The Patriot’ trying to build the spindle rocker comes to mind with my face instead! lol

Nicely done

-- Mike - Antero's Urban Wood Designs http://anterosurbanwooddesigns.com

View WoodyWoodWrecker's profile

WoodyWoodWrecker

171 posts in 1850 days


#6 posted 1489 days ago

I love the looks of the chair but I don’t think I would trust it. Of course, I am about a hundred pounds heavier than you. I like it but I would want to put supports in the angles.

-- You always have tomorrow to stop procrastinating.

View tyskkvinna's profile

tyskkvinna

1308 posts in 1585 days


#7 posted 1489 days ago

This is so cool! I have to echo the others – I was not expecting quite that.. thank you for posting the spline-in-progress picture. Amazing that it can actually hold a person… lots of math involved in how that works!!

Yours looks great. I love, love, loooooooooove plywood furniture and this is another example why.

-- Lis - Michigan - http://www.missmooseart.com - https://www.etsy.com/people/lisbokt

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 2505 days


#8 posted 1489 days ago

Yea, now I want to make a Z chair. Nice job. I have and use the Kehoe jig often, just used it last week on a box.

-- http://nelsonwoodworks.biz/

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112000 posts in 2176 days


#9 posted 1489 days ago

Cool chair nice work.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View bfd's profile

bfd

502 posts in 2406 days


#10 posted 1489 days ago

There is actually an older “original of this chair” which I am assuming was Larry Kehoe’s inspiration.

The original Zig Zag chair is a modernist classic done in 1934 by Gerrit Reitveld and is in the NY Museum of Modern Art.

Photobucket

What I like about your version is the dovetail spline eliminates the need for the wedge.

View ianlee74's profile

ianlee74

151 posts in 1547 days


#11 posted 1489 days ago

That is amazing. I would have never guessed plywood at that kind of angle could support that much weight. Now I’d really like to know what the weight limit is. I haven’t weighed 175# since high school. If it didn’t look like so much work, I’d be tempted to build one just to find out. Have Kevin & Terry tested the breaking point of the Z chair?

-- Ian, Tennessee

View LittlePaw's profile

LittlePaw

1571 posts in 1677 days


#12 posted 1489 days ago

Wow, I didn’t think it would hold much weight, but after seeing your siting pic, I am a believer! Nicely done!

-- LittlePAW - The sweetest sound in my shop, next to Mozart, is what a hand plane makes slicing a ribbon.

View degoose's profile

degoose

6974 posts in 1954 days


#13 posted 1489 days ago

I have this jig and must try the chair…

-- Drink twice... and don't bother to cut... @ lazylarrywoodworks.com.au For lovers of all things timber...

View 4thumbs's profile

4thumbs

153 posts in 1745 days


#14 posted 1489 days ago

Amazing engineering – just the thing for those guests you’d like to get rid of quickly…’here, have a seat in this chair’... almost guaranteed to keep their visit short! Looks like it was a real challenging build, so congrats!

-- 4thumbs in MO

View SPalm's profile

SPalm

4754 posts in 2481 days


#15 posted 1489 days ago

I am just dumb struck. That is fantastic. Who would’a thought?

Steve

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

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