|Project by SchotterWoodworking||posted 06-16-2011 01:37 AM||2237 views||6 times favorited||4 comments|
My mom has wanted a set of outdoor chairs for a while now. After we came across a set of rustic styled sassafras benches in Brown County, Indiana her heart was set. At least I knew what to do for Mother’s day!
The legs, stretchers and arched backs are all made from mimosa tree limbs. The mimosa was “harvested” from my parent’s property where the mimosas grow rampant. I’ve never made chairs or log furniture before so this was a make-it-up-as-you-go kind of project. I used hand tools to strip the bark on the limbs, namely a chisel. For the joinery, I went for round mortise and tenon made with a series of forstner bits and fitted with a hand saw, chisels and a spoke shave. I clamped the chairs with those fancy Bessey strap clamps and some Titebond 3. Very groovy clamps by the way. The seats are nothing special, rough 5/4 cedar with one side hand planed and lightly sanded with a heavy easing to get rid of sharp corners.
The test-sit (see picture 4) was a bit uneasy. Like I said, I’ve never made a chair in my life. Nothing collapsed so I breathed a sigh of relief and proceeded with the arched backs which don’t actually support anything, the cedar board across the back does the hard work, the limbs are there for looks alone. I snapped a lot of those limbs. Mimosa is not a good wood to bend with unless it is very green. I mean fresh-cut, within the hour, green. They’re held on with a combination of 23g pins and 18g staples. I didn’t glue them because I know they will move. I just don’t know how much.
After everything dried out for a few weeks the chairs got finished with Minwax dark walnut stain on the mimosa parts and spar-urethane on everything. I think I made some happy hippies. I might have to make a set for my wife to make her happy too.