|Project by woodsyman||posted 06-27-2013 07:43 PM||1518 views||3 times favorited||7 comments|
My curiosity paved the way for this project. I started reading and studying windsor chair building techniques found throughout the internet year ago or so. As I learned more, I realized that the techniques and principles used in the style of windsor chair building are simple and elegant, which make these chairs beautiful, strong, and long-lasting, all traits that I seek in my work. That doesn’t mean that building a stool like this came easy. The list of things I had to learn from scratch were plentiful on this project. Production turning on the legs was new to me. I’d turned bowls and other round objects in the past but no furniture legs. I learned to complete excellent bevel riding cuts with the skew and gouge, to the point that no sanding was required. The legs are joined together to the seat and stretchers to the legs by means of tapered mortise and tenons with wedges driven to hold. The through side of these joints was relieved to allow for expansion when the wedge was driven, also creating a lock, hence no glue required. Tapered tenons are fairly easy to complete using some measurements on the lathe. But the tapered holes that the tenons mate up with are not an easy task to complete. For one, you have to get your hands on a tapered reamer. I did not have one. So I chose to build one using one of the designs found online, I believe Peter Galbert had a good bit of information on his blog (http://www.chairtools.blogspot.com/) also, John Alexander’s green woodworking site (http://www.greenwoodworking.com/SawSteelTaperedReamerPlans) on how to create on of these. Building a tool is an exercise I enjoy and one which builds your skills as a woodworker as well, so I did not hesitate at the opportunity to push my limits. Everything went well on the first attempt and I was reaming tapered holes in no time. Boring the proper angled holes in the legs and seat was one of the more challenging tasks on this project. Getting the holes out of alignment is a sure recipe for disaster. Extra care was given to the holes.
I glued up the seat from a couple of cedar 2×8’s I had laying around. This stool was intended not only as a learning experience but as a shop stool, so I wasn’t too worried about having the nicest materials on it (I know, I know next time it will be maple). I don’t have all of the carving tools required to complete the seat by hand. So I resorted to my angle grinder and sanding head to complete the final shaping of the seat. Eventually, when I have to build 5 barstools for the house I’ll change materials and I’ll try to have purchased all the proper seat shaping tools ie; adze, scorp, travishers, etc.
After the seat was carved and the legs/stretchers were nicely fit, it was time to add the reversed taper at the short end of the tapered holes to allow room for expansion after the wedges were driven. Care was given to orienting the slot for the wedge in their tenons as well as how the wedge was driven according to the grain of the mortised piece. Complete this task out of balance with the grain and you would be liable to split your seat at the tapered holes. I’ve yet to apply a finish to this project, not sure I really want to. If any finish is applied it will probably just be a simple coat of boiled linseed oil to match my workbench.
All in all, this was very engaging project to take on with no other chair building experience to fall back on. I hope to make a lot more pieces using these techniques in the future. Mechanically speaking, this is one of the strongest constructions I’ve ever built. Thanks.
-- Peace be with you!