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Project by KnickKnack posted 387 days ago 1766 views 10 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I originally had the idea of the “impossible chain” – a chain hanging from a beam which it itself supports – about a year ago, but, until I’d managed to come up with a way of making decent thin strips of wood, I couldn’t really go anywhere with it.
Having got the drill press (thanks to whoever it was on here that said I should get one, even though I thought I didn’t need one – edit – it was, of course, vipond33 , to whom – gratitude), I can now “manufacture” fairly evenly thicknessed thin strips of wood.
Anyway – my previous effort was but a dress rehearsal for this chappie – a chain-based ”two cups of coffee and a packet of biscuits, please”.
I’ve spent a long time looking at it, and, frankly, I’m a bit disappointed – It’s OK, and it works, and it’s pretty well (although not perfectly by a long chalk) made – but it doesn’t really look like a chain hanging freely from a beam that it itself is supporting – I haven’t yet worked out quite why – and that was the aimpoint.
Still, should you be interested, this is how it came about…

My last chain was done by making a block with rounded sides, which I then sliced into links which were then thicknessed. I decided to take a different approach here, since the thicknessing was a dusty hassle, in that first I thicknessed strips, onto which I then put the end shape.

(You can see in this last picture the specially imported chinese bamboo dowels I’m going to use – since they were 3.2mm wide, but variable, it needed to be a special order)
or, of you don’t believe that, as well you might not…
(You can see in this last picture the bamboo barbecue sticks I’m going to use for dowels – I had occasion to use one a while back and was impressed with the speckled pattern)

Of course, this method presented some challenges…
I drilled the dowel holes in all the strips, and held them together for the round over bit…

Chop into links, drill holes, and repeat…

And we have a bit of chain…

(these are cocktail sticks – about half a millimetre slimmer, so loose in the holes)

For the base I’m going to use a bit of this scruffy old goodess-knows-what I found 3 years ago in the bins at the DIY store.

It’s a bout 6 mill thick, so I mount it on a bit of plywood and spend many happy hours trying to get it smooth.

Some oak for the cross pieces…

Now I have to do a through tenon thing. This will involve chiselling, so I spend 3 days trying to work out how I might avoid that, but fail, so I resign myself to it…

Now the fun begins.
How to make the chains the shape I want?
After some pondering, and more pondering, I came up with this…

...nails in a bit of flooring mdf in the right places.
And…

...it works! Or at least it works before glue is added.
I cut some strips so I can clamp the links together once they’re in the right place. The cocktail sticks are just to keep things together, as soon as it’s clamped I’m going to remove them.
Note also that the whole chain isn’t glued – the links at each end can, and will be, removed.

First I attach 2 sets of 3 to the handle, using the bottom for positioning.

I’ve already glued the first links to the base (of which I forgot to take a picture)
Then glue it all together in 2 passes.
First at the bottom…

Then at the top…

————————————————————————————————-

I think I’m done with chains for now :-)

Fumed oak and ash and unknown wood.
Linseed oil on all but the base, which was polished up from Danish Oil.

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."





14 comments so far

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3628 posts in 1969 days


#1 posted 387 days ago

That was a detailed description of te chain making process however I think I would have stayed with slicing off links from rounded over stock.

I did a similar process making false tenons only 3/16” think. The reason I did it that way was that I wanted to chamfer the exposed face and a piece 3/4” x 1-1/2” x 3/16” was just to small to even think about getting near a router. I sized my stock, rounded over the four edges,chamfered the four to be exposed edges, and sliced to thickness. I had to make 32 of these!

However, your results belie your process, everything worked out, and you have a beautiful project.

By the way, check out Woodworking for Mere Mortals as Steve has a beautiful process for making links.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View mariva57's profile

mariva57

421 posts in 606 days


#2 posted 387 days ago

Original project compliments.

-- The common man thinks. The wise man is silent. The stupid man discusses.

View Hawaiilad's profile

Hawaiilad

1874 posts in 1623 days


#3 posted 387 days ago

I like the idea and the tray. I would love to see the super sized chain holding up a beam

-- Larry in sunny and warm Hawaii,

View captferd's profile

captferd

130 posts in 995 days


#4 posted 386 days ago

good job

-- CaptFerd

View MasterSergeant's profile

MasterSergeant

1278 posts in 1290 days


#5 posted 386 days ago

Very interesting,thank you for sharing with us.

-- Kelly, woodworker under construction

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

13313 posts in 940 days


#6 posted 386 days ago

Very cool

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

15431 posts in 1468 days


#7 posted 386 days ago

That’s a good idea and it makes a great project. Your blog about it was interesting.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Roger's profile

Roger

14154 posts in 1406 days


#8 posted 386 days ago

Wow! Very kool. Heck-of-a how-to also.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Kentuk55@bellsouth.net

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7622 posts in 2654 days


#9 posted 386 days ago

Super COOL…

Out of the BOX design…

Great.

Thank you!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

4752 posts in 1444 days


#10 posted 386 days ago

Innovative, creative and instructions to boot! Nice Job. Looks like you are a very patient craftsman and artisan.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View aussiedave's profile

aussiedave

3014 posts in 426 days


#11 posted 386 days ago

Very cool little project…the wood chain links are great…nice work.

-- Dave.......Keep calm and make more sawdust....

View CFrye's profile

CFrye

2552 posts in 442 days


#12 posted 386 days ago

That turned out really well! Thanks for the detailed instructions. One thought I had … if the tray is hanging from the beam by the chain then the chain would be taut (without slack) and an undersized piece on the bottom of the tray to give the illusion of floating (OK that’s two thoughts). Anyway, thanks for sharing!

-- God bless, Candy

View Jeffery Mullen's profile

Jeffery Mullen

319 posts in 1420 days


#13 posted 386 days ago

I like how your project turned out.

View vanzemaljac's profile

vanzemaljac

265 posts in 2103 days


#14 posted 343 days ago

good idea, nice design, well done …

-- Lathe and my imagination will do everything to realize my dreams...Vanzemaljac

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