Pain in the butt question!

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Forum topic by Bart70 posted 04-16-2010 04:51 AM 2844 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 3163 days

04-16-2010 04:51 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I would like to build some simple chairs, I would like to have the “butt” indentation that most wooden chairs have but I have no idea how it’s done. I have searched the net but can’t even think of key words to use in the search. Any help would be appreciated. Also I would like a method that is consistently repeatable so all the chairs are the same. Thanks.

-- Got Wood?

11 replies so far

View kennyd's profile


103 posts in 3143 days

#1 posted 04-16-2010 05:04 AM

Hi Bart,

I googled ” wood chair seat profile” and found this link to

You may have to sign up for a 14 day free trial to view this article but the answer you want is there.

How to shape a wood seat

I hope this helps,

-- Kenny... The man who needs a tool he doesn't have is already paying for it.

View Bart70's profile


3 posts in 3163 days

#2 posted 04-16-2010 05:06 AM

I’ll check it out, thanks Kenny.

-- Got Wood?

View widdle's profile


2069 posts in 3142 days

#3 posted 04-16-2010 05:28 AM

That would be a magic template to find..Let us know ..

View tomd's profile


2167 posts in 3914 days

#4 posted 04-16-2010 05:51 AM

If your near a major libary, Micheal Dunbar’s book on ” Winsor Chairs ” has a full chapter on making chair seats.

-- Tom D

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Michael Murphy

453 posts in 3149 days

#5 posted 04-16-2010 06:32 AM

I like to make a mock up out of mdf, pine, poplar, something cheap. Sit in it for a while. Angle grinders make short work out of sculpted seats like that. Reproducing them X 6 may be the problem. Lots of practice.

-- Michael Murphy, Woodland, CA.

View ShannonRogers's profile


540 posts in 3931 days

#6 posted 04-16-2010 04:10 PM

Repeatable is the crux here. I have always done it the hand tool way with a combination of an adze, gouge, and travisher. This works quickly and creates a great finish. It is repeatable by using a template to define the outer edges and a depth gauge to establish the maximum depression then you blend the curve. I suppose the same could be done with a series of router bits and a wide trammel base plate but I don’t think you could get the same organic curve without changing out bits many times and a lot of sanding to blend the curve.

-- The Hand Tool School is Open for Business! Check out my blog and podcast "The Renaissance Woodworker" at

View gbvinc's profile


628 posts in 4090 days

#7 posted 04-16-2010 04:29 PM

View chrisstef's profile


17674 posts in 3150 days

#8 posted 04-16-2010 04:33 PM

Here’s a link to a youtube video ..

He uses a grinder and a spoon shave i think.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View tblank's profile


61 posts in 3113 days

#9 posted 04-16-2010 10:12 PM

When I have several chairs (or two) that have to match, I draw the outline and make a series of concentric lines 1” apart. Then from actual center of seat, draw lines radially (about eight, give or take) and then chuck a 1/2” bit into the drill and set the depth at all intersecting points. I just use a stop collar for the varying depths. From there it’s a matter of grinding away to blend the bottoms. Keep in mind the ridge line in the center. The depths can be worked out ahead of time from a pattern.

View childress's profile


841 posts in 3685 days

#10 posted 04-17-2010 06:51 AM

How about a router and a pendulum jig. Or if you need the two leg indents also, you can just build two different jigs for the different profile curves. Can’t remember where I saw it, but I’m sure it was on here somewhere…

-- Childress Woodworks

View CharlesNeil's profile


2436 posts in 4014 days

#11 posted 04-18-2010 12:00 AM


the chain saw products are quite agressive , I suggest use the grinders , as well you can find the 4” disc sanders ( like a flap sander), at the local hardware they are used for smoothing welding, the dado thing , is all too fast and slick just be careful

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