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Will this chair hold up? Mike Abbott style greenwood chair.

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Forum topic by Jeremymcon posted 05-15-2018 04:00 PM 1070 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jeremymcon

289 posts in 825 days


05-15-2018 04:00 PM

So, a while back I browsed through a book by Mike Abbott about making a chair from green wood. I had a less than optimal white oak log given to me – slightly twisted, so it was tricky to work, and also shorter than I needed for the full size chair.

I roughed out all my parts, and they’ve been drying in my shop for a little while. I never really went back to the book before beginning to assemble the chair, and after assembling the sides, I realized that most chairs have 3 rungs per side, when my chair only has 2. See the picture (haven’t attached the sides together yet – that’s just a dummy dowel to get a sense of what the chair will look like).

The joints fit really tight like the book recommended – tenons were about 1mm oversized for the mortises and made oval shaped to keep from splitting the chair.

I intend to use the chair at my fly tying desk,with occasional use as an extra kitchen chair when we have company.

Any opinions on whether this chair will hold up for me? Has anyone ever seen a post and rung with only two rungs per side? How’d it fare?

I think one thing about the design that will work in my favor is that it is a low backed chair. Mike Abbott’s design would have been nearly a foot taller in the back. Shorter back = less leverage when I lean back, right?

Maybe I’ll sit on it with a spare piece of wood as a seat for a while before wasting $15 of shaker tape making the seat… The wood itself was free.


11 replies so far

View Loren's profile

Loren

10477 posts in 3793 days


#1 posted 05-15-2018 04:39 PM

From what I understand about chairs in general
I’m pessimistic. I think it will rack when you
lean back.

A third rung can be added by cutting it in half
at a sharp angle which is then glued back
together after the ends are inserted.

View caboxmaker's profile

caboxmaker

281 posts in 533 days


#2 posted 05-15-2018 05:44 PM

It’ll hold up… until you sit down.

View Jeremymcon's profile

Jeremymcon

289 posts in 825 days


#3 posted 05-15-2018 05:49 PM

Hmm… Maybe this will become a shop stool instead of a chair. Mike abbot has stools in his book with this 2-rung configuration. Not chairs, though. They all have 3.

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jdh122

1039 posts in 2962 days


#4 posted 05-15-2018 05:55 PM

For next time, you might want to consider only putting two rungs on the front (but three on the other three sides), leaving room for you to fold your legs underneath. I doubt it weakens the chair that much, as most of the racking resistance is needed on the sides.
But this will make a good stool.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

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Jeremymcon

289 posts in 825 days


#5 posted 05-15-2018 06:11 PM

Hmm… I’ll think about adding a rung that’s been cut in half and sort of scarf jointed back together. Not sure if I’d actually be able to make that work, unless I made then tenon fit pretty loose – the oversized tenons that are supposed to be critical to making these chairs stay together take a lot of force to drive in. Mallet or pipe clamps are required. An angled end would give me no way to do that.

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Jeremymcon

289 posts in 825 days


#6 posted 05-19-2018 02:31 AM

It feels surprisingly rigid, actually. I’ve been putting my weight on the sides diagonally. I’m going to go ahead and assemble the chair.

I was thinking though – if I make additional rungs, I could do a 3/4 through hole in the back legs, then a 5/8 stopped hole in the front. Then make rungs that will fit the whole way through the 3/4” hole, and wedge the through tenon… Maybe… Not sure how I messed this detail. Lol.

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

1368 posts in 307 days


#7 posted 05-19-2018 12:00 PM

you always have to plan for the unexpected when it comes to furniture

.

.

-- I started out with nothing in life ~ and still have most of it left.

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Jeremymcon

289 posts in 825 days


#8 posted 05-19-2018 05:17 PM

Lol. I think you’re right John! I knocked the chair together this morning, and it also came out a little twisted. Tried un-twisting it, but the joints wouldn’t budge. Maybe made them a little too tight. I think I’ll try adding a rung like I was describing. It feels stable to all 165lb of me sitting on it, even when I tip the chair back onto the back legs. But I video taped it, and can see it flexing a bit. There are people who may potentially sit on it that have another 80-90 lbs on me.

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Loren

10477 posts in 3793 days


#9 posted 05-19-2018 05:27 PM

In my experience I’ve had to build something
similar several times before I really get it
figured out.

I had a check list the first couple of times I
built a guitar that helped make sure everything
that had to be done before the next major
stage was done.

I learn a lot from going back and fixing mistakes.
I resent the time it takes but the learning is
invaluable.

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John Smith

1368 posts in 307 days


#10 posted 05-19-2018 06:11 PM

Jeremy – my 22 year old grandson is 325 pounds of pure beef.
he does not think twice about flopping his fat hiney down on anything.
[he still owes me for two camping chairs].

you never know who your company will be – so plan accordingly.
plus – there is the safety issue to consider. what if the chair did break,
and a piece of the wood splintered off into somebody’s kidney or liver.

.

-- I started out with nothing in life ~ and still have most of it left.

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Jeremymcon

289 posts in 825 days


#11 posted 05-31-2018 02:37 PM

I don’t know anyone that weighs 325 lbs! And if I did I might not let them sit in this chair. But anyway I decided to add a third rung to the sides. Did it by drilling a 3/4” hole through the back leg, and a 5/8” hole in front. Just. Made the rung thin enough to pass through the 3/4” hole, as then glued and wedged the 3/4” tenon. It feels more stable now, and I am going to go ahead and finish the chair. The chair still came out a little twisted, so this will remain in my office at my fly tying bench – not quite living room or kitchen quality yet!

My next chair will be better, for sure!

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