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Advice on making red oak chair seats. Any suggestions/help welcome!

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Forum topic by MattSS posted 06-13-2018 06:14 PM 340 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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MattSS

3 posts in 64 days


06-13-2018 06:14 PM

Topic tags/keywords: oak chair seat scoop

The wife wanted a new table for the kitchen for her B-day, so I am building one out of red oak. In my teens I worked with a guy who made lathed turned rocking chairs with a weaved chair seat, but that is the only chair style I know. Wife wanted something more trendy similar to a mission side chair like the amazon link below which are made our of para wood and I was not having. Long story short, found some antique red oak chairs that are the same style that I am refinishing, but they have a cloth seat on them and I will have to make red oak chair seats for them and scoop them myself.

So here is my question(s). For anyone that has done this before:
1: How think should the chair seats be because common lumber dimensions of a 1-by-X red oak board only puts the board at 3/4 of a inch and if I start scooping that I don’t want to run the risk of going to thin?
2: Does the Seat have to be a solid wood piece of can I join multiple pieces together as long as they are not jointed or glued on a area that would be a stress point?
3: If I did need to be thicker than 3/4 inch, and could join multiple pieces together to form a wider board, could I just double up and basically have two 3/4 inch red oak layers laminated together making sure the bottom layer seams are half a board over from the top layer seams basically giving myself a 1 1/2 inch red oak laminate board?

I knew someone long ago that made Windsor chairs and they had to be made from a solid piece for integrity or the structure, but they also have the legs and most other components directly embedded into the chair. With this mission style of chair there is a lot of frame to work with so I am thinking that I could even add cross bracing to the frame under the seat if needed.

Anyways, here is a link to the Amazon mission chair example, and if anyone wants I can post some pics of the actual chair later, just let me know what you would need to see and I will get a pic when I get home.

https://www.amazon.com/International-Concepts-265P-Mission-Unfinished/dp/B001E4V3BG/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1528900007&sr=8-7&keywords=unfinished+wood+chairs


6 replies so far

View fivecodys's profile

fivecodys

1066 posts in 1718 days


#1 posted 06-13-2018 08:39 PM

Hi Matt,
Welcome to LumberJocks.

I made a small rocking chair for my granddaughter a few Christmas’s ago and I had the same concerns.
Scalloping the seat was a huge challenge for me.

The seat is a glue-up of three boards. No reinforcement underneath.

After drawing out the area on the seat, I used my router on a scrap piece of 3/4” red oak to set the maximum depth of the scallop and then plunged into the seat to remove the material from the center of the seat and then changes my depth as I moved a way from the center. I wish I had taken some pictures because it looked pretty wild as I feathered the cut to basically zero. A belt sander and few chisels helped me blend it all together.

The maximum depth I used was about 1/4” in the center and then reduced the depth and I moved away from center.

I hope this is helpful.

-- There' are two theories to arguin' with a woman. Neither one works.

View AandCstyle's profile

AandCstyle

3132 posts in 2339 days


#2 posted 06-13-2018 09:01 PM

Matt, if you laminate 2 pieces together to make a blank 1.5” thick you will have a very visible glue line if you scoop out more than 3/4”. Personally, I would try to find some 5/4 or 6/4 stock if at all possible. It is perfectly acceptable to glue pieces together to get the required width.

-- Art

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29659 posts in 2420 days


#3 posted 06-13-2018 09:19 PM



Matt, if you laminate 2 pieces together to make a blank 1.5” thick you will have a very visible glue line if you scoop out more than 3/4”. Personally, I would try to find some 5/4 or 6/4 stock if at all possible. It is perfectly acceptable to glue pieces together to get the required width.

- AandCstyle

+1 on this

Welcome to Lumberjocks

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View MattSS's profile

MattSS

3 posts in 64 days


#4 posted 06-14-2018 02:50 PM

Thanks for the advice. I am not aware of a local place that sells thicker stock anywhere near me, but will continue to look.

View MattSS's profile

MattSS

3 posts in 64 days


#5 posted 06-14-2018 05:48 PM



Hi Matt,
Welcome to LumberJocks.

I made a small rocking chair for my granddaughter a few Christmas s ago and I had the same concerns.
Scalloping the seat was a huge challenge for me.

The seat is a glue-up of three boards. No reinforcement underneath.

After drawing out the area on the seat, I used my router on a scrap piece of 3/4” red oak to set the maximum depth of the scallop and then plunged into the seat to remove the material from the center of the seat and then changes my depth as I moved a way from the center. I wish I had taken some pictures because it looked pretty wild as I feathered the cut to basically zero. A belt sander and few chisels helped me blend it all together.

The maximum depth I used was about 1/4” in the center and then reduced the depth and I moved away from center.

I hope this is helpful.

- fivecodys

Did you just use a bowl-and-tray router bit @fivecodys or what did you use? I was planning on trying to make some templates testing them out on some pine. Each template would basically be the area of the different depth just to keep me in the ballpark since I am doing 4 chairs and want them to somewhat match. When I had each template the way I was happy with, I would trace each template and start routing what would somewhat look like a topography map in the wood. Then smooth out and finish with a sander.

View fivecodys's profile

fivecodys

1066 posts in 1718 days


#6 posted 06-14-2018 09:07 PM


Did you just use a bowl-and-tray router bit @fivecodys or what did you use? I was planning on trying to make some templates testing them out on some pine. Each template would basically be the area of the different depth just to keep me in the ballpark since I am doing 4 chairs and want them to somewhat match. When I had each template the way I was happy with, I would trace each template and start routing what would somewhat look like a topography map in the wood. Then smooth out and finish with a sander.

- MattSS

I just used a standard plunge bit like you would use for making a mortise. A bowl bit would have been a better choice but I just used what I had. Since you are going for multiples, the template idea makes total sense. I hope you will share your progress with us.

I have had good luck finding 8/4 Red Oak at my local Hardwood dealer. I have never seen it at the big box stores. By the way, they are very proud of this stock and charge dearly for it!
I’m not sure how a lamination of 3/4” stock would react to expanding and contracting as the humidity changes. It might split on you.
I agree with a previous poster that the grain may look funky of you scallop out too far and reach the bottom layer of oak.
Good luck on your project.

Chem

-- There' are two theories to arguin' with a woman. Neither one works.

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