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Forum topic by Grampa_Doodie posted 02-19-2012 04:23 PM 1871 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Grampa_Doodie

151 posts in 1050 days


02-19-2012 04:23 PM

Greetings fellow woodworkers,

I’m nearing the end of putting together my very first Kevin Rodel Arst & Crafts Side Chair. (9 more to go after that.) I’m at a point in the production steps that I’d like to ask for tips from others who have built this gorgeous chair. (Once I’m done building my 10 chairs, I’d be more than happy to share all of my notes and photos describing the creation and assembly steps.)

I’m at the stage where I’m creating and attaching the four lower side and cross stretchers. Here are my two sets of questions for the two areas where I would appreciate your input.

1. How, exactly, did you create your half-lapped dovetails on the stretchers? What tools? What techniques? Has anyone used a electric miter saw set to the proper depth when creating the tails on the side stretchers? I can figure out how to do a half-lapped dovetail on two perpendicular parts, but these parts intersect at an 85.5 degree angle. Any tips welcome.

2. Has anyone attached the side stretchers that go between the front and rear legs with dowels? I’m thinking about drilling holes with a 5/8” forstner bit and then using 2” long dowels at all four joints. The part I’m struggling with is the angle (read: compound angle) of the holes/mortises at the back end of the side stretcher where it meets the rear leg. How precise does that compound angled mortise need to be to make a nice, tight joint?

Thanks much, Dale.

-- If at first you don't succeed...DO NOT try skydiving.


8 replies so far

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Grampa_Doodie

151 posts in 1050 days


#1 posted 02-20-2012 12:15 AM

Never mind about question #2 above. I created two simple/crude jigs to allow for simple drilling of the 5/8” mortises for the dowels.

Still burning up brain cells over #1 above. :)

Dale.

-- If at first you don't succeed...DO NOT try skydiving.

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Martyroc

2708 posts in 1058 days


#2 posted 02-27-2012 03:02 AM

Hi Dale, I wish I had any tips for you on this, but whenever I am faced with a situation like this I sharpen all my hand tools, and start working on scrap pieces until I get it right. Sometimes after 1/2 hour I have it, other times its taken a few days. I am pretty sure there is a way to figure it out using sketchup but I am so new to the program, I can barely make a box with it.

-- Martin ....always count the number of fingers you have before, and after using the saw.

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Grampa_Doodie

151 posts in 1050 days


#3 posted 02-27-2012 03:12 AM

Thanks Martin. I’ve decided to go with plain old half-lap joints instead.

Dale.

-- If at first you don't succeed...DO NOT try skydiving.

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Martyroc

2708 posts in 1058 days


#4 posted 02-27-2012 03:13 AM

Either way I am sure it will come out great, cant wait to see it.

-- Martin ....always count the number of fingers you have before, and after using the saw.

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Grampa_Doodie

151 posts in 1050 days


#5 posted 03-21-2012 04:45 PM

One more quick question to those of you who have built chairs with cushioned seats. Do you recommend 1” or 2” thick high-density foam rubber for the chair seat?

Thanks, Dale.

-- If at first you don't succeed...DO NOT try skydiving.

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marc_rosen

31 posts in 1933 days


#6 posted 03-31-2012 01:02 PM

Hello Dale,
My suggestions also involve your number 2 question. I used floating tenons (Domino) to attach the side stretchers. I made two angled (85.5 degree) cut through templates; one for the vertical front leg and one with a compound angle (approx. 1.2 degree) for the rear leg. After dry fitting the front and back assemblies I cut to size the side stretchers and centered the mating mortises endwise. I know a Domino is not something everyone has but I was lucky to have one at my disposal.
Once the side stretchers were in place (dry fit) and the chair clamped tight to prevent shifting I made two spacer templates (3/4 inch Baltic birch ply) to lay out the cross stretchers. I cut the cross stretchers 1/8 inch oversize. I marked all intersecting angles of the cross and side stretchers and drew the dovetail on each end of the cross stretcher with and adjustable bevel gauge. I first scribed the lines with a marking gauge and cut my first set with a dovetail saw. I found that I could do a better job on subsequent chairs using my bandsaw to shape the dovetail on the stretchers. Once the dovetail was cut I transferred its pattern to the side stretchers and cut and removed the waste with a thin kerf dovetail saw and chisels. A little time and a little patience and the fit was almost perfect.

I saw your question about the pyramid top in another thread. First, I tapered the rear legs on my tablesaw using a homemade jig that fit in either track. As you commented, the leg is angled so I used a cross cut sled and the following scenario;
The leg can only be clamped to the sled on its sides. To cut the facets on the sides keep the miter gauge of the sled at 90 degree and tilt the blade to the angle you desire. Make the first cut using a sacrificial fence to place the apex of the pyramid as close to the top of the workpiece as possible. Flip the piece and cut the opposite facet. If you set the sacrificial fence accurately your two facets will connect at the apex and you’ll get side to side symmetry.
Next return your blade to 90 degree and set the angle of your sled miter gauge to the same angle as the blade in the previous step. You will need to reset the fence as the blade angle has changed. Now with the blade at 90 and your sled angled you will be cutting the two facets on the back and front edges of the rear leg.
I did this on twelve sets of chair legs (5 chairs are now completely finished, been busy with other projects) and they all came out looking symmetrical. I recommend using a sled instead of just a miter gauge since you can clamp the piece down easier than holding it down with finger pressure. This way the blade is always cutting a fixed distance from the face that is down on the table. Since the legs are tapered you’ll be removing waste evenly from all sides.

Hope this was helpful. Please send pictures once your chairs are finished. Marc (just a day away from finishing his Hayrake Table. Ignore the Woodduck)

-- Windsurfing, Woodworking, Weaving, and Woodducks. "Most woodworkers are usually boring holes"

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marc_rosen

31 posts in 1933 days


#7 posted 03-31-2012 01:57 PM

I also used 1 inch high density foam (blue at my local wholesaler) on a 3/4 inch plywood seat frame topped with a layer of batting. This crowned nicely after the muslin was tacked down. I did two test seats using 2 inch and 1&1/2 inch foam but it looked horribly bulky. The space above the side rails looks optimized for 1 inch. If you can, a webbed seat frame feels better than a solid frame. Well worth the extra time and money. Marc once more

-- Windsurfing, Woodworking, Weaving, and Woodducks. "Most woodworkers are usually boring holes"

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Grampa_Doodie

151 posts in 1050 days


#8 posted 04-04-2012 03:05 AM

Marc,

Thank you so much for your two great replies. I can’t wait to try your tips with creating the pyramid tops to the rear legs on my next 9 chairs.

My apologies for not getting back to you sooner, but my wife and I just now returned from a vacation in Washington D.C.

I must share one thing that I experienced today on our last day in D.C. We visited the Renwick Gallery across the street from The White House. (The Renwick Gallery is part of the Smithsonian.) I finally got to see one of Mr. Sam Maloof’s pieces. Wow, what a great treat that was for me!! I always wanted to meet him, but unfortunately I waited too long.

Dale.

-- If at first you don't succeed...DO NOT try skydiving.

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