I’ve been in the shop every chance I get working on these chairs (technically back stools). Mostly things have progressed reasonably well. The first thing I tackled was turning the six legs. This is a first for me. Up until now all of my legged projects have received tapered octagonal legs. For these chairs though, I wanted a leg that leaned a little more toward mid-century modern/Danish. So a simple tuned leg with a very slight taper along its length towards the floor. The legs went pretty quickly. I managed to get almost two per evening after getting home from work.
Next up was drilling the glued up seat blanks for installing my freshly minted legs. Same old, same old. Set a bevel gauge, chuck a 1″ bit in my brace and bore away. I’m really liking the cylindrical tenon option over the tapered tenon approach. I’ve also discovered that I have a pretty good knack for drilling at the correct angle. At least I managed to drill these six holes without making a mess of things.
Creating the mortises for installing the back panel was pretty much the same as installing the legs. The back panel is installed with a 5deg slope. So I once again set a bevel gauge, bored holes and then chopped out the adjoining waste. The mating tenons were straight forward cuts and chopping of waste.
Here is where things took a bit of a turn.
I knew going in that all of the edges of the plywood would need to be rounded over. Decent plywood responds well to sharp hand tools. At least outer the outer edges do. Shaping internal cuts however, is an entirely different story. Internal cuts such as those of the mortises and the handhold that I added to the back board. I tried just about everything I could think of without finding a satisfactory method. So I had to resort to…rotary power.
Many moons ago it seemed that I was helping just about everyone I know install laminate flooring. To tackle the job of cutting holes for HVAC vents I purchased a knockoff Rotozip tool. Basically a mini router. With a spiral up-cutting bit it did a fantastic job of cutting vent holes in laminate flooring. Anyway, I remembered that it had come with a cheapo 3/8″ round over router bit. So this is the setup that I resorted to for rounding over the edges of the plywood. It was loud, dusty and less than enjoyable work, but it did the job. As a consolation prize, the cheap HSS router bit added a little wood burning. So there is that I guess.
You can also see in the above photo that I taped one of the back pad into place. This helped me to verify the height and get an idea as to whether or not it would even work. I think it will. I may have to fuss with the thickness of the foam. We will see.
Today I managed to turn and fit the stretchers for one of the chairs. I designed these to be beefy. I even went a bit thicker than my design when making them. The intent is to give a feeling of solidity and stability. No one has come out and questioned the three leg design, but I can see the uncertainty on their face when they see it. The strange thing is these same folks didn’t hesitate with the three legged stools that I just finished. Something about adding a back and calling it a chair triggers a reaction in some folks.
Even in this raw state the chair is actually pretty comfortable. There is a bit of flex to the back board and its width fits well along my back. So, even though the plywood is a PIA to work with, I think I’m on the right track.
I think I’m making pretty good progress. Four days into the “June Chair Build” and I have something I can sit on. Still a long way from putting the finish on, but not too bad.