Jefferson Swivel and Secretary

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day 4 of Mike's Chair Class

 When Mike was making his back spindles he asked if they would break very easily. This is just a little taste of how strong those "flimsy little spindles" are if you split it from a log.
Try doing that with a dowel rod.

      Today Mike got his entire chair glued up and painted. By a little after 1:00 on Thursday he had all the parts glued up and ready for paint. After we came back from lunch  Mike was ready to to begin painting.
 Here is a proud man with a great looking chair, and rightfully so. In my opinion, it looks so much like an antique Windsor from 200 years ago. Mike put a lot of hard work into it and has something to really be proud of, and I think it shows. 
 With the chair completed a day early, Mike went ahead and painted it up. He wanted an antiqued look and chose a Black over Red milk paint. He did a great job at looking at were the natural wear areas would be and just did enough to make it look authentic.
This photo shows just after the Linseed Oil was applied. What a great looking chair. If all mine would turn out this nice, I would be so pleased.
 Once the Oil had set on for ten or fifteen minutes, we wiped it down and this is it. Like I said before, I am overly happy with how well Mike did on his first handmade chair. Something that can go on and be an heirloom for his grand kids and even his grand kids' grand kids. Mike, my hats off to you buddy.                                  Congratulations

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Chair Class (Mike) day 3

Today Mike got his undercarriage all in and glued up. I am very happy with how well Mike is doing. He has a construction background and that has helped him have a better understanding of the good work ethic needed to build Windsors. He has worked his butt off and isn't the type to complain. He told me today, he's never had to pay someone to make him work this hard, I just laughed, he had a point though. . After the undercarriage was glued up I snapped this photo of him, I think it pretty much sums up how proud he is of all the hard work he's putting into it. Great job.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

And...another Chair Class

 This week I had another chair class this time with Mike. Mike had a great first day and got all his spindles split and roughed out, plus his back bows made and bent. He's doing a Sack Back chair and is right on track and open to learning techniques, which makes it easier for me. In this picture, his second day, he is turning on the lathe his first time and did a nice job making a Bamboo leg. He picked up how to move your body along instead of just moving the tool.
 He was getting really nice shavings coming off the lathe. This is a single piece shaving that was a full 24 inches and thats with the curls (it's longer than that if you stretch it out). Shavings like that are a good sign your using the tools correctly.
After Mike had his leg turned it was on to the seat. He started with a rough sawn pine seat about 2 1/8" thick and hand planed it down to 1 7/8" with a Scrub Plane, Jack Plane, and finally a Smoothing Plane.

 Mike was interested in doing his chair in more of a traditional style and picked the brace and bit over a cordless drill. He did pretty good although we had to plug a couple of his leg holes and we'll redrill them tomorrow. It's a little more difficult with the brace and bit due to the fact your having to move one hand to operate it and that little movement can get you out of alignment pretty easy for first timers. Still a great job and day well done.
 With the holes drilled it was on to seat shaping. The Eastern White Pine seat cuts so nicely with hand tools, so there was no use in using the adze to chop his seat, he went right into it with the inshave (scorp).
 Here Mike's using the drawknife to cut the leg relief on the front of the seat (Leg Bevels). He is planning on making more Chairs once he gets back home and I think with a few more under his belt he could easily get the Windsor Curse (obsessed with making them). Once it gets in your blood it's helpless to try and stop.
 Mike's making use of  the spokeshave to round the under side of the seat. I think he's doing a great job and hopefully I don't try and shove to much info down his throat in such a short amount of time. There's alot to making these chairs, it's one thing to know what to do over several years of making them, but to try and cram everything you need to know in just a week's time, is asking a lot. I know Mike is game, I just hope it doesnt overload him to bad.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Chair Class day 4 and 5

Byron had a rough day on Thursday. The back bow broke on him right at the tenon and a couple of spindles were a bit to small to fit the holes in the seat, so luckily we made extras and were able to get the others all made in time. After the spindles were remade we were back on track and able to finish the chair today by noon.

Here Byron is chiseling out the pocket for his back bow to fit. I like to cut a round tenon on the back bow so the square portion locks in and makes the transition into the seat look cleaner. While this requires a little more work it makes the chair stronger because the tenon has a shoulder and gives a stopping point once the wedge is driven in on the under side of the seat.

In my opinion, this is a stout and good looking joint for the bow.

Bryon with his completed chair. With just a few little "hiccups" we were able to get his chair all ready for paint just before lunch on Friday. I think Byron did an amazing job.  I could tell he was proud of himself for sticking it out and working through mistakes. Now he has a chair that will be here a 100 years from now, probably more.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Chair Class Day 3

 Now that he's slept a little he's back at working the seat. Here he's shaping the underside of the seat with the drawknife.
 Then moved onto the spokeshave and he did a great job working through the difficulties of the poplar seat.
 Here he began assembling the undercarriage. He turned all his own stretchers and they all came out perfect. I think he's liking the lathe.
Here is the undercarriage all glued up and legs trimmed. Byron has done a amazing job so far and everything should be ready to to put into the chair tomorrow. I am extremely pleased with how well he's done from never doing any kind of woodworking before. He's a natural.

Chair class Continued...

 Using the Inshave to further shape the "bowl" of the seat.
 And then the Travisher to smooth up the marks left from the inshave.
Now onto the Leg bevel. I told Byron to come back when he could and I'd let him make another seat out of pine at no cost for the trouble he had, (I really am sorry buddy). A first timer should never have to use poplar.

Chair Class Progress

 This is the second day Byron has put in on his Bow Back and doing a great job. This was his first time on a lathe and he turned a bamboo style leg and it came out great. I had a set of legs already turned for his chair before he started on Monday and this one matched those very close.
 Here you can see the how well he did and he seemed happy thats it's not as difficult as he thought.
 Now the seat on the other hand was a bit tougher. This one is poplar and he had a difficult time shaping it, we should have used a pine seat (That was my fault, I didn't order enough pine, Sorry Byron) We started later in the day on the seat and didn't get it all shaped till the following day, that poplar is so hard to shape compared to the pine.
Using the adze to begin the contour shaping.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Chair Class Newbie

 Here is Byron cracking open his first Red Oak log to begin his Chair Class. We began this morning and he did extremly well for someone with not much knowledge of furniture making. He stuck it out in the heat and spilt all the pieces for the Bow Back chair he's making.
 Here he's using the brake to split out seven spindles. It got up to 91 degrees today so we did as much as we could in the shade but the air conditioned shop sure was a welcoming thing once we got through all the spiltting.
Here is Byron shaving his back bow on the shaving horse. For someone who has never had a drawknife in his hands before he did really well and was game for learning and getting the basics of what steps need to be done first. Byron is a 6' 9" tall guy, I wasn't sure if the shaving horse would be comfortable for him but he just plugged along and made it work. He got all seven spindles roughed out and in the kiln plus his back bow shaped and steam bent. A job well done for a newbie.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Different Shaving Horses

I thought I'd show my two shaving horses here and explain a little about what I do with them. The one closest to the camera is my main one and is based off of Brian Boggs' horse and works extremly well. I have added a chair seat and back to make it more comfy to sit at for longer periods of time. The green one in the background is my old one that I had actually thrown away after I made the new one but then realized it works better for certain steps in the process of shaping plus during classes theres two available. I use it mainly for shaving the long bends of C-Arms, Sack Backs, Bow Backs, and the like. It's just a pretty standard horse no frills or bells and whistles just a good ole work horse, it's not real comfotable to sit at for long though. The Boggs style is great for spindle work and most tasks I need for chairs.

The Log Fairy

Today I got the remainder of my logs. I got 2 White Oak, 2 Red Oak, and 11 Maple altogether. The maples aren't real great but they'll do just fine for getting some legs, stretchers and arm stumps out of. After my "Log Guy" brought these to me today, I chainsawed one of the red oaks into a 6 foot length and it was a beauty. The pith (center of the tree) is almost perfectly dead center and the bark shows no waves or knots. I should have no trouble whatsoever getting spindles and/or bends out of it. I will have to pick and choose on the maple but out of 11 logs I'm sure I will find what I need for quite some time.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Hi Ho Hi Ho it's back to work I go

This is the order I am working on as of right now and it's a couple of Sack Backs. I got the seats carved out today and the legs dry fitted. The seat material is one piece White Pine I got from Nick Cicchinelli in New York. I have pretty much always used poplar for my seats manly because I can get it easier but the white pine is what I'm going to start using because it carves SOOOO much easier. I didn't realize how much more work I was making myself do with the poplar.
I should have these two Sack Backs wrapped up by the end of the week. I just need to turn the stretchers and the assemble all the parts and I'll be ready to paint.

Logs and my Kiln

This is part of the log selection I just got that has 2 Red Oaks, 2 White Oaks, and 11 Maples. I need to cull the maple out as there aren't many clear sections but I should be able to cut off several chuncks for leg turnings and the rest will go to the firewood pile for this winter and next.
I cut a hunk off one of the maples and was able to get about 8 turning blanks that will work for legs. Here I just got finished turning these Bamboo legs and now the tenons are drying in the homemade kiln. The kiln is nothing more than a plywood box with two 100 watt light bulbs inside. In 3-5 days the tenons will be ready to final shape and go into a chair.

And now...back to work

I finally got most everything moved into my new (huge) shop and while it's not completly done I'm able to get back to my orders and get back to work. Moving is such a chore and those of you who have a shop, try not to move it, it's about the hardest thing I've gone through in a long time. The house wasn't too bad but the shop and all the heavy tools was difficult plus I had quite a bit of lumber and it was about as bad to move as the big tools.
This is the Lumber rack I made. It's based off of one I saw in a Fine Woodworking Article. There is so much weight on it and so far so good. I was nervous putting the lumber on it after I made it but it's doing great and I'm guessing theres around 400 lbs on each tier. Thats just a guess all I know is it is more than I can lift.
Here are my two lathes and they are already getting back in use after about 3 weeks of moving from the other shop.