Saturday, April 2, 2016

Dining Chair - Part 7

Spent a relatively full day in the shop yesterday.  Got the front legs shaped, the back legs shaped and the front leg/rail assembly glued up.

Started by marking the front legs for where to remove material.
One leg shaped, the other ready to go
I started by penciling a line 1/4" down from the top on all sides, then smoothing over the top to those lines.  Used chisel, coarse rasp, fine rasp and my mongo file.  This is a slight departure form Paul Sellers' design.  I just like this look better.
Top of leg "pillowed"
The front outside corners get a 1/4" chamfer almost to the bottom, then below that, a rounding to the bottom.
Chamfer and "lift" marked out on front outside corner
I used a chisel to start the chamfer and then a spokeshave and plane to remove the rest.  A little sanding made it all smooth.
Chamfer and lift complete and sanded
In the above picture, you can see the layout line for the curved taper at the bottom of the leg.  This feature is done in two directions to make it look like the leg is splayed outward and forward.  This was done with 1" chisel to remove the bulk of the waste, the #4 plane to smooth the curve, then a little scraping and sanding.
Leg taper done in one direction
All corners of the lower leg were eased and /or chamfered down to the bottom, then sanded for a smooth, clean look.  I then finish planed all surfaces to remove layout lines and get a nice surface and did a dry fit.  I add back the letter designations to the joint in the shoulder area in case the number inside the mortise has gotten blurred from repeated fittings (see 2nd picture below).
Front leg assembly dry-fit
I didn't realize until after gluing up, but while the assembly was square, it didn't lay flat.  One corner was off the workbench about 3/32" when the opposite corner was touching.  This wood flexes fairly easily, so I hope it won't cause any problems in the final assembly glue-up.

For the glue-up, I laid out the parts so I couldn't possibly glue it wrong.  (That never happens ...)
Ready to glue up
When gluing up, there was more squeeze-out than I would have liked.
Too much squeeze-out
I set this upright on the floor to dry, content to remove the squeeze-out in a few hours with a chisel.  Well, I didn't think there was so much glue that it would start dripping - I didn't find it until hours later.
Bad squeeze-out running
I recently read a blog post from Chris Schwarz where he extolled the virtue of wiping the squeeze-out with a damp rag.  I used to do this, but recently went with Sellers method of cutting it away with a chisel after it has set up a bit.  I can't always get to the squeeze-out with a rag when clamps are in place, so the Sellers method made sense to me.  But I think I'm going to go back to the damp rag to avoid the hassle later.

While the glue was drying on the front leg ass'y, I went on to shaping the back legs.  First up was to remove 3/8" from the outside face, starting at the top and tapering down to nothing at about the lower backrest rail.
Ripping off a taper on the upper outside face of back leg
For this I used the 26" 5.5 tpi Pax rip saw.  Really wish I had a smaller panel saw (almost got one on eBay recently, but as usual I was denied), but this saw worked fine.  Followed that up with the #4 1/2 to remove heavier waste and the #4 to smooth it up.  Then it was on to shaping a round at the top, front to back.  Used something round to mark it out and then ...
Marking out the roundover
Roundover marked out

... cut out the waste with chisel, rasps, file and sandpaper.  The following picture shows the round-over, as well as the layout for a tapered chamfer that really lightens the look of the legs (and the whole chair).
Round-over done and chamfer laid out
The spokeshave made quick work of this.  Before doing these chairs, I thought the top where the leg is rounded would be a problem, but this went smoothly.  I smoothed over that area with a file and sanded.  This gives a really great look.
Upper leg shaped and sanded
For the lower legs, the front corners received tapered chamfers and the back corners got small chamfers.
Tapered chamfers on front corners of back legs
Finally, I finish planed and lightly scraped and sanded all surfaces to remove pencil marks and prep for glue-up.  Didn't have enough time for that - Maybe Sunday or Monday.  Until then ...


  1. HI Matt,
    you did a great job on the end chamfers for the legs (2nd pic).
    I have always wiped the glue right away. From when I first starting butchering wood 40 years ago and not knowing what I was doing. I agree with Chris that is doesn't weaken the joint at all. One thing I have started doing is wiping down edge to edge joints for panels with shavings. It's going to be planed afterwards so no need to use a wet rag on it.

  2. Good tip about the shavings, Ralph. Thanks. I've seen that done and I'll have to try it.