still can't sit back, yet...

Hello my dear miniature friends,

It's been a while but i was caught up behind the workbench. As you may know i'm working on a x-chair, also called a Dante chair or Savonarola chair. Thought i'll show you what i've been doing on it. (right click on any pick and open it in a new window; it will let you look at all the pics in their original size for detail, if desired)

the empty jig side for the first cut
It started out with lots of research and a basic construction plan. The chair needs between 16 and 20 legs so i figured a jig to cut them out would pay back. I did a test but soon found out i could not control the force of the router enough to prevent some minor rip out. Not really a big deal, but on top of that the first cut using the jig made the stock part so fragile, even backing it up inside the jig wasn't enough... The outcome of the second cut was rather unpredictable and if i had to clean up afterwards i could might as well cut them out by hand and have far more control that way. But this type of jig did work well for thicker pieces in the past.

blank stock into the jig
after pin routing the first cut

the inside of the jig, opened up to show the the leg,
transported from the first cut to the other side for the second cut

Anyway, wasn't all that much work. First made a setup on my drill press to drill the holes in the blank stock, that would hold the rods where the legs would swivel round. Using a perspex template with the holes as guide the legs were cut. I left extra stock on both ends of the legs to house for extra holes. Because these holes also served to line up and stack the legs so cleaning them up gave 18 identical legs.

Then it was on to the seating parts. I'd made a drawing of the front of the chair, glued it onto a wooden back, and added small pins to represent the rods inside the chair. This jig served for many other  operations later in the build, so it was worth to be very accurate making it. Placing one leg on the jig I could read out the drawing and that gave me a precise reading of the shape and size of the seating part.

I kept the seating just ever so slightly bigger (longer) then needed. Because of the angle where the end face of the seating touches the legs, it might look as if they are way out of size, but believe me, they only needed cutting away tinny tinny flakes of wood to make a tight fit.

With the seating construction complete the legs could be made to size. Initially i wanted to cut tenons on 'm but as i tested out each step in the build, this proved to be a hard one too. Using power tools on the fragile end parts was devastating and cutting the tenons by hand took forever with the danger of breaking off, always just round the corner. So i opted for pegs which is suggested in many plans anyway.

Again the front drawing jig came in very useful. I adapted it with some stop blocks so the cuts on the legs were all equal and parallel, top to bottom and to the floor.

Putting the jig upright made it easy to drill the holes for the pegs at right angles of the feet and arm rests.

Now the arms and feet were made. Using the cross table I drilled the holes for the pegs at equal distances. I carved the feet, after the paw of a big cat, adding nails for fun and interest.

I tested out my design for the arm rests too, and when all happy i applied them on the pre drilled pieces. 

The arms also needed decorated knobs. I'm no hero on the lath but with some patience the first two were spot on :)

I added small hand carved pansies on the front of the knobs and mounted them on the arms. At the back of the arms are small recesses to hold the backrest. I set them at a slight angle so the chair is gonna be a little bit more comfortable '-)

Then the two front legs were carved, as was the front seating piece.

With all the pieces done, they could be stained before assembling. The light pink pear turned into a nice dark oak.

To assemble 36 pegs were needed. I started out with a home made draw plate (or draw jar, should i say) to bring down 1.8 mm square cut pieces of pear. Going down in small steps of 0.1mm and holding the wood at an angle i could go down till 1.1 - 1.0 mm. But i needed 0.7 mm... With the peg being so fragile i had to take down that final bit by hand.

Now the for real fun; all the pieces were stringed onto 0.75 mm brass wire. Then the feet and arms were attached using the small pegs.

The brass rods were cut to size and closed off with some hand carved knobs. 4 At the back, 3 at the front and a somewhat larger central one.

And this is how it stands so far; all the construction is done. It was very satisfactory to see all the parts come together and i have to say i'm really pleased with it. It looks even better then imagined.

I'm sorry i haven't been round much lately to keep track of all you're doing. But as you can see, i háve been busy. And i'm even more sorry to say I still can't take a back seat to relax and catch up on all of you.... :(  Cos there's still that back rest to be made and carved. Hope to get that done by the end of the week? So you know where to find me the next few days :)

Have a great day,

( waving from her workshop )


  1. Ik lees altijd met heel veel plezier jouw posts, en elke keer verbaas ik me weer! Je gaat echt elke keer tot eet naadje, nog kleiner, nog fijner, nog precieser, nog echter, nog mooier...
    En nu dit kleine meesterwerk, ik kan er alleen maar heel veel respect en bewondering voor hebben!

  2. this is one of the most extraordinary pieces i have totally amazed about the work, the detail and the beauty! Thank you for showing all the process! Best greetings!

  3. Wowww wat een prachtige stoel heb je gemaakt. Leuk dat je het stap voor stap laat zien. Het is een echt kunstwerk geworden. Mijn complimenten.

    Groeten Xandra

  4. Debora,I am beyond words. My jaw is fallen n the floor and I have to pick it up.
    No words can actually express what I feel and think of your work. Awesome is simply not enough.
    Thank you for sharing, Rosanna

  5. Anch'io, come Rosanna, sono rimasta a bocca aperta per lo stupore. Sono sinceramente impressionata da tutto questo lavoro. Bisogna ringraziare Dio che ci sono persone come lei, Debora, con tanta grazia nelle mani. Sinceramente ammirata da quello che vedo. E' questo, oltre ai miei figli, che mi commuove: il lavoro sapiente pieno di pazienza, arte e dedizione.

  6. It IS a jaw dropping piece! I am so impressed I am speechless. This is just BEAUTIFUL!!! I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED seeing it. Congratulations it is truely magnificent.:-))

  7. Je suis complètement époustouflée par cet incroyable travail! Mon anglais est trop mauvais pour tout comprendre mais les photos parlent très bien. C'est un véritable petit bijoux ce fauteuil! Quel exemple!!! Bravo! Nathalie

  8. Wow, Debora! This is the most impressive work in miniature woodworking I've ever seen! Congratulations on completing your masterpiece!

  9. Wow, Debora!!! What an AWESOME piece of furniture!!! You are Amazing with your design and carving and precision to make all the parts fit together so Perfectly!!! It is simply STUNNING!!!

  10. As your post progressed, my jaw kept dropping farther...and farther...It's pretty much lying on the floor right now and I can't seem to close my mouth ;) What an incredible, delightful piece!

  11. Debora je bent echt een wizz met hout.
    Onvoorstelbaar mooi!En wat een berg werk...
    Inderdaad een masterpiece!

  12. Thank you all, you're all too kind :)

  13. A true masterpiece. Congratulations.
    Your skills grow leaps and bounds with every project you take on, very impressive.

  14. So you going to do about 40 of those ? i have a class coming up....... LOL

    Im kidding you know........ love your carving .

    Thanks for sharing.


  15. Absolutely beautiful work. Stunningly good craftsmanship in every way, the flawlessly neat, functioning construction, the sensitive decorative carving and the choice of timber and delicate staining that suits the scale so well, makes an inspiring example of miniature furniture that is simply a joy to see. Thank you for showing it with such clear and pleasing photography.

  16. Flabbergasted!!!!!!!!! Once I picked myself up off he floor--This is the most incredible beautiful piece I've ever seen!!! I've been following the progress...I am floored!!!! Reading the construction details....then seeing the results....WOW....Thank you for sharing this!!!!

  17. Oh, Wow, Debora, that is just one awesome chair, well done!!!

    But, then I knew you could do it, determination to succeed overcomes all obstacles :-)

  18. Well I am not surprised at this wonderful piece of work(wo)manship! It is a superb progression from the previous piece of folding furniture. Fantastic work! And I love seeing all of the steps in making this piece, thank you so much for showing that!

  19. Wow! Your work is incredible. I am so in awe of your fine carving and woodwork. It's also so inspiring to see that you did not give up on your goal despite some set backs. Look forward to seeing the finished piece.

  20. Wow, Debora! Glad you showed the 'making off', if not my eyes would not believe.

  21. I want to thank each and every one of you for all your kind appreciative words towards this chair. But i have to give credit to David Hurley here. I gotta tell you; at the last moment i was so fortunate to get the change to follow a workshop he gave here in Holland. That was only a month ago, and he and his work were such an inspiration!!! This type of chair had crossed my mind a long time ago, but i dismissed it as too old fashion. Fool as i was to realize it could be a real challenge and therefor a real fun piece to build.

    Last year i was captured by the results of his students, here on the internet. They'd done a chest with relief carving. I couldn't put my finger on it back then, but from then on following one of his classes was on my bucket list. And it's now, that i see what caught me back then. His basic tool is a scalpel, just like mine. And I've learned sooooo much just looking at him carve. Little things like the way he handles his knife, insertion angle or finish treatments. Seeing some of Davids work on display too, and to see how small carvings can be made pushed me to -at least- give it a try. And i'm glad i did. Cos it seems to be turning out pretty good (I'm not gonna be fussy and moan about flaws here and there, i simply know they are there so there is room for improvement).

    But there's no magic involved; that's why i posted this long log about the build. So you all can see how it's done and what steps it took to get so far. And -let's not forget!- what a pinch of good old solid inspiration can lead you to :)

  22. Stunning and beautiful work!

  23. Hello Debora,
    Did I ever tell you how much I am in awe of your incredible talent. Terrific job on this gorgeous chair. I love every single detail...just wonderful. Thanky ou for giving us such great instructions. It's great and very helpfull to see how and with what tools a greata rtist works.
    Big hug,
    Just Beautiful...

  24. Wauw..dat is zo prachtige stoeltje met houtsnijwerk. Mijn complimenten voor jou!!!

  25. Wow Debora. I think you've outdone yourself with this one. What a fantastic piece of work and thank you so much for showing each step of the design. Brilliant!

  26. Hi Debora,'s almost finished!! It looks wonderfull. Will you send some pictures of it to David as well? He will be pleased to see masterpiece.
    And thanks for sharing al the info how it was made...which is always interesting to see.

  27. Wow, Deborah, I'm always amazed by what you make, but everytime with a new piece you manage to make me sit in even greater awe with my mouth open... LOVE IT!!!

  28. Yes this is a masterpice! What a big job on a miniature, it is soooo beautiful!!!!

  29. Stunning work! I made a Savonarola chair in quarter inch scale but of course without the carving. I am crazy, but not that crazy! lol I was wondering what kind of wood you used? It seems that in order to do that clean carving you must have used a hardwood. I added you to my PInterest boards and will subscribe to this as I appreciate things that are scratch built and would enjoy seeing more of your work.

  30. Una maravilla
    Sin palabras ante un trabajo perfecto. Un placer mirarlo y descubrir la creatividad,la habilidad y el esfuerzo

  31. WOW!!!

    The perfection and attention to detail are unbelievable!!!

  32. Je n'en crois pas mes yeux. C'est ABSOLUMENT MAGNIFIQUE. Je voudrais bien savoir sculpter le bois comme cela et atteindre cette précision... Un immense BRAVO.

  33. Debora, I had the good fortune to see your completed chair in Castine this year. It's even more beautiful to see in person than in the photos. I was completely captivated by your description of how you built it. I look forward some day being able to take classes that you teach because you are clearly talented and gifted at what you do. Thanks for sharing.

    1. P.S. (I forgot to sign this). Chris

    2. Thanks for letting know it was you, Christine. I did wonder... But now it's clear :) And thanks for your kind words.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...