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.
|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 )