some chair making in between all the excitement


In between the raising and moving & stacking roughly 160 white pine boards I got some work in on the wainscot chair(s) I have underway. Soon, I’ll set up my lathe (yes, even before the shop is closed in) and get on with turning the front stiles in these chairs. But before that, I can do all the joinery and other decoration. There’s some rather pedestrian carving, some scroll work on the lower edge of the aprons, and top of the crest, and some scratched moldings on the rails and stiles.

The scroll work on the aprons is simply a matter of boring a few holes, connecting some dots with a turning saw, and clean-up with a chisel. One nice feature almost every time I see this detail is that the scroll work is cut into an angled rabbet on the bottom of the rail. This tilts the scroll work upwards to the viewer’s eyes, and thins out the piece to be pierced. Those old guys knew what they were about.

scrolled apron
One detail on the carved panel of the original chair is something I have only seen a few times before – these little round bits (bottom corners in this photo) – they look like turned decoration, but that’s nuts of course. They aren’t carved, that’s for sure. They seem to be made like “scratch stock” moldings, but around an axis.

back panel

Here’s a detail of some on an English box I saw years ago:

Carved box detail

After some head-scratching, I decided I’m going to make a wooden brace fitted out with a molding scraper, like a scratch stock. Now that the pine boards are all stickered, I can go back to working  on the chairs. If the brace does the job, you’ll hear about it


9 thoughts on “some chair making in between all the excitement

  1. I have a circle/hole cutter for my drill press that would do the job; but I think such tools were uncommon in the middle ages!

  2. I thought of you when I came across this website. They are making what you’re looking for, but designed for metal usage. Maybe they can be adapted…

  3. Why couldn’t those medallions have been made by successive passes with different sized bits? The first image seems to suggest this, what with the varying depths..

  4. Noticed your wheel carving is seven spoked and the historical example is eight. Not that it really makes any difference, just an observation. Great work very inspiring!

  5. Note that on the table you’re making from Shelburne (have you seen it in person?), the rails have the fat riven part to the top for the pins but the bottoms are narrow and have integral brackets, but the brackets fall away with the riving. I don’t think I’ve seen that before. Can’t recall but the pinning was in the rails on either side of each post. I would assume a five-board clamped top. Your client is ordering all my favorite things.

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