a little more chair work, then back to the chest

Recently I did a little more chair work on the next brettstuhl. Laid out & chopped the housings for the dovetailed cleats (or battens) that fit under the seat. I foolishly let months go by between versions of this chair so have to re-learn the layout. These battens have dovetailed edges, so I fumbled around figuring out the layout. Once I got it though – then it’s just cutting it. Below I’m sawing the shoulders of the housings & using a beveled guide for the saw. I’ve removed the holdfasts/clamps so you can see the way the saw banks against that angled edge to cut the shoulder.

cutting the shoulders

Then two steps of chisel work. One to chop out the edges –

bevel down chisel work

The next to use a large 2″ framing chisel to break out the bulk of the waste.

shaving butternut with a framing chisel

I do the final cleanup and flattening of that housing with a router plane. I’m getting there, it’s a new tool for me. I used to do this step with a couple of chisels. But once you’re past where the handle bumps against the back edge of the board, you have to flip the chisel over & pare with the bevel down. Works, but gets tricky. This tool makes easy work of flattening this housing.


Then some trial & error in fitting the tapered battens. I got them both done, but didn’t shoot the results. Here’s one most of the way in place. It always surprises me how loose they are until the last few inches, then I really have to drive them in. The power of a wedge I guess.

almost home

The tapered ash legs have been drying on the dashboard of my parked car. Hot as blazes in there lately, they should be ready for the final sizing of the tenons next chance I get to work on the chair. Today was back to the chest – fit the rear panel & drove the last pins. A trim here & there, then the drawer & lid to go.

next is the drawer, then the lid

9 thoughts on “a little more chair work, then back to the chest

  1. Still wondering why the period les also penetrate the seat board. Philadelphia Museum as two or three good Moravian ones.

  2. I did not know about the ‘clearing the edges’ step to the chiseling, and had trouble running right at the whole waste with a chisel, the few times I tried sliding dovetails. Thanks a lot!!!

      • the last time i made a wide sliding dovetail, i cut a bunch of kerfs in the middle. that made a huge difference. i was using a beautiful piece of reclaimed pine that had spent 70+ years as the top of a desk and was rock hard.

  3. I recently discovered a Brettstuhl at a friends apartment here in Berlin. They laughed as I spent several minutes turning it over and around, excitedly examining the joints and carving. They’d rescued it from a neighbor who was going to trash it!

    Anyway, I have seen a convention here in Germany for using a wooden-backed “Gratsäge” for cutting theses kinds of dovetailed grooves (and also for dadoes). You appear to use a tenon or caracase saw for this. Is there any great advantage of one way over the other?

    How do you make and true the beveled guides? With your dovetail plane?

    • I bet the Gratsäge would be just the ticket. I don’t have one, so used the backsaw. The beveled guide for angling the saw – I just planed that edge to match the angle of the dovetail plane. Used a jointer plane, checking the edge with an adjustable bevel. Worked all right.

  4. Hey Peter, could you PLEASE make a video on your method of sharpening a bowl adze? I’m really struggling with it, and I could use some help. Thank you!

  5. Hi Pete,
    Sorry if I missed it but how do you create the hole/pocket for the toe of saw to go into?

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