Vacation days

I resisted as long as I could, but I finally caved & took a couple days for some chairmaking. I’ve had the parts for this brettstuhl hanging around since mid-summer, almost all made. Just needed to finish the carving, cut out the back, trim the seat board, cut the housings for the battens, chop the mortises for the back & wedges then put it together.

half a brettstuhl

It started back in the summer, when I got it into my head to get a grathobel. Some help from some friends in Germany and I got one on the German ebay. An indulgence, but not a terrible one.

grathobel -in English a dovetail plane

So back in July or so I made the legs, battens and started carving the back. Then let it sit. I finished the carving yesterday and cut out the shape of the back. Then started in on the housings under the seat for the battens. Sawn & chiseled, then got out a router plane to bring things down to a finished depth.

router plane

The battens are tapered in width – so the best way I found to fit them is to make them extra long and then test them, and make a mark where the front of the batten stops.

first test fit
marking the progress

Then I take it out, and shave it some. Two or three shavings for a timid approach. Last thing I want is it to be loose.

trimming the edge

Then it goes back and I knock it forward & make a new mark. And repeat until it drives all the way to the end. I crept up on it.

four or five attempts

Then mortising for the back.

boring the waste for mortises

This time I cut the mortises in two steps. I had them in the walnut seat to begin with – it helped me locate where I wanted the battens. Now I’m boring through the battens – then follow this with chisels to finish the mortises for the back. It took a good bit of test-fitting & fussing. That’s what happens when months & months go by between chairs. For me, anyway.

fitting the back

I want to have to force the back through the seat, but not drive it with a mallet. I found out the hard way once that knocking that on its top end can connect the dots & split the whole back apart. I don’t want to learn that lesson again.

mortising for wedges

Then more boring & chiseling for the wedge mortises. Seems some old chairs use pegs instead of wedges. I decided I like the wedges. Might not make a difference.

back & seat wedged together

The battens I’ll trim after assembly, might need to trim the wedges too. But by the time I got to this point, it was too late for the next step – boring the leg mortises. Tomorrow.

tomorrow’s another day