a new chair

I was thinking about chair-making a lot lately, just had no time to do any. Now I do. First thing I did after cleaning the shop for 2 days was take this brettstuhl down from the loft and changed the outline of the seat. It used to look like this:

last year’s brettstuhl

That seat shape was pretty close to what Drew Langsner wrote about when I first learned of these chairs back in the mid-1980s. When I started building them in the past couple of years, I used that same shape at first. Then the more I saw of antique examples (online, not in person…) I decided I like this shape better:

that’s better

Then I went back to the chair I resumed work on the other day. An alternative to the chair above, this time with a 3-piece back.

chip carving

Yesterday I chopped the mortises in the seat board – starting with a brace & bit. These mortises are 7/8″ x 1 3/4″. I do them in 2 steps, first in the seat board, then in the battens.

ten degrees

Once those are chopped, I laid out the trenches for the battens. I saw and chisel most of this, then clean it up with a router plane. I pretty new tool to me. These battens were extras from making a couple of these chairs last spring, so beveled, not dovetailed on their edges. That means you can use the batten to guide the saw’s angle. If you’re careful. I do most of this sawing with the heel of the saw, teeth I rarely use.

white oak batten, butternut seat

Then knock out the waste.

bevel down

I use my large framing chisel to begin the cleanup.

it only reaches so far

I have done enough of these chairs now, and plan on more to warrant the addition of a router plane.

router, starting to get the hang of it

After I got the battens fitting & chopped the back’s mortises through those, I bored the mortises for the legs. These are 15/16″ diameter holes. Mine don’t exit through the seat – I made the legs a long time ago & the turned tenons weren’t long enough to do so.

boring leg mortises

I turned the now-dry tenons to their finished size, glued them & wedged them.

glued & wedged

Some more fussing with the back, more mortising & wedging of the tenons through the seat. here’s where it stands now – some trimming here & there to finish it off tomorrow.

butternut above hickory below

what’s happening to my mono-culture? part 1

bretstuhl 3

I guess I am throwing in the towel – and admitting that I use walnut. I used to often joke that I was a mono-culture – all oak. I’ve made enough full-fledged pieces in walnut by now, and several incidental small bits so I guess it’s part of my bag. This chair is based on one Drew Langsner wrote about in Fine Woodworking back in Jul/Aug 1981. I used black walnut with hickory heartwood legs. Oak cleats housed in sliding dovetails underneath the seat; these receive wedged round tenons at the tops of the legs. All the chair needs now is two small wedges to secure the through tenons from the backboard where it fits through the seat & cleats. The carvings I based on Dutch work from the 17th century; stuck with what I know, I guess. so the chair is a hybrid for sure. 

I had made one of these chairs years ago, and had always wanted to try another. So this was the year to go ahead and make a non-English chair. I’ll shoot it for real in a day or so…

there’s more mono-culture-breaking to come…one wood in particular you won’t believe is on my bench. I’ve never seen anything like it. Next week. 

bretstuhl 2

bretstuhl side view

 

There’s a few spoons left, some bowls and one panel. I hope to have more in a couple weeks. 

https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/late-november-spoons-bowls-for-sale/