Friday, March 10, 2006

Arm but not legs

Well the legs are still with their feet metaphorically up on the fender in front of the fire, drying as much as possible. Except it's not their feet of course, but their tops. Meantime I thought I might as well make a huge assumption that the leg/seat thing won't be a disaster and cut some stuff for the sticks and arms. I figure a three part arm and doubler will work, four parts in all, with lap joints instead of dowel joints. Naturally the beech is as straight as an arrow and no help to me at all, so I was trying to visualise grain direction and short grain issues and generally getting in a muddle while I was setting out. I'm not convinced it's right now, but thinking further about it wasn't getting me anywhere so I took the plunge and I'll just hope for the best.

Taking a leaf out of the JB book of chair making again, I decided to cut the arm shape in full thickness stock and then resaw to create book-matched arms. I spent an age setting up the bandsaw to cut as exactly halfway as possible - and still managed to make a hash of it... One side is a full inch, the other 7/8. Bum. A hurried perusal of JB's articles drew forth the info that he uses/used 7/8" - 1" thickness, so I can get away with it I think. Amazing what a difference in appearance that 1/8" makes though. If I'm still not sure when I look again I'll just have to cut another one. Not a disaster, but an irritation.

Anyway, the arm parts, the legs (in between toasting their toes) and numerous 3/4" sticks ready for shaping. I'm not totally convinced by some of the grain run out in some of them to be honest, so spares seemed a Good Thing. Still in a dozen minds about shaping them; JB and planes? Or the more traditional spokeshaves? The latter would really require a diversion into making a shaving pony, for which I have the necessary materials ready with a view to just such a move, but that will eat up precious workshop time. On the other hand one's been on the tuit list for years now; if I don't seize the "need it" moment now I may never make one...


  1. Oh, I can nearly see it now!

    I made a temporary pony once to shape some arms and slats. Really was just an I-beam affair which both clamped to the bench and allowed a wedge to secure the work by having a slightly adjustable U-shaped 3/8" steel rod that the very ends were bent in to secure it to the underside of the top of the I-beam. The wedge was between the bottom of the steel rod and the work. Just a tap to set or unset.

    Probably sounds like a lot of work, but I think it took me all of an hour to make. More imporantly, it worked well.

    Take care, Mike

  2. When making my Maloof chair I used the tail vice on my bench as a shaving horse-worked really well!
    What are the arms and legs made from? Beech?
    Keep up the good work,


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