Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Sticky Situation

So this deciding where exactly these sticks are going to go is proving rather more problematic than I'd expected. For a start the suggested places in the seat given in The Chairmaker's Workshop really don't work for me at all. Primarily because the doubler on the arm, as per the plan, seems to be a little bit short to take the designated six long sticks... and secondly, the short stick angles look, well, a bit naff frankly. So casting aside the plan I've turned once more to John Brown and used a mixture of his suggested spacing and what I think looks right. Perhaps unwisely I'm now about to ask you lot what you think too...

But first, the easy bit; making up the line 1" in from the edge that the seat mortises will, all being well, follow. My workshop essential, electrician's blue tape, provides a non-marring surface to take the pencil line.

Then lots of faffing about trying to gt the arm in just the right place and firmly, but not finish-damagingly, clamped in place. Little bits of that non-slip matting, like router mat but thinner that gets sold for kitchen and household use, I find is the bee's knees for this kind of thing, fwiw. To my delight the back support proved to be enough to keep the arm in place while I played about with the stick spacing. Unfortunately the sticks themselves rolled about at every opportunity, so I had A Brainwave. More blue tape to stand in for the stick positions. It's not perfect, but then neither is having the sticks leaning against the inside of the arm. At least this way the darn stuff will keep still.

Well that's good, but you don't get the height, so with the aid of some Blue Tak (aka "Handi-Tak" in the US apparently) I stuck the back sticks in place. They're not perfect, but they do give a better idea. What d'you mean it looks odd? Try squinting a bit... Yeah, you're right, the background isn't ideal but I didn't think of that until too late.

Five sticks across the back isn't ideal, but they do fit and four looked a little sparse. And if you count each long stick as two - above and below the arm and add up all the sticks then it comes to 18, one for each year.

I've lent the back sticks in a little, but I'm not sure if that's a good idea or not. Anyway your thoughts are, as always, welcome. I may take no notice, mind you, but they're still welcome... The really worrying thing about all this is that even minute variations in the tape spacing looked Good or Bad - how in heck am I going to bore the holes that accurately...?


  1. Hi Alf,

    The seat is looking really nice, what with the legs morticed through etc...

    I don't suppose having an odd number of sticks in the back will mattter much with this chair, as the spine will be resting more on the arm-piece. What does it look like with the back sticks splayed outwards slightly?

    Of course if you were to model the chair in - oh I don't know - Sketchup for instance ;-D, then you could play with stick placing to your heart's content.

  2. Why not go with the spacing that can be seen so clearly on the temaplte in the background? With the five stick layout the through holes are going to be perilously close to the ends of the doubling on the arms, which may give short grain problems?

  3. Hi Nick. Trouble is if I use the template spacing I'm trying to squeeze six sticks into the arm, which is going to be even worse. I don't think the piccy helps much in this case, 'cos the end sticks aren't as close to the ends as they appear.


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