Final project at furniture school is a chair. The key features to get into the project are some curved back legs which will be shaped with the spindle moulder, some laminated curves and some angled joints. My chair also has round front legs and having just finished Nancy Hiller’s book “English Arts and Crafts Furniture” I might also attempt some decorative carving.

Back Legs

I made a template for the back legs based on my initial drawings. I cut the template out on the band saw and then used spokeshave and disc sander etc to refine the shape. As with many things in life my first attempt didn’t go well. I throw it away. Second attempt was much improved.

The section on the inside of the leg where the side rail joins is flat and vertical but the rest of the leg and back are curved so this flat section is the reference point for everything. The template is a tad longer than the actual legs. The extra length provides a lead-in on the spindle moulder.

I’m making the chair with some of the American Cherry I bought for the cutlery box back in the spring. Using the template I drew the shape of two legs on some of the prepared cherry and cut out the rough shapes on the band saw.

To use the spindle moulder to cut the rough-shaped legs down to the finished shape I attached the template to the leg with some nails and then clamped this onto a suitably shaped piece of chipboard so I have something to hold onto whilst passing the leg through the spindle moulder. Some pictures might help:

Being able to swap between the back and front of the leg is a time saver at the spindle moulder. To avoid tear out you need to ensure the spin of the spindle is in the right direction but the grain direction changes you move round the curve so you can only cut roughly half a side before changing spindle direction. Being able to do the front and back means you only have to change the direction twice to do two legs which is good because changing direction is a bit of a faff.

Seat Plan

I drew a full size seat plan. Well actually I just drew one half of the seat. This will be used to measure the angles of the side rails and I can use it to check other dimensions and joint layouts.

Front Legs

The front legs are round but as you can see from the seat plan they have a bit sticking out at the top that joins onto the side rail. The round bit was turned on the lathe but unfortunately I didn’t take any photos at the lathe. Here are the turned legs.

The lump at the top will get shaped with rasp and spokeshave later on.

In the next exciting episode we’ll make lots of mortise and tenon joints at funny angles.

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