A Great Dining Chair Class Completed!

Well we just finished up another great advanced furniture class. Although it was hot outside we kept the A/C cranking and everyone had a great time. Especially at 3:00 when we took our afternoon ice cream break at the Café. For those that have never been to our shop, our Homestead Café is a stone’s throw from the shop, offering many savory meals including some of the best homemade pies and the best ice cream available!

There was much to learn in this 6-day class as everyone chopped all their mortises by hand, and then cut all the tenons by hand.

Here is Steve trying out my Danish bow saw on his tenons, this saw is super fast, and a blast to use.

The legs were marked out carefully, and in some cases re-marked, prior to cutting out the shape on the bandsaw.  Then the fun began as we carefully shaped the profile with spokeshaves and scrapers.  The question was asked how would you cut this out if you did not own a bandsaw? Well I tried it on one of my legs. I started by making a few stop cuts with a handsaw and then grabbed my trusty hatchet! This made quick work of removing a lot of material. Then I went to the drawknife to get right down to the line, finishing up with the spokeshave. I think the leg turned out great, but I will say I am not ready to give up my bandsaw just yet!

The shaving horses worked out very nice, especially for holding the shaped legs while working on them. If you have never used a shaving horse, you will have to come try one out, they are simply the best clamp invention for odd shaped pieces, from spoons to chair legs and arms to rockers.

We covered cutting angled tenons as well, which always take a little concentration, making sure not to cut an angle going the wrong way!

On to fitting arms and then sculpting the seat, finally cutting an inch off the back of the chair makes it sit just fine.

A couple of the guys used hide glue to glue up their chairs. Why? Well, because it is traditional! Actually there are many reasons to use hide glue. For one, it is reversible, making it easier for someone to repair the chair in the future. Another reason is that it is much easier to clean up, if some spills out of the joint. It also does not interfere with the finish. I often tell people that the finest furniture that was made, furniture that was made hundreds of years ago is still holding together with hide glue, so I think if it was good enough for Sheraton and Phyfe, it should work just fine for us!

Here is a picture of the finished chairs. Originally this class was a one time offering course, but we may offer it again next year. Stay tuned, we are working on the 2013 class calendar now.

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