Saturday, November 29, 2008

Wing Chair Documentary (gluing arm post blocks)

Here I am shaping and gluing the arm post blocks. I really like the look of the vertical cylindrical arm roll on these chairs. Most traditional wing chairs made today favor the horizontal roll.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Wing Chair Documentary (gluing wings and arm post)

I usually have a helper available when needed, but when necessity calls: I used double sided tape to hold glue blocks in place to clamp the wings to the back frame. The angles of the clamping blocks have to be right on, or the force of the clamp will really give you problems when gluing up. The glue blocks on the curved wing rail were saved from the original cut off, but a better idea would have been to custom make a block that fit around the wing stile also, preventing slippage. As you may have noticed, I changed my earlier plan, which was to glue up the back frame as a unit, in favor of gluing in parts. When you are not going by any plan or the plan is your own, sometimes you have to let the process fall into place.

I also glued the arm posts to the seat frame. I need to attach the arm rests and add a few finishing touches and the chair will be ready for the finishing department.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Going to the Phillies Parade(a few weeks back)

This is a photo of me and the kids all Phillied up before departing to the Phillies World Series Parade. The only thing that I don't like about the picture is that my wife is not included(someone had to take the picture). This was taken on Halloween day. Some Friday for the kids; no school, once in a lifetime world series parade, and trick or treating.

Wing Chair Documentary (gluing wing to seat)

Now that most of the sanding is complete, I am gluing the wings and back frame to the seat frame. At first I thought I would have to attach the wings and back frame to the seat frame as one unit, but this way seems to work(and is easier). I had to use a horizontal clamp on the wing rail to hold the clamping block in place.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Wing Chair Documentary (corner blocks and sanding)

Life took me on a little personal side journey for a few days, but I'm back to the project. I have been working on some small but important things like these corner support blocks which are glued and screwed to the seat rails. Notice the grain direction of the blocks which can be important because the small movement in the wood will affect both sides equally.
I also started rough sanding the frame which will eventually be hidden under some nice upholstery. I tend not to spend too much time on areas that will be covered and secondary sort of taking a page from older period pieces which often were left rough in hidden areas.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Mackeson Triple Stout

Mackeson XXX is one of those beers I've known about forever but can't recall trying. When I noticed that it is contract brewed in the US, I decided to give it a try. I used to brew an amber ale with lactose added to enhance the malt and add a fuller mouth feel. The Mackeson pours jet black, starts out with a punch of roasted barley reminiscent of a Baltic porter or imperial stout without the depth but ends quickly. Sweetness soon prevails over the roastiness. Nice creamy mouth feel no doubt a result of the lactose. Stuck in the middle; being too sweet for a session and not complex enough for a dessert beer. Kudos have to be given when large brewers adhere to tradition.

Wing Chair Documentary (wing glue up)

Tonight, I commenced the final step; the big glue up/assembly. Here I am starting with the wings which will then need to be clamped to the back frame. The unit(wings and back frame) will then be attached to the seat frame and, after some fine tuning/sanding, the chair will be ready for my wife to finish. I saved a small cut off of the original wing rail to use as a clamping block. The block is prevented from sliding with the help of some grip tape.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Wing Chair Documentary(arm roll)

The arm roll is roughed out. The top angle has to be precise so that the arm rest will lay perfectly flat on the roll. A chunk of the wood(waste) was removed on the band saw to minimize some of the hand work.

One arm roll is nearly complete. The shape was done mostly with a block plane, spoke shave and file.

A very incomplete dry assembly.
Everything seems to be going together just fine.

Friday, November 14, 2008

From My Archives

This is a picture of a miniature queen anne style chair that I made a couple years ago. It has a triffid, three toed, foot, small shell carving on the knee, and a compass seat. The legs were made with a large dowel at the top to connect to the seat frame in the traditional way. The dowel was pegged to lock the leg in place. The chair is made of walnut. I love to leave parts that will not be seen rough which adds to the hand crafted feel. Of all the chairs that I have made, something about the flow of this design always strikes me as exceptional.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Miniature Wing Chair with Finish Applied

I am very lucky that my wife does all of my finishing work allowing me to concentrate on building. She has learned her end of the craft from industry experts and is really meticulous. The finish is built up layers of shellac and glaze to give a antiqued look, all done by hand.

Wing Chair Documentary (wings mortise, arm roll angle)

I have completed the mortise and tenon joint attaching the wing stile to the side chair rail as well as the top of the arm roll. The arm roll is at a 4 degree compound angle which will flair the arm rolls slightly forward and out. You know the design is working when the chair looks like it is about to walk away Loony Toons style.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Craftsman Plane is a Political Symbol

With the election a day away, I thought it might be time to get a little political. I purchased this craftsman plane a few months back. It was manufactured in the USA in 1960. The tool is incredibly heavy and well made. Now, I know that there are some specialty tool companies that still manufacture high end tools in the US, but decades ago it was common place for everyday items to be made here. Men and women could count on factory jobs that would pay well enough to raise a family. Travel through any state in America and you'll pass through towns that once were robust with manufacturing and all the frill that go along. I like to make furniture and I also sell high end furnishings for a living. The real furniture I sell is expensive but mostly made in the USA. So much of the furniture that is sold in this country is made in the far east. This furniture is not only made cheaply but it often ends up in the landfill after a few years(picture below bulk trash day in any town with furniture to go to landfill). Your grandparents were used to buying real furniture and taking it to the local upholstery shop for a makeover when they needed a change or refreshing. The upholstery shop employed skilled labor.
It seems to me that if we made things in this country, we would have to get used to paying a bit more, but real income would rise because regular people could count on real factory jobs. If we can't get back our manufacturing base then we will have to concede that our economy is like Europe; only a service economy. Lets get back to it and start manufacturing tools and wind turbines and real furniture. And lets drink micro brewed beer that is manufactured here in the USA!

Wing Chair Documentary (pattern for wings)

I've started working on the wings for the chair over the last few days. Here we have the patterns with the front part of the wings cut to shape. As you can see they are mortise and tenon joined. The shape is faired with the help of files and spoke shaves. Check out the Miller Falls cigar spoke shave(middle bottom). It works great for getting into tight radius like the sharp curve of the wing.

The top part of the wing is joined and shaped together.
I felt like I was making a whale when shaping the top wing rail.

The wings are joined to the back frame with a compound angle mortise and tenon.
Moving right along!