Orchard Street Sofa

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Blog series by AandCstyle updated 04-22-2016 08:24 PM 23 parts 37276 reads 129 comments total

Part 1: Getting started

02-14-2016 11:58 PM by AandCstyle | 12 comments »

Some of you may recall that my son wants me to make a sofa for him that looked like a bow arm Morris chair. I haven’t made a Morris chair yet, nor have I made anything resembling a bow arm, so I jumped at the chance. I found a FWW video series with Greg Paolini that does a nice job of illustrating the making of a bow arm Morris chair and I bought the plans from LV to get the profile for the arms. Greg (my son) found the sofa= he liked on Stickley’s site. Therefore, this projec...

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Part 2: Starting the Arms

02-15-2016 12:56 AM by AandCstyle | 12 comments »

I leaned heavily on the Paolini video for making the arms since bent lamination is a new adventure for me. He suggested resawing the laminations for the arms starting with the table saw them finishing cutting them with the band saw. My blanks were just about 1.125” thick and I wanted to get 3 lams from each blank, so I switched to a thin kerf blade. Remember to keep the same side of the blank against the fence. I recommend a high fence to eliminate any chance of the stock tipp...

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Part 3: Kinda got stuck today

02-15-2016 11:55 PM by AandCstyle | 6 comments »

Today was to be a big day, I planned to do my first bent lamination. The form was ready to go as were the lams and I even had auxiliary help (aka LOML) lined up if needed. Paolini recommends using plastic resin glue, but I checked with a buddy that does a lot of bending and he indicated that TiteBond III would be fine. So that is what I used and tomorrow morning I will find out for myself. Actually, this first stage went easier than I had antictpated and no auxiliary help was re...

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Part 4: Ecstasy!!

02-17-2016 12:21 AM by AandCstyle | 8 comments »

Yesterday I attempted my first bent lamination and the results (at least for the first arm) were more than satisfactory for me. I took off all the clamps after waiting a full 24 hours, and pried the arm off the bending form. It seemed to retain the desired shape without any noticeable spring back. I scraped the glue off one edge and ran that through jointer. After that I ripped it to just over finished width on the TS then cleaned that edge on the jointer. I needed to get the l...

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Part 5: Yes, I have a pair of arms

02-18-2016 12:09 AM by AandCstyle | 7 comments »

I removed the second arm from the bending form, cleaned up one edge and cut it to width and jointed the sawn edge. I am ecstatic to report that the arms match! Admittedly, there is a 1/16” variance, but since they will be at opposite ends of the sofa (about 80” apart), I am not concerned. :) Today was all about mortises and tenons. Since I use a Mortise-Pal, I set it to width and then mark the center lines of the mortises I need to cut. Here are the side rails: ...

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Part 6: Progressing to the leg tenons

02-19-2016 12:54 AM by AandCstyle | 5 comments »

Today I began the most difficult stage to date. In order to make the leg tenons it was necessary to cut the upper side rails to match the shape of the arms. Paolini demonstrated a method that used a template, but I am getting ahead of myself. I started today by cutting the arms to length. Paolini showed how he determined the proper angle for cutting the through mortises using the level in a combination square and I used that method to determine that the front end of my arms needed to be...

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Part 7: Mostly chiseling

02-20-2016 12:42 AM by AandCstyle | 5 comments »

I began today by sharpening my chisel. This shouldn’t be a big job, but white oak is a killer. I hadn’t sharpened it after the book case project so it definitely needed some attention. Once that was done, I cut the sides on one of the legs. It worked well, but was slower going than I would have liked. Therefore, I took Mark’s suggestion (Thanks, Mark) and cut very close to the lines on the sides of the legs with the TS then pared to the lines. This was much faste...

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Part 8: A very short day

02-21-2016 12:33 AM by AandCstyle | 3 comments »

I wasn’t able to spend a lot of time on this today so this is a very short post. I apologize and will try to do better tomorrow. :) I finished chiseling out the arm mortises. Thanks for reading!

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Part 9: Its finally starting to look like a sofa

02-22-2016 12:43 AM by AandCstyle | 7 comments »

First of all, my photographer apologizes for the lack of pix today. His excuse is that he was so enthralled by the work that he forgot to take pix of the various steps. You may recall that yesterday, I got the square mortises cut in the arms so the first agenda item today was to fit the tenons to the mortises. I used a spoke shave, a chisel (sharpened again) and a block plane to shave the tenons down to size and to enlarge the mortises as needed. As Willie pointed out yesterday, this i...

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Part 10: Another under-productive day

02-23-2016 12:23 AM by AandCstyle | 2 comments »

My non-woodworking life keeps interfering with my woodworking life. Grrr! However, all was not lost. I did get to the lumber store and picked up some supplies for a future project. :) I finally got into the shop about 2pm. I started working on the back rest. Since the sofa base was set up yesterday, I started working my way from the legs to the center. First, I needed to make 2 spacers. I milled some stock to the proper dimensions, then drilled a couple 0.625” holes it it. ...

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Part 11: And we're back.......

02-27-2016 12:49 AM by AandCstyle | 0 comments »

Unfortunately, I can’t remember what I did yesterday, much less 3 days ago. Okay, where was I? I made the spacers for where the back rest abuts the back legs. I milled some stock to 1.5” wide by 9/16” thick, then drilled the 5/8” holes. And cut them to 1.5” square Then rounded them with the combo sander They aren’t perfectly round, but they won’t be seen and I suspect that over time humidity would change their shapes anyh...

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Part 12: More mortises and tenons

02-27-2016 01:06 AM by AandCstyle | 6 comments »

Or, don’t you just love making Arts & Crafts style furniture? :D Since the back rest frame looked to be mostly square, it was time to make the back slats. I cut them to length and knocked off the end mortises. Followed by the edge mortises in the rails, which go a little faster. I needed to make another batch of floating tenons, then fit them to the slat and rail mortises. This completed the major assemblies. Whew!!! :)

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Part 13: Seat supports, etc

02-27-2016 01:26 AM by AandCstyle | 4 comments »

Now that the frame is complete, I made the seat supports from soft maple. I added 1” x 1” ledgers to the front and back rails (no pix, ahem) and cut the pieces for the seat supports. These will have rubber webbing with about an inch between each strip. I will attempt to get pix when that is installed. Then glued the frames: Followed by the test fit: I sawed and sanded the leg tenons ends to their pyramid shape. There is some burning from the disk sander, b...

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Part 14: A break in the action

02-29-2016 01:18 PM by AandCstyle | 5 comments »

I am getting near the end of the project and it seems to be going slower and slower. More on that at the end of this post. I located the pivot holes in the back legs for the back rest. Cut the pyramids at the tops of the back rest stiles. And sanded the corbels to get then ready to attach to the arms. Now, I have to work on a couple other projects. We currently have 2 tiny “master” closets and a spare bedroom closet that we are combining into one decent s...

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Part 15: Finally, getting back at it

03-29-2016 11:37 PM by AandCstyle | 6 comments »

I apologize that I haven’t updated this blog in almost a month. I got dragooned into a couple gardening/lawn maintenance projects that weren’t on MY list, but were critical nonetheless. :) This past Friday, my son, Greg, brought the rubberized webbing and we installed it in the seat frames. The cheapest I was able to find was at for both the webbing and the clips. We started by cutting a 1/2” by 3/16” groove in the frames an inch fro...

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Part 16: A little progress

04-06-2016 12:06 AM by AandCstyle | 2 comments »

I am finally getting back at this project and hope to finish it before I die. haha I needed to round off the sharp edges on the fronts of the back rest supports so I did that with the oscillating sander. I found that it collects dust much better when the shop vac is on. :/ After that, I started gluing the back rest together. Even though it isn’t necessary, I put a dab of glue into the mortises for the slats. Pretty standard glue up process, but I did need a diagonal...

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Part 17: Arming the ends

04-06-2016 11:01 PM by AandCstyle | 5 comments »

My goal today was to get the arms glued to the ends. One of my concerns is that this sofa is heavy and people will lift it by the arms whenever they want to move it. Poalini simply glued the arms to the top end rails for his chair but I felt that more was needed for this sofa. Therefore, I took a tip from pintodeluxe in his Morris chair blog (thanks, Willie!) but with a bit of a twist. I cut a 1/4” groove in the tops of the rails and made a curved spline to fit and match the curve o...

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Part 18: The beginning of the end

04-07-2016 10:21 PM by AandCstyle | 5 comments »

I finished up a couple details this AM, then started finishing. Greg wanted to highlight the ray flecks as much as possible. Elizabeth wanted the color to be very dark. Therefore, we settled on Jeff Jewitt’s Mission Oak Finish. Specifically, see sample #3 with the “Oak Park” variation. I applied the TT and here is how the sub-assemblies look currently. Thanks for watching the paint dry. haha

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Part 19: GF Seal-a-Cell

04-08-2016 11:01 PM by AandCstyle | 2 comments »

This morning I scuff sanded all the parts with 320G, then applied the Seal-a-Cell to everything. That needs to dry over night, so I was done for today on this project. Here is a pic of a portion of the front rail with only the TT dye: This is the same piece after the Seal-a-Cell. I can’t see any difference in the pix, but it looked good while it was wet. Tomorrow should be really interesting to see what it looks like after the gel stain is applied.

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Part 20: The end is in sight

04-09-2016 09:49 PM by AandCstyle | 3 comments »

I sanded again with 320G, then applied the Brown Mahogany Gel Stain. Jewitt says to let it dry for 36-48 hours, but the can indicated 12-24 hours drying time. The shop is about 65° and 50% RH so I will try sanding tomorrow with 400G to see if I get any corns or not and let that be the deciding factor. I can hardly wait to see how it looks after the polyurethane dresses it up! This pic is just at the gel stain stage; no poly yet. Also, I am really getting anxious to complete this pro...

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Part 21: Polyurethane

04-13-2016 12:18 AM by AandCstyle | 3 comments »

I’m really close now. This is with the first coat of satin polyurethane. Jewitt recommends only 2 coats of the poly, but GF says 3. I think I will go with 2 and evaluate, but I am hoping that 2 will be adequate. This is the most involved finishing schedule I have ever done and I am ready to be done! haha Thanks for hanging with me during this process.

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Part 22: Good news, bad news

04-13-2016 12:39 AM by AandCstyle | 11 comments »

The good news is that I got the second coat of polyurethane on everything today and Jeff Jewitt’s finish is a winner in my book. It looks great, at least to me. ;) So without further adieu: Now, the bad news, Greg’s schedule doesn’t permit me to deliver this until April 22nd. I will assemble it and do the final glue up after it is in its new home. It is too big and heavy to move from my basement shop as a single piece. That means this blog w...

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Part 23: The Final Installment

04-22-2016 08:24 PM by AandCstyle | 10 comments »

At long last, the sofa is complete. :) I glued the ends and rails at Greg’s house because it was much easier to move in individual pieces. The back rest is attached to the ends by steel pegs. The design was inspired by Stickley’s Orchard Street sofa with the construction details from a Fine Woodworking series of videos by Greg Paolini and the finish is a Stickley finish developed by Jeff Jewitt. All these details were covered earlier in this blog. I will be happy to answer a...

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