Adirondack Chair #5: Legs, Rose and Resawing

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Blog entry by Scott R. Turner posted 12-16-2013 02:52 AM 1856 reads 1 time favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Progress; Compass Rose Started Part 5 of Adirondack Chair series Part 6: Progress »

Made some good progress on the chair this weekend despite the usual competition for my time and attention. One task was to make the front leg supports and join them with the long runners. In a typical Adirondack chair these are just screwed together (and that’s how I made the practice chair) but I decided to do a half-lap joint which I’ll eventually decorate with some pegs. The layout of this isn’t straightforward, since the long runners are at about a 20 degree angle to the ground where they join the front leg supports. Fortunately, the long geometry of the chair means that it isn’t too fussy about the angles—as long as you’re fairly close the chair will be steady and firm to the ground. Still, I wanted it to be as well crafted as could be, so I spent some time getting the angles correct and the two sides identical. Then I pulled out the chisels, saw and router plane and made the half laps.

That’s a Record #71. I’m a little embarrassed by the handles but I’m not a woodturner. If anyone wants to make me a set of beautiful handles, let me know! :-)

The position of the lap required some ingenuity to rout—you can see in the above picture my kludgey setup. I had to make a sled for the router plane, and of course the first sled I made was slightly too thick to give me the required depth. So I had to make a second sled out of some thin oak I had handy. Afterwards I realized that I probably could have flipped the adjuster nut and gotten the depth I needed. Oh well!

Here are the two leg assemblies balancing by themselves. That’s a sign of good workmanship! Or luck. My basement floor is uneven enough that I could probably find a spot to balance almost anything.

You’ll notice the long runners are already stained. I probably should have waited on that, since I still have a lot of work to do on those parts.

I also had a chance to finish glueing up and then cutting and regluing my practice compass rose.

There are some obvious mistakes, but overall I’m very happy with how it came together and I’m moderately confident that I can make the real ones for the chair. The next step for the practice rose is to see if I can inlay it.

I’m also continuing to steam and bend the back slats and seat slats. I can only do two a day because they need to dry for 24 hours on the bending forms. Unfortunately, the two I bent today both cracked while being bent. The back slat had a flaw in the wood—likely an insect bore—and while other slats with similar flaws have bent fine, this one snapped. The seat slat just tore open on the most abrupt bend.

I don’t have any spare slats, so I pulled out my saws and started making some new slats. I cut a 36” length of 4” wide 4/4 mahogany and ripped it into two 2” wide strips. Then I resawed one of the strips to 3/8” thickness. Hand resawing is not one of my best skills, but since the last time I tried it I acquired a Disston rip saw from Bad Axe Tool Works (actually last year’s Christmas present to myself from my wife) and it makes a huge difference.

Straight down the line. Here’s the finished cut.

You can see the alternating diagonals—I cut 6 inches down one side, reversed the board and cut an overlapping 6 inches down the other side, and so on.

“For Beauty, Finish and Utility, this Saw Cannot Be Excelled”

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