A new dining room set for my wife! #27: The seat backs. Finally all the woodworking is done!

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Blog entry by GaryK posted 05-27-2011 04:05 PM 2783 reads 3 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 26: Corners done and bottoms up next. Part 27 of A new dining room set for my wife! series Part 28: Upholstering the seat. Finally! »

It took me a while to figure out how I was going to do the back. I had some 3/8” bending plywood, but it took too much force to keep it bent.

I thought about laminating a bunch of thin material, but that would be a lot of resawing, plus my bandsaw is limited to 12” and the back is 13 1/4”.

What I came up with is a sort of glued tambour.

I took a 2×10 piece of southern yellow pine and cross cut into pieces 30” long and then ripped then into 5/16” thick pieces and then cut those in half again.

You can see the larger pieces on the left and the final sized pieces on the right.

I wanted a lot of glue surface so I used a roundover bit on both sides of one edge and then a ball bit on the other.
You can see from the picture that no matter how they mated up I would get a lot of surface area for glue.

Well, after a lot of cutting and routing, here are the over 200 pieces I would need. They were cut in half to 15” pieces after all the routing was done.

It would seem that I am a glutton for punishment, huh?

Then I made a jig to glue them into the shape I wanted. I put clear packing tape on the bottom ribs and rubbed a candle on the top ribs to keep the glue from sticking to anything.

Worked perfect and fit the back exactly!

Once I had the first on cut to size I just used it to trace the cut on the others. I cut them all on the bandsaw since they were getting covered up anyway. I cut the length a little short for any expansion of the wood.

The part is just sitting there in the back. It fit surprisingly well. It’s very comfortable to sit in as it is.

Next is the final operation. The upholstery and then I will finally be done with them.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

24 comments so far

View blackcherry's profile


3349 posts in 5104 days

#1 posted 05-27-2011 04:08 PM

Looking very comfortable already, I’m starting to smell the cooking great work Gary…BC

View SteveL's profile


183 posts in 5049 days

#2 posted 05-27-2011 04:09 PM

Excellent solution to the curve problem! Can’t wait to see the finished results!

-- SteveL

View Bertha's profile


13624 posts in 3974 days

#3 posted 05-27-2011 04:09 PM

Gary, you are an animal in the shop! This is one amazing project and I’m so happy that you took the time to post detailed construction photos (I know it’s a pain). I can’t imagine what it must of been like to make the first cut on this project, knowing there’d be a few hundred thousand more coming! One chair is daunting to me. My hat is really off to you.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 5163 days

#4 posted 05-27-2011 04:12 PM

Go Gary! You da Man.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


17571 posts in 3899 days

#5 posted 05-27-2011 04:27 PM

Absolutely stunning work. Nice Job!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View SST's profile


790 posts in 5476 days

#6 posted 05-27-2011 04:43 PM

Gary, as a couple of “longer timers” on LJ’s, I’ve been watching your projects over the years. You are one of the guys we as woodworkers should all aspire to emulate. I know, those are big words to use, at least for me, but I mean that. Guys like me who are more in the “developing skills” phase of woodworking, should be watching you.

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

View Randy Sharp's profile

Randy Sharp

363 posts in 4954 days

#7 posted 05-27-2011 04:49 PM

Gary, I too, have enjoyed following your progress. I’ve enjoyed my front row seat, watching a master craftsman at work.

Would you mind sharing some details of your glue-up process for the backs? That seems like a lot of pieces and a lot of glue surface to cover, compared to the short amount of time available before it sets up. I’m curious about your “beat the clock” method, considering the micro-detail needed for setting each piece to fit your template and clamping layout.


-- Randy, Tupelo, MS ~ A man who honors his wife will have children who honor their father.

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 5269 days

#8 posted 05-27-2011 05:01 PM

Randy Sharp – Glue up was the fast part. I lined up all the parts with the concave part facing up and clamped them together. Then it took less than a minute to run a bead of glue down the groove on each piece and maybe another minute to lay them all in the gluing jig and call it another two minutes to clamp them up.

Once they are laying in the jig they basically line themselves up. The ribs on top keep all the parts in place when I tighten the two Bessey clamps (The red ones) to apply the actual pressure. They will buckle without the downward pressure.

Total time from the first drop of glue is less than 5 minutes. Then I waited 2 hours for each one to dry before I removed it.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Dabilene's profile


23 posts in 3973 days

#9 posted 05-27-2011 05:19 PM

This is an incredible project. I have enjoyed following along.

Is there room for the fabric/padding to wrap around & fit between the back piece & the frame?

View JonJ's profile


163 posts in 5121 days

#10 posted 05-27-2011 05:39 PM

The way you did the backs is too cool! I just made a part for a project I’m working on that would have worked so much better if I would have used your method…I’ll know next time!

-- Jon

View HallTree's profile


5666 posts in 5049 days

#11 posted 05-27-2011 07:29 PM

Good idea on the backs, as well as the good ideas so far.

-- "Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life" Solomon

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10963 posts in 5333 days

#12 posted 05-27-2011 08:42 PM

Gary, what a COOL solution!

That is one heck of a bunch of routing!!

I guess you had feather boards on top and side to keep the strips in place while just shoving them through?

That is ONE tiring job!

Glad you made it through them OK!

It looks SO GOOD, you could use a better wood like White Oak, Mahogany, etc. and use them for backs on Patio chairs, etc. Looks really COOL!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View bigike's profile


4059 posts in 4570 days

#13 posted 05-27-2011 09:09 PM

very nice

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://[email protected]

View JonJ's profile


163 posts in 5121 days

#14 posted 05-27-2011 10:44 PM

Quoting Joe:It looks SO GOOD, you could use a better wood like White Oak, Mahogany, etc. and use them for backs on Patio chairs, etc. Looks really COOL!

My thoughts exactly…too nice to cover up!

-- Jon

View tinnman65's profile


1417 posts in 4695 days

#15 posted 05-27-2011 11:46 PM

Great solution Gary, I look forward to seeing the upholstery.

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

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