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Wegner-Inspired Deck Chair

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Blog series by Ross Leidy updated 06-15-2020 03:10 PM 21 parts 6984 reads 45 comments total

Part 1: Introduction

05-04-2020 08:28 PM by Ross Leidy | 3 comments »

DisclaimerIf you’re thing is faithful replicas of Danish masterpieces, then read no further. There’s nothing for you here. But if your sensibilities are not easily offended or if your interests are piqued by a project that might literally crash and burn, then read on. Project in a Nutshell Chair designed after Wegner’s CH-27 For use outside Danish cord weave pattern using paracord (woven like the CH-25) Made from cheap construction lumber (potential for “c...

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Part 2: Test burn

05-05-2020 12:18 PM by Ross Leidy | 0 comments »

As I was first considering this project and using construction lumber, I knew I’d want some decent-looking way to finish the wood so it wouldn’t look like a cheap 2×4. I had never tried the shou sugi ban technique, and I wondered if that might be an option. I took a map gas torch and toasted a scrap of 2×4 and got a nice uniform black. A light brushing with a shop brush removed the flakes, but still left the wood mostly black, which I wanted. One coat of water-...

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Part 3: Getting started

05-05-2020 02:46 PM by Ross Leidy | 3 comments »

Like my last chair project, I began by taking some lines from photos of the chair in my CNC software. Rather than cutting out the chair pieces directly on the CNC as I did for the last chair, I chose to create MDF templates on the CNC and will use those to cut out the pieces. I started with the back stile, the long side piece that becomes the back leg, and the front leg. I still need to model the armrest piece and work out the stretchers. The plan is to use the router table with a patte...

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Part 4: Cutting out the main pieces

05-05-2020 05:12 PM by Ross Leidy | 2 comments »

I started with a couple of 2×10’s from the local box store. I figure that one 2×10x8’ would be enough for one chair, assuming there weren’t too many knots to work around. Since this is an experiment on a couple levels, I’ll be building a single chair to start. I started by tracing out the template twice for each piece on the 2×10 and rough-cutting them into individual pieces. I ran the pieces through the drum sander a few times to clean-up th...

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Part 5: Legwork

05-06-2020 03:07 PM by Ross Leidy | 0 comments »

The front legs have a couple of mortises – one at the top for a floating tenon to attach to the arm, and the other midway down the side to accept the front stringer. With the edges still square, I cut the top mortise first. The mortising jig I built for the last chair is really working out well. Before cutting the stretcher mortise, I rounded-over most of the edges on the leg with a 9/16” radius bit. The remaining square edge I’ll round later. For the stre...

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Part 6: Weaving slots

05-07-2020 01:33 PM by Ross Leidy | 1 comment »

I ended up cutting the slots in the back stiles on the CNC where I had an end mill that was long enough to go through the 1-3/8” thick pieces. It worked, but it’s fiddly to setup, requiring that I first make a positioning jig to ensure that the slots are cut in the right spot. For the slot in the long side member, I went a different route, creating a template for the slot in some 1/4” ply for a hand-held router with a guide bushing. (1/4” bit, 7/16” b...

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Part 7: Front leg tenon

05-08-2020 01:27 AM by Ross Leidy | 5 comments »

I took a little time to cautiously shape the tenon on front leg. A little bit of bandsaw trimming and some gentle rasp work got it into shape. As best as I could tell from photos of the CH-27, the front leg tenon fits into slightly off-center mortise in the side member. Given the thicker pieces that I’m using, my mortise was even more off-center. This give some more distance between the seat and leg and gives it that floating look. Also by inspecting photos, the front l...

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Part 8: Front seat stretcher

05-09-2020 07:14 PM by Ross Leidy | 0 comments »

The front seat stretcher has a nice curve to it – should be comfy. I started with an MDF template and cut out two stretchers. One will later become the top back stretcher. I’ll use a mortise and floating tenon to attach it to the side rails. In order to clamp the curved stretcher to the mortising jig, I made a little curved wedge to provide a flat edge that was perpendicular to the end of the stretcher. And used some double-stick tape to hold it in place. ...

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Part 9: Side rail mortises for the front seat rail

05-09-2020 07:32 PM by Ross Leidy | 0 comments »

The front seat stretcher sits back a short distance from the ends of the side rails and down about 1/8” from the top edge. I started by laying out the position on one of the rails. And then I transferred the outline to the other rail. Back to the mortising jig. Test fit. After cutting the matching mortise in the other rail, I did a dry assembly of the parts so far. (The back stiles are just leaning against the doors.) I’m happy with that!

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Part 10: A few more mortises

05-14-2020 07:37 PM by Ross Leidy | 3 comments »

Next I moved on to the rail-to-stile mortises and then those for the rear seat stretcher. The rear seat stretcher has its mortises in the same location, which is not ideal. I went with a double mortise on the stretcher end, allowing the bottom one to intrude into the space created by the one made above. The top one was shallow, but I thought it was better than nothing for supporting the weight that will be concentrated in that area of the chair. I made mortise template wit...

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Part 11: Error and recovery

05-15-2020 10:37 PM by Ross Leidy | 0 comments »

As I was cutting the mortises for the seat back stretchers, I made a goof. On the stiles, I cut the upper and lower mortises the same distance from the edge. I didn’t remember to take into account that on the upper (curved) stretcher I had offset its mortise to one side to better center it in the end of the curved piece. So the stretcher hung over the edge when the tenon was fitted. The fix was to glue-in a tenon flush with the surface on the stile, and then re-cut t...

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Part 12: A start on the arms

05-17-2020 10:27 PM by Ross Leidy | 0 comments »

There are a few things about arms that make them a bit of a pain to setup, and this was one job I definitely wanted to “mark not measure”. I started by temporarily fixing the front leg in place so that it was perpendicular to the rail. This was necessary to set the angle of the flat top the leg, which defines the angle of the armrest, which then dictates where the base of the arm meets the back stile. A few pictures will help. I started with an arm template. I toyed with th...

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Part 13: Arm-to-front-leg mortises

05-19-2020 02:09 AM by Ross Leidy | 3 comments »

The technique I used to mark the mortise locations on the arms was fiddly to get right, but in the end it worked out. On the top of the front leg, I transferred its mortise layout lines onto the leg’s sides so they could be seen from underneath when the arm was in place. With the front leg clamped into its correct position front-to-back and side-to-side, I set the arm in place and then laid on my back to transfer the marks from the legs to the underside of the arm. I probably took 30...

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Part 14: Final mortises?

05-22-2020 02:11 AM by Ross Leidy | 2 comments »

Not much to show for today’s work. I made the arm-to-back-stile mortises (the final ones for the chair) and then tapered the top of the arms on the bandsaw and planed them to clean them up. I’ll soon be at the place where I’ll need to complete the edge round-overs on each of the pieces. One last thing I may do is to shorten all the stretchers a bit. I think that the chair is a little wide, a little off in its proportions compared to the original. I expected th...

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Part 15: Back rails weaving slots

05-24-2020 04:34 PM by Ross Leidy | 0 comments »

The back of the chair will be woven at the same time as the front, and there’s a clever technique that was used to hide the knots when sections of cording are tied together. Caleb James details this in a two-part article in Popular Woodworking, which I bought just for the weaving part of this project. The back top and bottom rails each have a slot that allows the weaving pattern to be altered on the back side while the front continues normally. The back side pattern creates a vertica...

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Part 16: Final shaping and start of glue-up

05-24-2020 07:41 PM by Ross Leidy | 2 comments »

With all the mortises finished, I can finally take the pieces back to the router table for final shaping, which was a combination of different radius round overs – 9/16”, 1/2”, and 1/8”. In some places I stopped short and then blended those areas in with rasp and sandpaper. The underside of the long side piece where the front leg attaches: The hook at top. After a few sanding sessions, I had all pieces ready for assembly. The first things to glue...

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Part 17: Final glue-up

05-28-2020 01:53 AM by Ross Leidy | 3 comments »

After a final dry fit, I did a little bit of final shaping, drilled the holes for the seat weaving bars, and glued-up the rails to the side structures. The front legs, the stretcher between them, and the arms will be a separate glue-up. Holes in the rear seat rail for the weaving bars. There are matching holes drilled in the front seat rail. Little bit of shaping. Weaving bars installed. Clamped and checked for square. I let the glue dry on those pieces be...

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Part 18: Add-on weaving slots

06-01-2020 02:11 PM by Ross Leidy | 2 comments »

I appreciate the cleverness of hidden little details like these. It took a while to find photos of the bare structure of either a CH-25 or CH-27 (without cord or caning). I wondered how they were able to weave around obstacles like where the arm joins to the back stile. The answer was simple and clever – a tribute to the craftsman who built these chairs. They installed additional weaving slots to provide an alternative return path for the cord to avoid the obstacles. To weave my ...

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Part 19: The burning!

06-01-2020 04:28 PM by Ross Leidy | 4 comments »

I waffled many times since the start of this project on whether to follow-thru with using the shou sugi ban technique to get a black finish. But, armed with a number of trials on scraps of the same lumber, I gathered my courage and plunged ahead. I’m very happy with the result. Here are a few photos of before, during, and after. I finished-off by brushing an initial coat of General Finishes Exterior 450 flat. I mixed-in some graphite powder to help tint some areas that were less ch...

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Part 20: Final prep before weaving begins

06-07-2020 06:14 PM by Ross Leidy | 1 comment »

I left the chair to cure a few days after 3 coats of poly, and then finished the last few steps to prep for weaving – attaching the add-on weaving slots and installing a bunch of screws that will take the place of the Danish “L” nails. In this soft wood, the nails would likely work loose after a while, so I instead I used some stainless screws that have about 3/8” of smooth shank at the top. These were installed according to the template from Caleb James’ weavi...

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Part 21: Weaving the seat

06-15-2020 03:10 PM by Ross Leidy | 11 comments »

Finally, the weaving! It goes slowly, but it’s kind of relaxing. I’ve accumulated a number of progress photos over the last few day, so here’s how it’s going. I’ll post some final seat photos once it’s completely done. We’ve been having such nice weather most of this last week, I worked out on the deck for this step. I’m sure this helped make this a relaxing process. One bonus I found with working with paracord is that I don’t hav...

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