Sgabello di Fossacesia #3: Stop Dreaming – Start Working!

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Blog entry by Woodbridge posted 08-18-2014 07:08 PM 2540 reads 1 time favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: It Came to Me In a Dream .. Sort of .. Part 3 of Sgabello di Fossacesia series Part 4: A Seat with Some Curves »

I was able to find olive wood for sale at a hardwood supplier in the greater Toronto area and last fall I purchased 2” x 9” by 8 feet long olive wood board. I would use a portion for the seat and save the remaining portion for another project.

Lately, I have started to build ¼ scale models of my project. Even though I had made a scale drawing (front side and top views) I could not visualize the slope and location of the Windsor style front legs. So I decided to build a simple one of this chair to help me visualize it.

The back would be attached to the seat with a Maloof type joint and the two front legs attached like a Windsor chair. Building a Windsor chair is on my to do list, so I thought this would be good practice.
To get started I cut the oar up into three pieces.

The two top pieces of the oar would be used for the front legs. I turned the second piece to match the oar handle on the first piece and brought both to the same diameter and slight taper. Both were sanded and then burnished with wood chips from the turning.

Then I used Lee Valley’s 5/8” tapered tenon cutter to add a 12 degree taper on each end of the front legs.

I did not want to have a straight back so I decided to cut the back piece in two. One piece for the back leg and the second (the paddle portion) for the chair back.

To rejoin the two pieces I cut square tenons on each end. Each tenon was about 1” thick and 2.5” long. I cut the end of each tenon so that the chair back would slope at 5 degrees and the back leg at about 20 degrees from vertical.

To rejoin them, I sandwiched the tenons using three layers of 1 inch oak. I glued the two tenons to the first layer: a 3’ X 5” piece of oak about one inch thick.
Then I fit two other pieces to match the angles and glued it in as the middle layer. Finally I added another 3” x 5” piece of oak to complete the sandwhich.

The result was that the two tenons were now surrounded and glued into a block of oak 3”inches wide, 4” deep and 5” long. A dado was cut into three side of this block to form one half of the Maloof joint.

You can see the nice shape of the back/back leg in the picture.

I’ll get into shaping the Maloof joint a little later on.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

9 comments so far

View shipwright's profile


8399 posts in 3338 days

#1 posted 08-18-2014 07:27 PM

Very well planned and executed Peter. The little engineer in the back of my mind is worrying a bit about the back joint because of the huge lever attached to it but you’ve made chairs and I haven’t so I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. I’m sure you have it covered.
It is certainly going to look good and represent its heritage well.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View stefang's profile (online now)


16814 posts in 3874 days

#2 posted 08-18-2014 08:56 PM

Interesting design and project. Nicely done so far.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View johnhutchinson's profile


1243 posts in 2169 days

#3 posted 08-18-2014 09:47 PM

I think it’s going to be wonderful. There are a bazillion “occasional” tables out here, so there must be room for an occasional chair.
I have a Thonet bentwood rocker that no one’s ever been allowed to actually sit on—blasphemy. :)

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

View DocSavage45's profile


8872 posts in 3382 days

#4 posted 08-18-2014 10:00 PM


I was thinking along the stress line as Paul brought up. But it’s more of an art chair than a dinner table chair. LOL! I like the pictures with labels. Might even end up with a how to?

Maybe a mystery novel :<)

Looking good!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Woodbridge's profile


3692 posts in 2958 days

#5 posted 08-18-2014 10:18 PM

Thanks for looking and commenting guys.

Thomas: when I was cutting the tenons and joining the two pieces that form the back I have my camera with me and didn’t take any pictures. The marked up pictures are my attempt to explain what I did.

John: yes it really is an occasional chair. It will however have a nicely shaped comfy seat. I would call it a hallway or entrance way chair, but not one that would see long term sitting at a dinner table.

My next chair will be based on a Thonet cafe chair.

Paul, Thomas: hopefully the Maloof joint will be strong enough over the long term. Perhaps I could have embedded it into the seat a little deeper. Oh well, only time will tell.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View DocSavage45's profile


8872 posts in 3382 days

#6 posted 08-18-2014 11:34 PM

I liked the marked up pictures. Makes it clear. Peter it will hold longer than we will.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 4252 days

#7 posted 08-19-2014 04:00 PM

Thank you for the great descriptions!

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View CFrye's profile


10766 posts in 2380 days

#8 posted 08-20-2014 02:11 AM

Following along with great interest! Thanks for all the details.

-- God bless, Candy

View kiefer's profile


5688 posts in 3207 days

#9 posted 08-20-2014 03:24 AM

Hi Peter
Looks like you stopped dreaming and got into the real thing and building the model sure helps visualising .
I wondered where the material for the seat was coming from and now that I see you using olive wood it all comes together and it is a perfect choice ,nothing says ITALY more than olive oils and pizza .


-- Kiefer

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