Wegner inspired dining chair #4: Much more prototyping

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Blog entry by kaerlighedsbamsen posted 09-02-2014 10:16 PM 2717 reads 1 time favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Shaping the back seat Part 4 of Wegner inspired dining chair series Part 5: Seat weaving and finishing up »

Summer is over and work, my business and life in gerneral have taken almost all my time. And my chair project have slowed down considerable. But in shorter periods i have had time in the workshop and done as much as possible. This is a compilation of 6 weeks:

Last time we left about here:

This looked cool but i was not totally satisfied. Things i wanted to improve was:
- The back rest. It is too low and somehow just not´right´
- The general feel of the chair. Is it a little too static?
- The seat is somehow missing something
- There is some issues regarding the seating comfort. Not much but when making a chair from scratch can as well make it perfect for me to sit on!
- It is just gennerealy a bit too ´normal´and is lacking a some edge

Went back to make another template for the back. This time carefully measuring out the different curves to make them repeateable

Making another set of legs. I desided to try to make the legs indifferent angles so that the chair would “lean forward” a little and have a sense of direction. This gave 3 different angles to drill and keeping track of those became an issue

Made a series of wedges for the different angles

Despite all the marking and planning i mannaged to drill a hole to the wrong angle anyway. This was quickly fixed with a plug and some glue

Here gluing up the one side of the chair. In the earlier prototype getting the angles prezice was an issue. Thought about how to solve this without having to make a full scale glue jig i realized that my tablesaw has a sliding table extension that is perfect for the purpose. Just clamped on two boards at the right angles and adding few wedges to keep the end of the tapered legs at the right height. Worked perfect!

Made another back rest. Wanted something that was taller at the back and had more curves on the top. Here compared to the last one. The curve is not totally right but getting closer..

Here from the top. Much nicer curves on the inside and i like how it is thinner at the back

The narrower shape gave a new challenge: The back legs was too fat to fit.

Decided to make two flat sides on the top part of the legs and make a mortice in the back rest insead of a round hole. A whole chair is not easy to clamp in the workbench..

For the inside of the leg the japanese plane worked best. Nice. After learning how to top tune my old European planes i have not used it that much.

Tennons like so

And the finished new prototype beside the old one.

Definitely an improvement! Much, much more ´drive´ in the side view and a nice curve on the back rest.

This day the summer ended and i had to clean out the shop and pack up and go to town for work, school and other booring stuff. Realy didnt want to leave my garden that day!

Used the chair for some time and it was nice but just not ´right´. The top of the back rest lacked elegancy, the seat was boring and there was something about the front legs.
At this point i had a bit of artist’s crisis and could not solve what was wrong. Searched the web for other chairs for inspiration witout result. Then it dawned om me: When making something Wegner inspired you got to ask yourself “what would Wegner have done?”

Of course! How could i have missed it? Back to the museum for more drawings and inspiration. Had a great afternoon there and the nice staff allowed me to take measurements of some of the chairs. Not so much to copy the work but to get the proportions right.

While i sat there with all my gear a lot of people came to chat and a lot of them were architects, designers, cabitetmakers etc that used wegner as an inspiration in their work. Had a lot of interesting talks and left filled with a sense of being back on track again.

Fun how the way you look at things can change. Last time i was there i thought that i got all that i needed with me and had taken with me what was possible. And then, this second time i was there, there was 1000 things and details i had overseen or simply was not aware could be important. Guess i had a zen moment there…

Came home with a lot of sketches and usefull stuff. Allso inspiration for at least 2 more chairs, a cabinet and a table.

Next time i was in the workshop my son Viggo came along and built a boat. He is slowly getting used to chisels and, despite insisting on using oak for the hull, made a quite nice boat. And was quite proud afterwards.
Did not get much work done that weekend but had a great time.

Then this week i had a few days off and finally made som serious progress. One part i wanted to improve was the rails. In the last prototype i had used double tapering rails. This looked ok but was a bit clumsy and did not have the sideways strength i hoped. Allso i wanted the sides of the seat to curve outwards slightly. So turned much fatter double tapers (or, more correctly, a curve) and flattened with a plane

Then rounded over at the router table

The back rest had some issues and the first was the finger joints. Too large and too unprezice. So spent a day doing something i wanted to do a long time: built my own, slightly simplifyed, version of Matthias Wandel box joint jig. I wanted rather narrow joints fort his project and have a 2,5mm saw blade. With a 6mm threaded rod this gives 1mm per turn and so exactly 5 turns per joint. Perfect. So did not bother to make all the gears and stuff.

This gives crisp and prezice joints. And they are easily repeatable. Cool!

For the center part of the back rest i need rather wide joints that, sinse it is a end-to-end joint, need to have super accurate depth. Used sandpaper as a shim for allignment

The side parts is even wider. No problem!

And a test before glueing on the side parts

Turned a new set of legs as well

The Nerf gun drill described earlier in the blog was fun to make but newer worked as accurate as i wanted. Despite having a realy small shop i gave in and bought an (old) real drill pres and a forstner bit (they are super expensive in this part of the world – but wow they makes a nice cut)

Wanted the angles of the front legs to be less pronounced. Here a test to compare to the old prototype

So far the seat has been 90 degrees in the corners. I wanted it to be wider at the front and this meant double angled holes to be drilled. Made this angle guide for accuracy

A quick dry assemble before glueup. Looking good!

Nicer legs as well

Mannaged to get the grain to flow on the back rest.

And glued together. The back rest is just placed on top for a test. This is how it looked this afternoon with the glue still wet.

This is as far as i have gotten for now. Looks promising and i feel that these adjustments have made a great difference. Cant wait to see the whole thing assembled.

The introduction of an angled seat have made using the plastic strapping material a problem. One of the first steps is to try to make a diagonal weave of some kind in order to allow for the stiff material. Otherwise ill need to look around for other materials. Any ideas?

As always thanks for reading. Please share thoughts or questions!

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

12 comments so far

View Texcaster's profile


1293 posts in 3126 days

#1 posted 09-02-2014 10:23 PM

Good blog, nice take on Wegner

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile


1392 posts in 3165 days

#2 posted 09-02-2014 10:26 PM

Thanks Bill. Im not done with Wegner yet but hope he would have been be proud!

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

27685 posts in 4557 days

#3 posted 09-03-2014 04:35 AM

Beautiful build job!! Thanks for sharing all the steps…..............Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View jinkyjock's profile


488 posts in 3026 days

#4 posted 09-03-2014 09:41 AM

This has to be one of the best, most comprehensive blogs I have seen on LJ’s.
You are doing a grand job,
particularly like your finger-joint solution for the back.
Methinks Wegner would approve.
Cheers, Jinky (James).

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile


1392 posts in 3165 days

#5 posted 09-03-2014 10:06 AM

Thank you so much, James.
I have learned so much here on LJ and is just tryin to give a little back. Great to see that it is appreciated!

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 5334 days

#6 posted 09-03-2014 11:32 PM

Very nice work. And thanks for all the blogging, it’s fun to read.

What about cord, jute, or hemp for the seat? It seems like you could do some fancy weaves without adding too much cost. But hey, it’s easy for me to say :)


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile


1392 posts in 3165 days

#7 posted 09-04-2014 01:53 PM

Thanks Steve!
Looked into doing a traditional weave like for instance Caleb James does here but think that it might be too much Wegner-esque 50’ies style and lacking some of our own time. But hey- it looks fantastic and seems to be possible to learn so might go that way after all. Hemp cord looks great and have a nice, soft feel to it.

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View mafe's profile


13872 posts in 4541 days

#8 posted 09-19-2014 09:15 PM

Lovely blog and lovely work.
Love the face of Viggo, nothing like having our kids in the shop.
Cant wait to visit your workshop again, think I have to make me a sled like the one you made.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile


1392 posts in 3165 days

#9 posted 09-20-2014 12:10 PM

Thanks Mads,
You are welcome any day!

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View mafe's profile


13872 posts in 4541 days

#10 posted 09-20-2014 05:43 PM


-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View exelectrician's profile


2339 posts in 3879 days

#11 posted 08-03-2015 04:54 PM

So nice to walk with you as you go from one model to the next – a real learning experience.

Thank you so much for taking the time and patience to show us all the details.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile


1392 posts in 3165 days

#12 posted 08-03-2015 05:14 PM

Thanks Ex! It has been an experience full of hurdles to overcome and stuff to learn.
Glad you liked coming along!

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

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