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Marc Adams School, Day 6

Today was the last day of class. Bob Lang covered several points on installing the ebony plugs and bars in the center back slat. Bob also did a detailed demonstration on techniques for doing the Greene & Greene style round overs, which have some nuance beyond simply running a quarter round bit over the exposed edges. Often the protruding corners on G&G furniture have an extra amount of rounding, almost giving the piece a worn appearance. It is s subtle detail that could go unnoticed if not pointed out.

Some of my class mates used the class made template to route the slots for the ebony bars in their back slat. I elected to pack up early and deal with the remaining work at home so I could get a head start on the 10 hour drive back to Pennsylvania.

Overall this was an awesome class. Bob did a great job bringing us through the fabrication and construction of the chair components and assembly process. His full size drawings and detailed instructions helped assure we were successful. Marc Adams runs a first class school. The facilities are well maintained with plenty of excellent equipment to work with. Even though we didn't finish our chairs during the 6 days, I really didn't expect that we would. There is simply too much work involved in a G&G piece to complete in such a short time frame.

Next step is to get started on the full set of twelve.
Tung - Once again you've outdone yourself. Not only did you take up a very challenging and time consuming 6 day class but you also found time to give the rest of us daily posts (with pictures) that captured the pertinent concepts you were learning that day. I definitely want to go to a class like this one of these days after my youngest daughter gets out of HS (2 years).

I know Bob Lang lurks on LJ so I hope he sees your blog series on the table as well as the class, and ultimately the chairs. Sounds like it was a great class.
 

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Planning the Construction of 12 Chairs

Since returning from the Gamble House chair class at Marc Adams, I have been thinking through the construction process for a full set of 12 chairs. In the class, we performed many of the operations with hand tools which can be time consuming and lead to variation in the parts, especially across 12 chairs. We also used the Domino 500 for several of the joints, which I don't own.

One aspect of the project I have been pondering is cutting and cleaning up of the curves on the wide faces of the back seat apron, crest rails and back slats. In class, we roughed these in using the bandsaw, then cleaned them with various hand tools. I'm not very good with hand tools, so this is a very time consuming process for me that will lead to irregularity in the finished parts. As I spent time researching and thinking through various ways to machine cut these parts, I developed and then rejected several ways that I might accomplish this.

My first thought was to utilize my shaper to pattern cut the parts to templates. This is the same concept used when pattern routing parts, only with bigger tooling. The advantage of utilizing the shaper over a router for this operation is that the larger shaper cutters leave a much smoother finished surface when complete. My first thought was to simply stack rabbeting cutters, which would work but might lead to tear out issues since some of the cuts climb the grain slightly. I then investigated helical shaper cutters like the Byrd Shelix, which would leave a much smoother surface than a straight cutter but are costly. Ultimately I could not come up with a good way to cut all of my parts in a single pass since my shaper spindle is not tall enough. In addition, the shaper cutter required to cut such a large surface would be very dangerous to use, even with a sturdy sled. I abandoned the idea of pattern shaping.

As I browsed the internet for alternative ways to consistently shape these parts, I came across a few people that had adapted spindle sanders to follow patterns. The concept of bandsawing away the majority of the waste and abrasively cleaning the parts up to a template appealed to me as being a safe way to get consistent, smooth results for these large parts (albeit a bit slow). The 6" tall spindles also have sufficient reach to shape the entire face of my parts.

I decided to test the concept with a drill press mounted sanding drum before investing in a spindle sander. I bored a clearance hole in some scrap MDF slightly larger than the drum. After rounding the outside edge I had a quick and dirty pattern follower that will follow an offset template.

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I attached a template to a scrap of sapele with some double sided tape. The template rides face down on the table, against the pattern follower. After a few minutes sanding, I had a well shaped part, offset slightly from the template, without the usual irregularity associated with freehand use of a spindle sander.

Table Wood Wood stain Hardwood Chair


With my concept proven, I stopped at Woodcraft to pick up a spindle sander. I need the tool in hand to get exact measurements of the sanding sleeves and throat plates so I can design my pattern follower and determine the offset for the templates.

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The 2 inch sanding sleeves are actually 2-1/16 outside diameter. The opening in the plate is 2-3/8. I'd like to use a 1/4 inch offset for my templates so my pattern follower will need an outside diameter of 2-9/16. I can turn a follower on the lathe that will press into the opening in the plate. I ordered a short length of 2 inch ID x 2-3/4 inch OD UHMW-PE tubing from McMaster Carr to fabricate the pattern follower from, but it could be made from a piece of hardwood or plywood as well.

With my process for shaping the large parts worked out, I start working through the process flow for each part. With complex projects, I mentally work through the process steps to make each part, sketching as I go. I find that even rough sketches help me to visualize the proper order to do the operations to get the best result. As I sketch, I'm thinking through the templates I will need as well as any tooling or special materials and I note them along the side. By thinking through the steps I can identify errors in my process order that might make a later operation difficult or impossible, all before I cut any material. Here, I am working through the process steps to make the back legs and back seat apron.

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Next Steps: Fabricate a pattern follower for the spindle sander, finish developing my process flow diagrams and finalize the templates in CAD.
Tung,

I seem to recall a variation on your spindle sander solution that used a round disk that was dropped into the bottom of the spindle that was the same diameter as the spindle drum. That lets the template ride on the same surface as the piece being sanded and avoids any play that might come from a slip over ring. The obvious downside is getting the blank to be the exact diameter of the sanding drum
 

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Pattern Sander Setup and Bandsaw Upgrade

With my pattern sanding technique proven and a length of UHMW-PE tubing delivered I got to work making a bushing for the spindle sander. I roughed out a 1" piece of tubing to start.

Adhesive Wood Lighting Rectangle Line


There is just enough clearance between the sanding drum and the table insert to fit a bushing. I turned the bushing on the lathe to a nice press into the existing table insert.

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The bushing provide a 1/4" offset from the sanding drum which will make design of the patterns easier.

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A nice property of UHMW-PE is that it is extremely low friction. This will allow the patterns to glide smoothly along the bushing and also facilitate insertion and removal of the bushing from the table plate.

The spindle sander project kept me busy while I was waiting on delivery of a new bandsaw. My trusty 12" Craftsman served me well over the years, but it was time to upgrade to something with more capacity for this project. Every part on these chairs is touched by the bandsaw except the two front legs and the small lower connecting stretcher. Some of the parts, like the center back slat, are 5 inches thick. A Bigger saw was definitely needed.

I researched a few options on bandsaws. I was looking for something larger than a 14" saw, but not so big that it would be difficult to get into my basement workshop or take up too much room. The Powermatic PM1500 was on my very short list, especially after working on one while at the Marc Adams school a few weeks ago. As luck would have it, SCM put the Minimax saws on sale right around the time that I called to get pricing, putting the MM16 in the same price range as the PM. With larger capacities nearly everywhere, including a 4.8 hp motor, the choice was pretty easy.

About a week after placing my order I received a call from the freight hauler that my crate was ready to pick up. The crate nearly filled my 8 foot utility trailer and had a shipping weight of nearly 800 lbs! I was starting to get worried about getting this thing into my shop.

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Luckily, the shipping crate was very substantial and accounted for about 200 lbs. of the weight. Even so, moving this saw was not going to be a 2 man job. With the help of my neighbors backhoe and some clever rigging we were able to lower it down my outside stairs into the shop.

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Next steps: clean and tune up the MM16, finish designing and order my routing templates in AutoCAD to be CNC cut and pick up another load of Sapele.
Wow that's an upgrade!!!! said the jealous LJ reader ;+)

I just upgraded my 15 year old 12" Delta bandsaw. I bought a new blade, special order to get the 82" size it needs.

That is a really slick idea with the UHMW tubing (pun intended). I wasn't aware that you could get UHMW in tubes. I'm definitely filing that clever spindle sander insert idea away for future reference.
 

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Pattern Sander Setup and Bandsaw Upgrade

With my pattern sanding technique proven and a length of UHMW-PE tubing delivered I got to work making a bushing for the spindle sander. I roughed out a 1" piece of tubing to start.

Adhesive Wood Lighting Rectangle Line


There is just enough clearance between the sanding drum and the table insert to fit a bushing. I turned the bushing on the lathe to a nice press into the existing table insert.

Wood Computer keyboard Gas Font Circle


The bushing provide a 1/4" offset from the sanding drum which will make design of the patterns easier.

Table Audio equipment Gas Cylinder Drink


A nice property of UHMW-PE is that it is extremely low friction. This will allow the patterns to glide smoothly along the bushing and also facilitate insertion and removal of the bushing from the table plate.

The spindle sander project kept me busy while I was waiting on delivery of a new bandsaw. My trusty 12" Craftsman served me well over the years, but it was time to upgrade to something with more capacity for this project. Every part on these chairs is touched by the bandsaw except the two front legs and the small lower connecting stretcher. Some of the parts, like the center back slat, are 5 inches thick. A Bigger saw was definitely needed.

I researched a few options on bandsaws. I was looking for something larger than a 14" saw, but not so big that it would be difficult to get into my basement workshop or take up too much room. The Powermatic PM1500 was on my very short list, especially after working on one while at the Marc Adams school a few weeks ago. As luck would have it, SCM put the Minimax saws on sale right around the time that I called to get pricing, putting the MM16 in the same price range as the PM. With larger capacities nearly everywhere, including a 4.8 hp motor, the choice was pretty easy.

About a week after placing my order I received a call from the freight hauler that my crate was ready to pick up. The crate nearly filled my 8 foot utility trailer and had a shipping weight of nearly 800 lbs! I was starting to get worried about getting this thing into my shop.

Tire Wheel Automotive tire Motor vehicle Tread


Luckily, the shipping crate was very substantial and accounted for about 200 lbs. of the weight. Even so, moving this saw was not going to be a 2 man job. With the help of my neighbors backhoe and some clever rigging we were able to lower it down my outside stairs into the shop.

Gas Engineering Machine tool Toolroom Service


Next steps: clean and tune up the MM16, finish designing and order my routing templates in AutoCAD to be CNC cut and pick up another load of Sapele.
Once again I am reminded that there are so many companies out there that sell just about everything. I use McMaster-Carr to order things at work but I hadn't ever thought about looking there for woodworking supplies.
 

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CNC Templates and Begin Back Leg Fabrication

My routing templates arrived Friday from the millwork shop so I headed out to pick them up. A few of the corners were damaged in transport, so I unwrapped everything to take a closer look.

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After inspecting the templates closely I was relieved to find that the damaged corners were all in non critical areas. It's a good thing I made my routing templates a bit long on the ends to have a little lead in.

Time to get to work. For this project, I plan to fabricate the back assembly first, then cut the angled side rails and finish up with the front assembly. By working in this order, I can adjust the length of the front rail to account for any errors that might accumulate during fabrication and be assured of tight fitting joints.

I start by laying out the back legs. I trace the full size template onto the leg blanks. For darker woods like walnut and sapele, I use a white fabric pencil for my layout lines for visibility. I cut enough parts for fourteen chairs leaving four extras in case of mistakes.

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I head to the bandsaw to rough out the back legs.

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While cutting out the blanks, I came across hidden checking on four of the parts. There goes all of my spares! Any mistakes going forward will require me to make more parts.

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After hardening the edge of the routing template with some thin CA Glue, I affix the template to the poplar set up piece and make a test cut at the router table.

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With my test blank completed, I moved on to pattern routing the legs. This is a large piece at 43 inches long and each part takes quite a while to pattern route.

This is a tricky cut, even with a spiral carbide cutter, due to the end grain and tight radius at the top of the leg. Not surprisingly I lost several parts while routing the top of the leg. Cutting against the grain, even with a spiral cutter, is always iffy.

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Since I have no spares left, I head back to the lumber rack and rough out several more blanks and pattern route replacements. After all the dust settled I end up with eight damaged leg blanks- four with checking and four damaged while routing. I'm down to a single spare leg at this point.

In preparation for laying out and cutting the mortises I arrange the legs on my shop cart, flipping then into pairs of right and left legs. Most of the leg pairs are matched from the same board, but due to the damaged pieces unfortunately not all of the legs could be matching pairs.

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Next steps- lay out and cut the mortises, then move on to the back seat rail.
That has to be frustrating to lose so many planks this soon. At least you have plenty of test pieces for the mortises…

Are you using double sided tape only when pattern routering? I've never been able to get the tape to stick well enough so I use a clamp sled to hold the pattern and the piece. How tall are the legs?
 

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Back Leg Mortises and Back Seat Rail

Now that the back legs are routed to shape, I move on to cutting the mortises. I start with the back seat rail mortises. The back seat rail sits flush with the inside of the back leg, so it makes sense to cut both mortises using the same setup to assure the parts fit perfectly flush.

I first lay out the mortise on the end of the back seat rail setup piece, which is made from poplar. The Leigh FMT jig only requires that the center of the mortise be marked with cross hairs, but as a double check I layout the full mortise to verify size and location along with the mortises for the back slats and the final profile of the rail.

Next I lay out the matching mortise on the leg and verify that everything is aligned correctly.

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The Leigh FMT jig is equipped with toggle clamps and a stop that, once setup, allow multiple parts to be made very quickly with perfect repeatability.

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The cross hairs that mark the center of the mortise are used in conjunction with the 'targeting sight' on the FMT to very accurately locate the center of the mortise.

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First, I cut all of the mortises on the ends of the back seat rails. All mortising is done before I bandsaw the back scalloped profile to provide large flat clamping surfaces.

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Next, I route the matching mortises in the back legs utilizing the same setup in the FMT, assuring a perfectly flush fit. Since the mortises are near the center of the back leg, I must use the extension feature of the FMT to create a stop with a scrap block of wood and a clamp.

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The legs are mortised in mirror image pairs, so two setups are required on the FMT to make sets of left and right legs.

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With the back seat rail mortises complete, I move on to creating the mortises for the crest rails. These mortises are cut at an angle into a curved section of the leg, so the FMT jig will not work easily for these mortises.

To solve this problem, I use a jig made from two CNC machined templates. Together they form a jig for routing the mortise. One template has an oversize slot that matches a router bushing. The other template has a leg shaped opening that positions the leg to properly mortise. This image shows the bottom of the jig with a leg fit in place, ready to be flipped over to route the mortise.

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The template is designed to be used for both the left and right hand legs by simply switching the locating template to the other side. After a little fine tuning of the opening in the template to allow my router bushing to clear smoothly, I cut all of the mortises.

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The remaining mortises on the back legs for the side seat rails and lower stretchers are parallel to the front face. These will be cut later.

Next I build a mortising jig to cut the four mortises on the top of the back seat rail that will be used for the back seat slats. Since two of these mortises are angled, the FMT would be difficult to use. I build the jig from a CNC cut template that locates all four mortises.

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The finished mortises are quick to cut using the jig.

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With all of the mortises cut in the back seat rail, I bandsaw the scalloped outer profile.

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To prepare for pattern sanding the profile, I assemble another jig using a toggle clamp and CNC cut template. The template mounts to the bottom of the jig and is 1/4" undersize to account for the pattern follower mounted on the spindle sander.

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The pattern sanding technique does a nice job cleaning up the bandsaw marks and developing the final shape on the rails. Due to the height of the part, the top 1/8" of the seat rail does not get sanded. It is easily cleaned up using a spiral pattern bit in the router table after the sanding is completed.

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The back seat rails are now ready for final sanding.

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I do a quick test fit to verify everything looks correct.

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So far so good!

Next step: fabricate the crest rails.
I'm worn out just reading all of the work you've accomplished. That is a lot of work that you've completed. Sounds like things are going smoothly as well.
 

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Crest Rails

The next component to be made is the crest rail. This part has a complex profile as well as a curved face and back, making it a bit more difficult to fabricate. I begin by laying out the part on all of the faces of my poplar setup piece.

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The order of operations is critical for this part to assure that everything comes out as accurate as possible.

I begin by cutting the mortises. The two mortises in the ends of the piece are easily done using the Leigh FMT jig, as are the two center mortises on the underside. The outer mortises on the underside are angled, so I use a CNC cut template to machine those.

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I decided to take my poplar setup part completely through the shaping process to vet out the proper order of operations. I started by roughing the concave curve using the bandsaw. I save the cut-off, as I will need it later. I then use a CNC cut template and the spindle sander to bring the concave face to final shape. The part is too tall to complete using the spindle sander, so I clean up the last 1/2" using a pattern bit in the router table. After the first curve is completed, I bandsaw the opposing curve, spindle sand and route that face. I now have the curved shape completed, ready to move on to shaping the profile. I tape the cutoffs from the bandsaw back in place on the part, then rough out the profile. I use a 5/8" Forstner bit to rough out the inside radii, while the rest of the profile is cut with the bandsaw and a saber saw to remove the waste from the hand hole. Another jig and template are used to pattern route the profile. The part looks good in the profile, but there is a problem- I bored the holes with the Forstner bit after I had cut and shaped the curve in the crest rail, with the cut-offs taped back in place. The clearance between the cut-offs and the part was large enough that there was some blow out on the back side of the part.

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Good thing I decided to take my setup piece completely through all of the fabrication steps before I moved on with my actual parts!

To eliminate the issue, I re-arranged the order of operations to put the boring of the holes first and tested the new order of operations on the next part.

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I rough the inside curve on the bandsaw, pattern sand and route the shape, then rough the outside curve.

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Mounted in the next jig, the part is ready for pattern sanding the outside curve.

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With the inside and outside curves completed (and no blow-out!), I tape the parts back together and rough out the profile using the bandsaw and saber saw.

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Mounted in the routing jig with the template, I pattern route the profile.

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The finished part looks nice, so I do a quick dry assembly to verify the fit is good.

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With the first part completed without any issues, I'm ready to move on to the next step: finish out the crest rails for the remaining 13 parts.
I managed to cut a couple of the curves for the crest rails and back rails last night after I got home from work before I had to go out and shovel snow. You did 10X that much, if not more, and it is a lot more complicated than what I'm doing. Plus the quality and attention to detail you are achieving is outstanding.

How many hours a day are you working on the chairs? Also, a really basic question - what kind of white pencil are you using? Is it something you order online? The ones I get at the Hobby store don't work well.

I agree with you about blogs - they are there for others to learn. The mistakes are probably the most important part of the blog. If you mess something up, tell others about it and how you fixed the problem so they can learn from it and not make the same mistake.
 

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Crest Rails

The next component to be made is the crest rail. This part has a complex profile as well as a curved face and back, making it a bit more difficult to fabricate. I begin by laying out the part on all of the faces of my poplar setup piece.

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The order of operations is critical for this part to assure that everything comes out as accurate as possible.

I begin by cutting the mortises. The two mortises in the ends of the piece are easily done using the Leigh FMT jig, as are the two center mortises on the underside. The outer mortises on the underside are angled, so I use a CNC cut template to machine those.

Wood Wheel Tire Composite material Rectangle


I decided to take my poplar setup part completely through the shaping process to vet out the proper order of operations. I started by roughing the concave curve using the bandsaw. I save the cut-off, as I will need it later. I then use a CNC cut template and the spindle sander to bring the concave face to final shape. The part is too tall to complete using the spindle sander, so I clean up the last 1/2" using a pattern bit in the router table. After the first curve is completed, I bandsaw the opposing curve, spindle sand and route that face. I now have the curved shape completed, ready to move on to shaping the profile. I tape the cutoffs from the bandsaw back in place on the part, then rough out the profile. I use a 5/8" Forstner bit to rough out the inside radii, while the rest of the profile is cut with the bandsaw and a saber saw to remove the waste from the hand hole. Another jig and template are used to pattern route the profile. The part looks good in the profile, but there is a problem- I bored the holes with the Forstner bit after I had cut and shaped the curve in the crest rail, with the cut-offs taped back in place. The clearance between the cut-offs and the part was large enough that there was some blow out on the back side of the part.

Wood Rectangle Automotive exterior Hardwood Wood stain


Good thing I decided to take my setup piece completely through all of the fabrication steps before I moved on with my actual parts!

To eliminate the issue, I re-arranged the order of operations to put the boring of the holes first and tested the new order of operations on the next part.

Wood Rectangle Automotive exterior Bumper Composite material


I rough the inside curve on the bandsaw, pattern sand and route the shape, then rough the outside curve.

Wood Plywood Flooring Pattern Metal


Mounted in the next jig, the part is ready for pattern sanding the outside curve.

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With the inside and outside curves completed (and no blow-out!), I tape the parts back together and rough out the profile using the bandsaw and saber saw.

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Mounted in the routing jig with the template, I pattern route the profile.

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The finished part looks nice, so I do a quick dry assembly to verify the fit is good.

Wood Flooring Floor Rectangle Composite material


With the first part completed without any issues, I'm ready to move on to the next step: finish out the crest rails for the remaining 13 parts.
Tung - thanks for the link to the white pencils. I just ordered a couple of them. I had previously looked on Amazon but nothing showed up. Wrong choice of search words I guess….
 

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Center Back Slat- Part 1

After finishing up the crest rails, I move on to the center back slats. I begin by making up the loose tenon stock I will need. After cutting the stock to width, I fine tune the thickness with the drum sander and add the rounded edges with a bullnose bit in the router table.

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I start by making a test center slat from poplar. I cut the angled ends and mortises while the stock still has straight edges. To determine the angles for the end cuts, I use a MDF story stick. By cutting the angles on the end of the story stick, I can sneak up on the correct length for the part. Using the side profile template, I mark the story stick to show the outline of the part.

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I transfer the angles to the miter saw and trim the ends.

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After the end cuts are made, I set up the parts in the Leigh FMT and cut the mortises.

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With the mortising complete, I move on to cutting the curves. First I rough cut the inside curve with the bandsaw. My original plan was to pattern sand the curves. I set up the pattern sanding jigs and did a test with my poplar set-up part. The sanding time was excessive, so I decided to go old school and broke out the spoke shaves to perform the preliminary cleanup work, then finished off the part on the belt sander.

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Once the curves are complete I tape the cutoffs back in place and band saw the profile. A few strokes with the spoke shave cleans up the edges. A float and some thin files clean up the 'V' cut in the bottom. The spoke shaves and floats work well to break the edges.

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A quick test shows the center slat fits nicely.

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With my poplar test piece completed, I move on to making the real parts. For the actual chair components, I rough out fourteen blanks 9 inches wide then rip 1-3/4 inches off either side.

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I make sure to keep the parts carefully labeled to maintain grain alignment for the finished chairs.

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I set aside the side slats for now to work on the center slats. Back at the miter saw I cut the angled ends. After cutting one side, I set up a stop block to assure all of the center slats are the same finished length.

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With all of the stock cut to length, I'm ready to move to the next step, cutting the mortises and curves.
That poplar test piece even looks great as the back splat. Looks like the crest rails turned out good as well. It looks like you have a lot of waste on the curves. Are going to be able to use any of it for smaller pieces?

I'm a bit lost on your reference to using the spoke shave on the curve. Is there a reason you didn't use template routing to get the final curve and then sand it smooth?

I also see your white lead pencil. I ordered a couple of them after you sent me the details on how to find them. They do a much better job of marking than the white pencil I was using.
 

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Center Back Slat- Part 1

After finishing up the crest rails, I move on to the center back slats. I begin by making up the loose tenon stock I will need. After cutting the stock to width, I fine tune the thickness with the drum sander and add the rounded edges with a bullnose bit in the router table.

Wood Flooring Floor Red Gas


I start by making a test center slat from poplar. I cut the angled ends and mortises while the stock still has straight edges. To determine the angles for the end cuts, I use a MDF story stick. By cutting the angles on the end of the story stick, I can sneak up on the correct length for the part. Using the side profile template, I mark the story stick to show the outline of the part.

Wood Rectangle Flooring Table Floor


I transfer the angles to the miter saw and trim the ends.

Automotive design Rim Bicycle part Automotive tire Engineering


After the end cuts are made, I set up the parts in the Leigh FMT and cut the mortises.

Wood Rectangle Audio equipment Hardwood Gadget


With the mortising complete, I move on to cutting the curves. First I rough cut the inside curve with the bandsaw. My original plan was to pattern sand the curves. I set up the pattern sanding jigs and did a test with my poplar set-up part. The sanding time was excessive, so I decided to go old school and broke out the spoke shaves to perform the preliminary cleanup work, then finished off the part on the belt sander.

Hood Automotive tire Bumper Wood Composite material


Once the curves are complete I tape the cutoffs back in place and band saw the profile. A few strokes with the spoke shave cleans up the edges. A float and some thin files clean up the 'V' cut in the bottom. The spoke shaves and floats work well to break the edges.

Table Wood Tool Machine tool Gas


A quick test shows the center slat fits nicely.

Wood Automotive exterior Floor Hardwood Wood stain


With my poplar test piece completed, I move on to making the real parts. For the actual chair components, I rough out fourteen blanks 9 inches wide then rip 1-3/4 inches off either side.

Wood Rectangle Hardwood Brick Gas


I make sure to keep the parts carefully labeled to maintain grain alignment for the finished chairs.

Brown Rectangle Wood Material property Wood stain


I set aside the side slats for now to work on the center slats. Back at the miter saw I cut the angled ends. After cutting one side, I set up a stop block to assure all of the center slats are the same finished length.

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With all of the stock cut to length, I'm ready to move to the next step, cutting the mortises and curves.
I know what you mean about hoarding scraps that you have every intention to use. It feels wrong to throw them away or burn them, but a yer's scraps can be a pretty big pile. That's why I'm doing the 2018 box swap, to use some of the scraps. I'm also going to go crazy on clocks and any manner of other interesting nic-nacs, at least until I get tired of working with little projects and switch back to big pieces. My goal this spring is to clear out the scraps and also use all of the lumber I've been hoarding as well.

I found the I could use my 5" random orbit sander to sand the concave (front) portion of the crest and back rails without things looking too wavy (180/220 grit). I also used it on the convex (back) curve to good effect.

I saw some yellow, red, green, and blue lead for the fabric pencils on Amazon. Might have to try some just for fun.
 

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Center Back Slat- Part 1

After finishing up the crest rails, I move on to the center back slats. I begin by making up the loose tenon stock I will need. After cutting the stock to width, I fine tune the thickness with the drum sander and add the rounded edges with a bullnose bit in the router table.

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I start by making a test center slat from poplar. I cut the angled ends and mortises while the stock still has straight edges. To determine the angles for the end cuts, I use a MDF story stick. By cutting the angles on the end of the story stick, I can sneak up on the correct length for the part. Using the side profile template, I mark the story stick to show the outline of the part.

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I transfer the angles to the miter saw and trim the ends.

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After the end cuts are made, I set up the parts in the Leigh FMT and cut the mortises.

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With the mortising complete, I move on to cutting the curves. First I rough cut the inside curve with the bandsaw. My original plan was to pattern sand the curves. I set up the pattern sanding jigs and did a test with my poplar set-up part. The sanding time was excessive, so I decided to go old school and broke out the spoke shaves to perform the preliminary cleanup work, then finished off the part on the belt sander.

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Once the curves are complete I tape the cutoffs back in place and band saw the profile. A few strokes with the spoke shave cleans up the edges. A float and some thin files clean up the 'V' cut in the bottom. The spoke shaves and floats work well to break the edges.

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A quick test shows the center slat fits nicely.

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With my poplar test piece completed, I move on to making the real parts. For the actual chair components, I rough out fourteen blanks 9 inches wide then rip 1-3/4 inches off either side.

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I make sure to keep the parts carefully labeled to maintain grain alignment for the finished chairs.

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I set aside the side slats for now to work on the center slats. Back at the miter saw I cut the angled ends. After cutting one side, I set up a stop block to assure all of the center slats are the same finished length.

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With all of the stock cut to length, I'm ready to move to the next step, cutting the mortises and curves.
You know you COULD make a few end grain cutting boards with all that scrap and post it in the Projects…... ;-D
 

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Side Slats

With the center slats completed I move to the side slats, arguably one of the most difficult parts of the project. With the center slat already cut, the side slats must be cut very precisely or there will be a gap in the finished assembly somewhere. In addition, both ends of the side slats have a compound miter and must have a mortise precisely placed.

Bob Lang's approach to this in his chair making class was to use a MDF story stick to sneak up on the exact angles and lengths, which worked very well. I started by cutting two poplar pieces to use for the test fitting. Once I had established the correct compound angles for each end, I fit the parts to length by trial and error, taking light cuts to sneak up on the proper length.

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With careful fitting I was able to achieve a tight fit on my test parts. I then laid out the mortises and profile on the slats to match the mortises in the crest rail.

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Moving on to the actual parts, I cut the compound angles on each end then cut the mortises using the Leigh FMT.

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With the mortises complete, I lay out the curves and profiles and head to the bandsaw to rough out the parts. After bandsawing I clean the parts up quickly with a spokeshave. Later I will finish sand them on the belt sander and break the sharp edges.

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The test fit looks good with a snug fit on all parts.

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It's not easy to see in this image, but all three Slat parts were cut from the same blank and kept in order so that the grain will match in the finished chair.

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Next Steps: finish up the side slats for the remaining chairs, then start on the angled side aprons.
This is the part of the project where the details are critical but it seems like things are moving so slow that I am always tempted to hurry or take a short cut, usually to my detriment. Looks like you are staying focused and doing some excellent work.
 

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Preparing Apron Stock, a Router Template and Crest Rail Shaping

With the side slats cut and fit for all the chairs, I turn my attention to preparing the stock for the side and front aprons. I had rough cut the material for these parts a while ago, but had not gotten to resawing it yet. After flattening one face and squaring an edge on the jointer, I set up the resaw blade on the bandsaw and split the boards into two pieces 15/16"thick. I'll let this stock sit for a few days before I take it to the planer for final dimensioning.

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Next I put together a quick template to route the shallow slots for the ebony bars that are inset into the center slat.

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In February I was in Pasadena and took the opportunity to visit the Huntington Library Museum, which houses many Greene & Greene pieces. The museum holds one of the living room chairs from the Gamble House and that gave me a good opportunity to study an original up close. The crest rail is beautifully shaped with a lot of rounding and shaping evident. Here is a close up of the crest rail on the original.

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The subtle curves and shaping done on these pieces is amazing and could be easily overlooked.

I realized that my stylized version of the chair would benefit greatly from some extra shaping and rounding, so I began working on my poplar setup pieces to see what i could come up with. The leg tops were straightforward. I shaped them with some rasps and finalized them with some sandpaper.

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For the crest rail, I first thinned and tapered the top half of the piece, then rounded the corners with a rasp. I finished up with some sandpaper.

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These pieces still need some additional shaping work, but they are already looking much better.

Next steps- shape the crest rails and the tops of the legs and cut the side rails for the seat.
A couple of days back I posted a picture of a G&G chair that is in the Chicago Art Institute in the 2018 Box forum. The version you posted looks to be slightly different. The shaping really does change the look with all of the edges rounded over rather than just taking the edge off. Keeping the shaping consistent looks like it will be a challenge and rather time consuming as well.
 

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Preparing Apron Stock, a Router Template and Crest Rail Shaping

With the side slats cut and fit for all the chairs, I turn my attention to preparing the stock for the side and front aprons. I had rough cut the material for these parts a while ago, but had not gotten to resawing it yet. After flattening one face and squaring an edge on the jointer, I set up the resaw blade on the bandsaw and split the boards into two pieces 15/16"thick. I'll let this stock sit for a few days before I take it to the planer for final dimensioning.

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Next I put together a quick template to route the shallow slots for the ebony bars that are inset into the center slat.

Rectangle Wood Table Art Floor


In February I was in Pasadena and took the opportunity to visit the Huntington Library Museum, which houses many Greene & Greene pieces. The museum holds one of the living room chairs from the Gamble House and that gave me a good opportunity to study an original up close. The crest rail is beautifully shaped with a lot of rounding and shaping evident. Here is a close up of the crest rail on the original.

Picture frame Wood Wood stain Hardwood Musical instrument


The subtle curves and shaping done on these pieces is amazing and could be easily overlooked.

I realized that my stylized version of the chair would benefit greatly from some extra shaping and rounding, so I began working on my poplar setup pieces to see what i could come up with. The leg tops were straightforward. I shaped them with some rasps and finalized them with some sandpaper.

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For the crest rail, I first thinned and tapered the top half of the piece, then rounded the corners with a rasp. I finished up with some sandpaper.

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These pieces still need some additional shaping work, but they are already looking much better.

Next steps- shape the crest rails and the tops of the legs and cut the side rails for the seat.
Hah - I lied. I didn't post the chair pictures. They were a G&G table and a Harvey Ellis chair. I'll have to find the picture of the G&G chair and post it for comparison.
 

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Preparing Apron Stock, a Router Template and Crest Rail Shaping

With the side slats cut and fit for all the chairs, I turn my attention to preparing the stock for the side and front aprons. I had rough cut the material for these parts a while ago, but had not gotten to resawing it yet. After flattening one face and squaring an edge on the jointer, I set up the resaw blade on the bandsaw and split the boards into two pieces 15/16"thick. I'll let this stock sit for a few days before I take it to the planer for final dimensioning.

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Next I put together a quick template to route the shallow slots for the ebony bars that are inset into the center slat.

Rectangle Wood Table Art Floor


In February I was in Pasadena and took the opportunity to visit the Huntington Library Museum, which houses many Greene & Greene pieces. The museum holds one of the living room chairs from the Gamble House and that gave me a good opportunity to study an original up close. The crest rail is beautifully shaped with a lot of rounding and shaping evident. Here is a close up of the crest rail on the original.

Picture frame Wood Wood stain Hardwood Musical instrument


The subtle curves and shaping done on these pieces is amazing and could be easily overlooked.

I realized that my stylized version of the chair would benefit greatly from some extra shaping and rounding, so I began working on my poplar setup pieces to see what i could come up with. The leg tops were straightforward. I shaped them with some rasps and finalized them with some sandpaper.

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For the crest rail, I first thinned and tapered the top half of the piece, then rounded the corners with a rasp. I finished up with some sandpaper.

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These pieces still need some additional shaping work, but they are already looking much better.

Next steps- shape the crest rails and the tops of the legs and cut the side rails for the seat.
Tung - here are the G&G chair pictures. Looks like they were from a different set altogether.

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Side Rails and Front Legs-Part 1

Rather than dive into all of the hand work to shape the crest rails now, I decide to finish up cutting the side rails. I rough cut my side rail stock a few weeks ago. Now that it has had time to acclimate to the shop, I resaw the 8/4 stock then edge joint and plane everything to 13/16" thick. Since the length of the lower side stretchers is the same as the side rails, I prepare stock for those parts so I can miter and cut them all to length with a single setup of the saw. With the ends mitered, I mortise both ends with the Leigh FMT.



Once the mortises are complete on the side rails and lower stretchers, I transfer the locations to the back legs and set up the Leigh FMT to cut the mortises.



After cutting all of the leg mortises for the side rails, I do a quick dry fit to check that everything looks good.



Since the Leigh FMT is set up to cut the leg mortises, I go ahead and cut the mortises in the front legs at this time. It's critical to keep the left and right legs marked to prevent mixing them up. Since the mortise is slightly offset from center, they are not interchangeable.



Once the front leg mortises are cut, I do another dry fit to check progress and alignment.



Starting to look like a chair now!

Next steps: Cut parts and mortise for the front seat rail and lower stretcher parts, then pattern route the cloud lifts in those parts.
Looks good. I see you have some test inserts on the back of the chair on the right. Just that little detail makes such a difference compared to the chair in the foreground without them. The lower side stretcher cloud lift details look great too. There are so many small details on G&G that make the style so unique. They just take a long time to complete correctly.
 

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Lower Stretchers

I start by cutting the mortises in the legs for the lower side stretchers. I then cut the mitered ends on the side stretchers and fit the length.

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With the side stretchers fit I move on to cutting the mortises for the center stretcher. The center stretcher has a through tenon on each end. I set up the Leigh FMT to cut the mortises in the side stretchers, then square up the ends with a chisel.

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I miter the ends of the center stretcher with the miter saw, then cut the square tenons on the Leigh FMT. I cut a few extra parts to cover any potential mistakes.

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After a little fine tuning with a float, the tenons and mortises fit together snuggly.

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Next I layout the cloud lift, rough cut to shape on the bandsaw and pattern route the final shape with a spiral carbide bit.

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Next steps: fabricate and fit the ebony bars and square plugs, break and shape the sharp edges then finish sand for assembly.
There are so many subtle details and tricky joinery in the G&G chairs. No wonder they never really were able to mass produce furniture like Stickley did.

You should have those plugs and bars knocked out in no time. Do you have all of the mortises cut for the plugs and bars?
 

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Rounding Parts and Establishing Plug Locations- Part 1

With the lower stretchers rough cut and the cloud lifts formed, I move on to some of the detail work.

First, I round over the edges of the lower stretcher parts with a 1/8" round over bit in the router table. With the rounding complete, I compare 3/16" and 1/4" square ebony plugs for size on the lower stretcher.

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The 3/16" plug looks better to my eye so I cut 3/16" square holes in all of the stretcher parts using the Lee Valley square punch. Except for a bit of hand work on the cloud lifts and final sanding, these parts are ready to assemble.

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Next, I work on getting the front legs ready. The sides of the front legs are angled to match the angle of the side aprons. I lay out the angle and cut the legs on the table saw, making sure to keep the right and left legs oriented correctly. I round them over on the router table and set aside, ready for square plug holes and final sanding.

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Next, I round over the edges of the front and side aprons and set those parts aside for final sanding.

Before I begin rounding over the back legs and crest rail, I establish the locations for all of the plug holes. I like to do this with the actual plugs whenever possible, but I'm short on 1/4" ebony plugs so I make up a handful. This chair has 27 ebony plugs in total, plus 8 ebony bars. Not a lot by Greene & Greene standards, but with 15 chairs in the works that's over 400 plugs and 120 bars.

There are a lot of ways to make these plugs but I use a method that I find fast and repeatable. I head to the lathe and make up a batch using the process I worked out on a previous project. I start with a handful of long 1/4" ebony plug stock mounted in a four jaw chuck. I can make the plugs in batches by forming a plug on each end of several sticks, then cut them off and repeat.

I form the initial pillow shape with a file, then finish up with a 400 grit sanding sponge. This does not leave a polished finish, but since I will be spraying these chairs with lacquer when completed the 400 grit is sufficient.

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With a few plugs ready, I establish the locations for all of the square holes in the crest rail and upper part of the legs.

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Next steps: finish rounding over the back leg assembly components, cut the square holes and fabricate a batch of ebony plugs.
Looks like you are "plugging" away at it….. yep you knew that pun was coming.

It's surprising how many plugs and bars are on any given piece of G&G furniture. Without them, though, the piece doesn't look nearly as nice.
 

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Plug Locations and Square Holes- Part 2

With my plug locations established, I move on to drilling the holes and cutting the square plug holes. I set up stops on the drill press and drill the clearance holes in the front legs, back legs and crest rails.

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There are 27 square plugs on each of the 15 chairs, for a total of 405 square plugs.

After all of the clearance holes are drilled, I cut the square plug holes using the Lee Valley square hole punches. I align the punch with the hole using a long dowel pin, then square the punch with a saddle square. A spare loose tenon inserted into the mortise helps keep the mortise wall from collapsing as I cut the square plug hole.

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It takes about 12 hours to cut 405 square plug holes by hand. A hollow chisel mortiser would have been a good investment.

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After cutting all of the square plug holes, the top of the square plug cutter has mushroomed quite a bit and will need to be cleaned up on the grinder later.

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Next steps: shape the tops of the legs and crest rails, finish sand, cut and fit the ebony bars and make up a batch of ebony plugs.
Ugh 400 plugs all by hand. I agree that a mortising machine would have helped speed things along. Still, you have to keep the mortising chisels sharp or they start making a real mess. Good to see you made it through this part without any major mishaps.

I need to get one of those saddle squares for punching G&G plug holes. It looks a lot more efficient than eye balling it or trying to make a jig or use a regular square.
 

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Shaping and Sanding

It's been a while since I posted an update on this project, largely because I spent most of the summer shaping and sanding. Pretty boring stuff but I thought I'd post a few progress pictures anyhow.

The top of the rear legs on the original chairs is quite heavily rounded. To approximate this look, I lay out the shape on the leg with a white pencil. I mark the centerline of the leg as well as the curve on both sides so I have a reference line to work to.

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The round over is shaped with various floats and progressively finer rasps.

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Completed batch.

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The bottom of the legs are shaped as well, but just a slight round over.

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The bottoms of the rails and most other parts get rounded over and softened as well. The original G&G pieces all have a 'worn soft' shape that is subtle but really helps complete the look. It's also time consuming to reproduce.

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Cleaning up the bandsaw marks on the tapered slot in the center back splat proved to be a challenge. Luckily I had a very thin file that fit at the narrowest point.

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The rest of the parts were shaped similarly, using spokeshaves, rasps and files. Figuring out how to hold these parts was half the challenge. My old benchtop Workmate with a Kreg self adjusting clamp was a big help.

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Before and after shaping and sanding the back splats.

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After that just a lot of boring sanding. I went through quite a few disks on the ROS sanding these parts.

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A very large pile of parts, almost ready for assembly.

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Next step: cut the pockets for the ebony splines in the center back splats.
I was just re-reading your previous entries for my G&G fix for the week. I can only imagine how many hours you have into sanding and shaping everything. My sand paper stack would be about 10x bigger since I get impatient and pull the paper off before it is worn down.

I think you might have to invest in a new ROS after this. If so, take a look at the Mirka Deros. I switched over to one after I started getting carpal tunnel pain and numbness in my hands from my Dewalt ROS sander which really helped. It's expensive, but a lot less costly than surgery.
 

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