|Medial stretcher fit to side stretcher|
|Drilling the leg for the side stretcher. I removed the drill for clarity.|
After the legs are reamed and placed in the seat I put painters tape on the legs running with the centerline from bottom to top ensuring I cover the area where the side stretchers will be placed into the legs. I place the piece of plywood with a predetermined angle (I believe this one is 72 or 74 degrees) against the two right legs. Using a carpenters pencil laid flat on the plywood angle I draw a new centerline on the tape. Repeat the process for the left legs.
Next I place a leg in the V-Blocks and adjust the blocks so the new centerline is parallel to the bench top. I set the board upright resting on the angle cut on the board as seen in the photo above, and use it as a drilling guide. It is very important to remember to put the top of the leg toward you and then drill. This will ensure you are drilling the mortise in the correct plane.
The advantage of drilling using this method alleviates having to measure each mortise angle for each leg and allows you to drill one angle that is easily repeated. It is possible because a new average centerline was drawn onto the leg and used as the basis for drilling. If that is as clear as mud I understand. It took me a few times reading it on Pete's blog before it sunk in.
|The H-Stretchers are assembled and the legs set back in their mortises preparing for the glue-up.|
I number each leg and the corresponding mortise. When I glue the legs to the stretchers I start with #1 and continue to #4. When all four legs are glued onto the stretcher assembly the tops of the legs will not fit into their mortises. They will sit on the underside of the seat just to the inside of the reamed mortises. This is due to the rake and splay of the legs. Next I applied glue to the leg mortises and tenons, and with a little pressure the legs will flex enough to enter the mortises. Then with great care seat the legs into the mortises up to the depth lines that were established when fitting the legs.
Prior to gluing the legs onto the stretcher assembly I used a saw to cut a kerf for the wedges into the top of the legs. These kerfs are approximately 2/3 the distance from the leg top to the depth line.
|Legs before wedges are inserted.|
I use hide glue and only hide glue. I have used Titebond or even Elmer's glue in the past, but the problem is that tight parts will seize quickly and sometimes before all parts are where they are supposed to be, and that will make one loose their mind. I use an inexpensive hot pot with a plastic container (cut down Solo cup) to heat my glue to the optimal temperature of somewhere between 110 - 130 degrees. I don't mix my own glue, I really like and use Old Brown Glue.
|My $20 glue pot works like a champ.|
|Wedges in place.|
|Seat with its undercarriage.|
|Wet spindle stock.|
|Short spindles in their octagon shape.|
Our host for this event, Brian Eve, has gotten his chair underway and it looks like it is going to be a nice one. Go check it out here.
~ Ray Schwanenberger