Tuesday, June 2, 2015

June Chair Build

It is June 2nd and time to participate in the June Chair Build that has been promoted by Brian Eve. In case you are not familiar with our host allow me to give you a glimpse.  Brian is a woodworker who is living in Munich Germany and the author of the blog Toolerable.  Brian arrived in Germany in the 1990's while he was in the US Army.  Brian spent eight years in Bamberg Germany and a year deployed in Iraq.  After Brian's discharge from the Army he moved with his wife to Munich, where he is employed as an Army civilian.

Brian started woodworking at the Army woodshop building furniture for his barracks room.  Things like bookshelves, coffee table and blanket chest.   When he arrived in Munich, space was at a premium and it appeared there was no room for a woodshop.  Or was there?  Brian figured if he used only hand tools  he would be able to carve out 100 square feet of space in the basement storage area and have his shop.  Check out this short video of his tiny workspace here.  When Brian has to use machinery he uses the machines at the Dictum GmbH shop or the Army woodshop in Garmisch.

Brian says he especially likes building tools for the challenge and in the end you have a useful tool. Brian also likes blogging because it helps him to think through a project when he can't be in his shop. He also likes the camaraderie of the internet woodworking universe.  Thank you Brian for sharing your story with us.

I will be making a series of post on the chair that I am building and the experiences along the way.  I will be building, of course, a Windsor Chair.  This will be a child's Sack Back Windsor.  A while back a friend was soliciting donations to raise money for a mission trip to Africa.  I donated a certificate for a child's Sack Back, this is the chair that I will be building.

My lovely chair model Chloe

Unlike the chair in the photo above, I will be turning bamboo turnings for the undercarriage and the arm posts. These will be turned in maple.  The spindles, arm and bow will be made from white oak, and the seat will be carved out of sugar pine.

The maple rounds have been drying for a year or two and should be quite stable.  The sugar pine I purchased when Midwest Woodworking in Cincinnati Ohio went out of business.  I was told it had been drying for over 30 years, so it should be quite stable as well.  The white oak is in the form of a large log that has been drying next to my house for a bit over a year.  This gives me reason to pause. While I have used one section of the log to date the other unsplit section has been sitting longer than I would have liked.

Midwest Woodworking stacked wood
After splitting the log open I will take a moisture reading and see where I stand.  If the reading is below 25% I will be afforded the "opportunity" to experiment with soaking the rivings prior to shaping and bending the arm and bow.  Pete Galbert addresses working with air-dried wood in his book Chairmaker's Notebook on pages 146-147. If the moisture content is 25% or above I will make the parts without soaking them.

The only other thing/obstacle to slow me down is me.  I had to have a procedure preformed on my Achilles Tendon yesterday morning and I am to take it easy for the next couple of weeks.  While carving at the shavehorse fits the bill I'm not sure about splitting that big oak up.  In light of this situation I will be doing things a bit out of order from my normal process.

For all that are joining in on the chair build good luck and straight grain to you all.

~ Ray Schwanenberger

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