Wednesday, February 6, 2008

"How do you scoop out the butt shape for your cherry seat?"

I'm glad you asked. I'm going to describe my current method for shaping a seat, though it is important to note that furniture makers have been shaping seats for centuries using traditional chair making tools. One of them, an adze, is sort of like an ax except the blade is parallel to the surface you are cutting instead of perpendicular. Also, the blade is curved. You can see other tools such as scorps and travishers (I love those words!) at the bottom of this page.

Either way, scooping out a chair seat is similar to scooping ice cream, though it requires a bit more work.

The current method I use to make seats involves shaping individual pieces of wood and gluing them together. I usually use three pieces. Here's how I do it:
I start with three pieces of wood that I've squared on all six sides (more about that in a future post). These three pieces will be glued together side by side.

I draw the profile of the curve of the seat on the middle piece, then cut that curve on the band saw.

For the two side pieces, I hog out most of the material using a router.

With all these steps done, I've gotten rid of most of the material that needs to go. Once I've glued the three pieces side, I'll have the very rough shape of the seat.

Next I start smoothing out the curved shape with chisels and a gouge, which is a curved chisel. I also drill the holes of the leg tenons that will go up through the seat. It's getting very close to its final shape.

Once I've installed the legs and applied the wedges (the wedges are driven into slots cut into the leg tenons to lock them in place), the part of the legs that sticks out will have to be carved down and sanded.

After lots of sanding, we've got a seat waiting for a butt.

1 Comment:

SilverMonk Design said...

just found your blog, enjoy reading your working process. Can't wait to see more. thanks for sharing!