Popular Woodworking 2008-08 № 170, страница 13

Popular Woodworking 2008-08 № 170, страница 13

Ready for assembly. The front legs (top), front stretcher (middle), and front seat rail (bottom) are ready for assembly. Tenons have been turned but their ends will need to be rounded to clear the round-bottomed hole left by the spoon bit. The rectangular sections on the ends of the seat rail are called pommels.

Whatever works. I don't think the size of the pommel matters. Do whatever looks good to you. I marked in from the centerline of the leg about 1 v4". I trimmed the outside edge just a little proud of the rush.

parts are glued together with hot hide glue. This may be an important design feature. These chairs do tend to come apart with age. A reversible glue, a glue that can be reactivated with more of the same, a glue with some gap filling properties, maybe the key to these chairs' long-term survival.

Why the Fronts are Fancy

There are a variety of different styles of leg and front stretcher turnings. In general, I think these chairs were stored against the walls of the home, not tucked around a dining table, so chair fronts were visible and an obvious location to add ornamentation. Delaware Valley chairs often exhibit exaggerated and bulbous versions of the front stretcher. Leg turnings are fairly simple, featuring beads and coves with a little vase on top. Interestingly, very similar leg turnings would find their way onto Philadelphia's first Windsor chairs. Likewise, the way the front legs tenon into the front seat rail reminds me of a Windsor chair. 1 usually think of the Windsor chair as a highly innovative and revolutionary (forgive the pun) furniture form. But I think this design suggests that Windsor chairmakers were influenced by earlier pieces just like everybody else.

Building the Front

In my last article, I included a diagram showing the locations of the side stretchers at the back legs. In my observation of period chairs, it appeared these stretchers were always parallel to the (loor. So I used those measurements for the front legs. I placed a bead and cove 1" above each of the side stretchers. The tops of the front legs featured a shouldered tenon. I was curious if these were ever tapered like Windsor chair seats. I haven't seen any evidence of that yet. So make them cylindrical like all the others.

The front center stretcher was turned next. Its overall length was about 18". This length allowed lW-long tenons. I determined the shoulder-to-shoulder dimension by subtracting the legdiameter(approximately IV2") from 17" (a dimension that 1 got from measuring numerous period chairs).

The front seat rail was next. 1 sawed out a piece of maple 1" thick x IV211 wide x I9V2" long. 1 purposely left it long so 1 could saw off the lathe centers and trim it nicely to the seat's

shape. The leg positions were marked and locations of the pommels were established. Then it was back to the lathe to turn down the portion between the pommels.

Joint Quality: Not Too Tight

With all four parts done, I glued up the chair front and set it aside. Concerned about joint integrity, 1 first made very tight-fitting tenons. My tenons were so tight that I needed to twist the parts to get them in. This proved too tight

Come together. With the front and back of the chair completed, all I have to do is join them together. Getting the angles and locations correct is simple if you are careful.

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