Popular Woodworking 2009-04 № 175, страница 17

Popular Woodworking 2009-04 № 175, страница 17

Inspiration. I think the back of the chair on the left is remarkably similar to the chair I am copying. It's similar, but clearly not a faithful reproduction. Nor does it seem to be a naive attempt 3t reproducing one of Chippendale's designs. The chairmaker in colonial Philadelphia who made the original chairs I am copying may have seen this plate in Chippendale's book and been inspired by it.

project plans in 18th-century chair shops. Philadelphia chairmakersdidtheirown thing. Clear.y we see stylistic relationships between the chairs in the "Director" and surviving chairs. The acanthus-leaf carving, the ribbons and the Chinese or Gothic motifs may have been lifted whole from Chippendale, but these were rearranged into new patterns, very likely unique to each customer.

I've devoted a significant number of pages urging you to design your own period furniture. It's an issue I feel strongly about. But frankly, I don't feel I'm up to the task of designing a Chippendale-style chair back myself. It's not so much the artistic part. 1 don't understand how aesthetic choices I make for my chair's back design will affect the wood work ahead of me. I think it's possible that I can design something that I can't practically build. 1 also don't trust that Chippendale's designs were easy to produce. So I've decided to copy a chair I have seen and photographed. At least I know its design can be made (and made without power tools).

design I wanted. I thought my splat was wide enough for this design. I even added little bits before I shaped the splat thinking these would account for my chosen design. I was wrong. I tried shoe-horning the design into the stock I prepared. I worked on it for quite some time, but I finally gave up. I could have scrapped the splat and made a new wider one. But once again, I decided lo fix it as best 1 could and keep moving forward. This certainly isn't the first mistake I've made on this project and it won't be the last.

1 cut out the design, and laid the paper directly on the mahogany. I marked out the design with white chalk. Pencil can be hard to see on mahogany. By the way, we know 18th-century craftsmen had pencils. But we also see evidence of chalk fairly regularly on period furniture, so we know it was also used.

1 wasn't sure if it was better to saw out the splat before or after it was glued into the chair. I can see advantages and disadvantages to both ways. I decided to try to saw the shape into the splat before it was glued into the chair. My concern was that I woulc have trouble getting my frame saw into some of the small areas. Eighteenth-century chairmakers might have used thin saws like keyhole saws for this sort of work.

I roughed out the shape using my 12" scrollsaw. The featuresofthischairare pretty delicate. I was torn between being bold and cutting very close to the lines, and being more

Sawing the Back Splat

I traced the back of my chair onto a piece of Kraft paper so 1 knew exactly what I had to work with. Then 1 freehand sketched the

Second guesses. Designing the back is a smart first step. I'm not sure what went wrong with this chair, though. The back splat is just a bit too narrow for this design. The dark lines represent the stock / have. The pencil lines are what I think the design should be.

Added width. I coboled these blocks onto my splat to give me enough width for the design I wanted. I'm not sure how these blocks will affect my carving or if they will be very noticeable in the finished piece.

Tight curves. I find it helpful to hold both ends of my scrollsaw to make tight turns. Waxing the blade also helps. I made this saw many years ago and I've found it invaluable. Its 12" blade is plenty long enough for thin stock and it makes this technique comfortable.

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