Popular Woodworking 2009-10 № 178, страница 11

Popular Woodworking 2009-10 № 178, страница 11

Arts & Mysteries

BY ADAM CHERUBINI

Sticking Together

Anatomy of an 18th-century chair glue-up.

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.ighteenth-century Philadelphia's iconic Chippendale-style chairs featured unique joinery. Unlike earlier Philadelphia chairs or New England chairs of the same period, Philadelphia Chippendale-style chairs didn't have lower stretchers (joining the legs together beneath the seat support rails) to help support the back. This design choice put a great deal of stress on the seat-rail-to-rear-leg-joint. Typically, furniture forms with structurally inferior joints (such as William & Mary high chests with their spindly turned legs) don't last long. The pieces themselves don't survive and the forms are abandoned by furniture makers and go extinct.

Wedges

Unique joints. Philadelphia chairmakers working in the third quarter of the 18th century built chairs without lower stretchers. The highly stressed joints between the seat and the back were unique. Rear tenons extended all the way through the back legs. Tiny wedges, hammered in from the back, ensured a tight fit.

Traditional fix. I've had trouble with these joints throughout this series. They have either been the albatross around my neck or my scarlet letter of shame, whichever is worse. Despite my troubles with these loose-fitting tenons, the wedges I'm tapping in are typical of Philadelphia Chippendale-style chairs.

20 ■ Popular Woodworking October 2009

PHOTOS AND ILLUSTRATIONS BY THE AUTHOR

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