Woodworking Projects of Auld Lang Syne
Issue: Issue 292
Posted Date: 1/10/2012
last eZine of the old year led woodworkers to reminisce about
projects from their pasts.
instance, a question in our Q&A section about a reader about to
embark upon building his first chair led this reader to remember when
he was facing the same experience -- and to share his advice. -
'Grand Canyon El Tovar Hotel Chair' from Woodworker's Journal,
December 2008, was the first chair that I ever attempted. I am not a
fan of loose tenons and made the chair using tenons that were cut on
an angle on the seat rails and bottom rails. I agree that chair
making is probably the most difficult project in woodworking.
Unfortunately, instructors and most experts tend to scare woodworkers
into thinking that making a chair is beyond their ability. I had
received the 'Make your first chair from 2 x 4...' I wasn't very far
into the project when I realized that 'I can do this' and used oak
for the chair.
it is not my style to advise anyone to purchase specific woodworking
equipment, [but] the tools for a chair with splayed legs can be had
for about $300. The first is a tenon jig for the table saw. This jig
is used at 90 degrees and can easily be replaced with a shop-made
jig, saving about $100. The second is a digital angle box, and the
third is a repeatable miter gauge for the table saw. The Rockler blue
miter gauge with stops every 2-1/2 degrees is the one that I used;
however, any of the newer miter gauges with positive and repeatable
angle stops will work.
most important part of chair making is to modify the design to fit
the tools and techniques of your shop. For example, my 'El Tovar'
chair has the legs splayed at an angle of 7-1/2 degrees. My miter
gauge has stops at 5 degrees, 7-1/2 degrees and 10 degrees . . .
off of 90 degrees. I can not cut 7 degrees nor 8 degrees. I changed
the design to have 7-1/2 degree splayed front legs. The tenons and
tenon shoulders were cut with the table saw blade at an angle of
82-1/2 degrees. Once the blade was set to 82-1/2 degrees, all of the
cuts were made. The tenon shoulders were cut first and then, with the
two outside dado blades separated with steel spacers, the tenons were
cut. After all the cuts were made, the table saw setup was torn down.
It is necessary to change the miter gauge between plus 2-1/2 degrees
and minus 2-1/2 degrees from 90 degrees during the tenon shoulder
cutting process. This technique permits the mortises to be cut square
to the face of the legs. The mortises can be cut by a variety of
methods, including the router table." - Rich Flynn
as readers shared suggestions for what Rob could build for his first
grandchild (a baby due in the new year), another reader remembered
what he had built for his own children and grandchildren. - Editor
built a Jenny Lind cradle in 1994 from plans I found in Woodworker's
Journal, and it has been through four grandchildren to date. Built
out of walnut, it is still a beauty and a source of pride to this
day. Long before that, though, I built a toy stove, refrigerator, and
sink set for my daughters, along with doll cradles, too. A small
trestle table with benches served many "tea parties" well.
I'm sure there were other things, but all of my children are grown
now and took many of those mementos with them for their own children
to play with." - Ray Nations