Cutting Curved Seats

I made a few children’s chairs using red oak with a flat seat. How do you make the seat concave?

Michael Dresdner: Get a really heavy person to sit on it. No, wait, that only works in the cartoons.

You can carve the seat by hand with a variety of carving chisels, or use one of two tools made specifically for this work — an inshave and a scorp. Both are curved blades with handles designed to pull toward you to scoop out wood. An inshave has two handles; a scorp has one.

Easier and faster is to set up a carriage that allows a router to do the carving. You will find the fixture you need on page 69 of Sandor Nagyszalanczy’s book “Woodshop Jigs and Fixtures” published by Taunton Press.

Lee Grindinger: Drawknives are used, scorps are used and gouges are used. A scorp is deeply curved drawknife. Some chair makers cooper their seats to make the hollowing easier. The easiest of these methods to execute would be the gouge and mallet. The quickest would be the scorp, but it’s tougher to master this technique. I’d suggest you buy a large gouge, like a #9, 2″, and a mallet. Find the grain direction in the slab for your seat and just start removing stock until your seat ‘sits’ well.

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