The VM Chair Making Project Part II

Posted by on Jan 14, 2015 in Blog | One Comment
Part made chair

Basic chair assembly, still some shaping and the back splats to do.

The Vidar Chair Project has progressed well since my last blog about it. There have been a number of interruptions; a couple of courses and  Christmas and I also broke off to start work on a new version of Grid IV with Christine Meyer-Eaglestone. However all the jointing is complete, I am now working on the shaping.

I had thought that the compound jointing would be the most difficult part of the job but now realise the shaping is very subtle and requires much head scratching. In this blog I will describe how I went about the jointing and talk about the shaping in a subsequent posting.

The jointing of the front and back rails is quite straight forward. On some of them the shoulders may be angled vertically due to a taper in the legs. On the side rails the jointing is a little more complex as there is a splay of about 5⁰ between front and back and the legs are also angled vertically by a curve or taper. The full size workshop drawing was invaluable at this point for determining angles and mortice positions. Detailed drawing work early in a job certainly pays off at this point.

Workshop drawing.

Part of workshop drawing with angles drawn in.

Cutting mortices in curved or tapering pieces can be difficult, especially if you are using a router as I was. That’s why I decided to cut all the mortices while the leg blanks were still rectangular with their datum surfaces intact. By ensuring that the datum surfaces were aligned with the vertical in the workshop drawing and routing from the datums I knew that the mortices would be horizontal (ie a tenon inserted in the mortice would be horizontal). By offering the blanks up to the drawing I could mark off the mortice positions. The mortices were cut with an 8mm wide pocket hole cutter, the long reach of this cutter gave me the depth required for cutting from the remote datum surface. The depth setting was also picked from the drawing.

Only after cutting all the mortice and tenons did I then start forming the curve on the back legs and tapering the front legs. But before that I trimmed the tops of the legs and drilled holes for the 10mm dowels that will locate the arms on the front legs and the crest rail on the back legs. This is best done before the datum surfaces were removed.

Chair leg blank.cutting tenon on saw bench
Back leg blank with mortices cut
on two sides.
Cutting tenon shoulder using
angled blade
and tapered packing...
.....Then the other shoulder.
Cutting tenon on band sawBand sawing tenonDrilling chair back leg
Cutting one side of tenon using
angled packing piece...
... Then the other side, note
additional packing that shifts
the rail over enough to cut an
8mm wide tenon.
Drilling back leg blank for crest
rail dowel.

As I explained in the previous blog I am making the chair as a prototype for an extended course based on a series of chair making seminars. I am pleased with the way the chair is coming together and think it will make for an intriguing course. If you would like to get involved in the VM Chair Making Project please drop me a line  or phone 01943 602836, I’d love to hear from you.

Update: Very pleased with how the first course went. You can read about it here:

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Thankyou, Chris.


1 Comment

  1. The Vidar Chair Project III » Chris Tribe Furniture courses - Woodwork courses for all abilities.
    19th January 2015

    […] I said in my previous blog I found the shaping of the chair parts to be more complex than the jointing. A lot of the subtlety […]


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