VM Chair Project V

Posted by on Mar 22, 2015 in Blog | One Comment
Gluing up a chair

In the previous blog on the VM Chair project I had completed the jointing and shaping of the chair, so I’m now ready to glue up.

Gluing up was completed in four stages.

  • First the front and back legs were glued up separately. To ensure alignment when later gluing up the side rails I had these dry assembled whilst the front and back legs were clamped.
  • The side rails were glued up to joint the front to the back.
  • The crest rail and back splats were glued up.
  • Finally the arms were fitted.

With some of the curved pieces it was important not to distort them by over tightening the clamps. To help prevent this quick clamps were applied to areas where the greatest flexing was likely to occur.

With the chair assembled the finish could be applied. To stay in keeping with the Scandinavian heritage of this chair I decided to use a soap finish. This is a commonly used finish in Scandinavia that is reputed to have a low build and to be very resilient. I was interested to see how it turned out.

The finish was made using Boots soap flakes (not normally found in Boots shop but can be ordered online). It is important to use pure soap with no additives or impurities which may have an impact on the final finish. The flakes were mixed with an equal volume of boiling water. This produced a transluscent liquid which changed to a white creamy consistency on drying. I found it was easier to apply in the liquid state if the mixture could be kept hot in a tray of hot water or a double boiler. The mix was applied with a cloth, it cooled on the wood and left the odd white lump on the surface. These came away when the finish was buffed with a piece of towelling.

I found the resulting finish unlike anything I had used before. It did not appear to have formed any film on the surface so to the touch it seemed the wood was almost untreated. There was also very little darkening. I was impressed, but it remains to be seen how the finish will wear.

The final task was to weave the seat in Danish cord. I will show how this was done in my last blog on the VM Chair Project.

Gluing up chair

Gluing up the front and back legs. The rest of the joints are just dry assembled at the moment. This is to ensure the joints are aligned correctly for when they are later glued up.

Gluing the side rails to join the front to back legs.

Gluing up chair

Gluing the crest rail and splats. Care was taken to prevent flexing of the curved pieces.

Gluing up a chair

…..Quick clamp used to stop flexing of the splats….

Gluing up chair

…light “f” clamp helps to retain curve of back legs.

Gluing up a chair

Gluing the arms .

Soap finish

The soap finish, mixed equal parts Boots soap flakes and boiling water, gives a transluscent liquid when hot.

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

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1 Comment

  1. VM Chair Project VI - Chris Tribe Furniture courses - Woodwork courses for all abilities.
    3rd April 2015

    […] the previous blog we completed assembly of the chair and applied a soap finish. The last task is to weave the Danish […]


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