MAKING THE LEGS, ARM POSTS, AND STRETCHERS

MAKING THE LEGS, ARM POSTS, AND STRETCHERS

The legs, stretchers, and arm posts of a Windsor chair can be shaped with a drawknife, but many woodworkers work with a lathe instead, using a story pole for each component (page 52) as a

A hand brace fitted with a spoon bit bores a mortise in one side stretcher of a sack-back Windsor chair. The mortise will house a tenon of the middle stretcher. The mortise must be angled; a spoon bit enables you to start drilling the hole straight for the first ‘A inch before tilting the tool to the correct angle.

guide to produce the turnings. Refer to the illustration below for dimensions, and use calipers to check key diameters as the work progresses. Start by turning the legs and the arm posts. But before you can turn the stretchers, you have to bore the leg mortises in the seat and test-fit the legs in place. By measuring the exact distance between the legs with the chair test-assembled, the stretchers can be sized with precision.

The tenons that join the pieces together—at the top ends of the legs, the bottoms of the arm posts, and at both ends of the stretchers—are tapered to lock the tenons into their mortises.

MAKING THE LEGS, ARM POSTS, AND STRETCHERS

TURNING THE LEGS AND ARM POSTS

MAKING THE LEGS, ARM POSTS, AND STRETCHERS

1 Shaping the legs and arm posts

Mount the blank between centers on your lathe and use a roughing gouge to produce the turning. Refer to the anato­my illustration opposite for the locations and diameters of decorative elements like beads and coves. Once you are satisfied with the turning’s shape, form the tapered tenon at the appropriate end (right). On the legs, as shown, the tenon should be 2Vz inches long, tapering from 1 inch to % inch in diameter. Make the arm post tenons 1 inch long, tapering from 5/s to Tie inch in diameter. Finally, turn a shal­low groove on each leg to indicate the location of the stretchers; this groove will double as a decorative element.

2

Smoothing the turnings

Remove the tool rest and fold a piece of 80-grit sandpaper in thirds to prevent the paper from slipping. Switch on the lathe and hold the paper against the turning. Work with the grain along the length of the piece as much as pos­sible (left), being careful not to round over the decorative elements on the stock. Stop sanding periodically to pre­vent burning the wood. Work with pro­gressively finer papers, stopping when you reach 220-grit.

MAKING THE LEGS, ARM POSTS, AND STRETCHERSTURNING THE STETCHERS

1

Marking the leg and spindle mortises on the seat

Подпись: leg mortiseПодпись: TemplateBefore you can turn the stretchers, you need to bore the leg mortises into the seat, test-fit the legs in the mortises, and measure the distances between the legs. Start by making a template of the seat from й-inch hardboard, referring to the anatomy illustration on page 84 for the dimensions of the seat as well as the loca­tion and size of the leg and spindle mor­tises. Drill a hole through the template at each mortise mark, then set the seat on a work surface, position the template atop it, and mark the holes (right).

Spindle

mortise

 

2

Drilling the leg mortises

Подпись: Sliding bevel уClamp the seat down and fit a hand brace with a spoon bit the same diameter as the small end of the leg tenons. Use a straightedge and a sliding bevel to help you drill the compound-angle holes. This will enable the legs to splay out from the side of the seat at the proper angle and be angled—or raked—toward the front or back of the chair. Position the straight­edge across the seat at the correct splay angle of 105°, or 15° from the perpendic­ular (page 73). Then adjust the sliding bevel to the required rake angle, which is 100° for the front legs and 115° for the rear legs, or 10° and 25° from vertical. Position the sliding bevel on the straight­edge. Then, center the bit on the mortise mark and begin drilling, keeping the hand brace parallel to the straightedge and the bit lined up with the slope of the bevel (left). Repeat the procedure to bore the remaining leg mortises.

MAKING THE LEGS, ARM POSTS, AND STRETCHERSMAKING THE LEGS, ARM POSTS, AND STRETCHERS

О Once all the leg mortises have been drilled, remove the spoon bit and install a tapered reamer. This device will give the leg mortises a tapered shape that matches the conical shape of the leg tenons, locking the legs to the seat. Secure the seat in a vise, then taper each leg mortise, steadying the hand brace against your chest (above). Period­ically test-fit the legs in their mortises, reaming the holes until the fit is snug.

4

Checking the splay and rake of the legs

Test-fit the front legs in their mortises and check whether their splay and rake angles are uniform. To help you gauge the rake angle, place a straightedge across the legs; the board should be perfectly level (left). Repeat for the rear legs. If any of the angles are off slightly, you can compensate for minor inaccuracies when the time comes to turn and install the stretchers (page 92).

7

MAKING THE LEGS, ARM POSTS, AND STRETCHERS

Turning and sizing the middle stretcher

Подпись: Middle stretcherMAKING THE LEGS, ARM POSTS, AND STRETCHERSMAKING THE LEGS, ARM POSTS, AND STRETCHERSMAKING THE LEGS, ARM POSTS, AND STRETCHERSMAKING THE LEGS, ARM POSTS, AND STRETCHERS

Подпись: Sizing the side stretchers Set the seat-and-leg assembly on a work surface and measure the distance between the front and rear legs on one side (above), aligning your tape measure with the stretcher grooves you turned in step 1. Repeat on the other side of the seat. To the longer of the two measurements, add 1/ inches for the tenons at each end and an additional / inch to hold the legs in tension when the chair is assembled. By sizing both stretchers according to the longer measurement, the rake angle of the two legs will equalize.
Подпись: Turning the side stretchers Cut the side stretcher blanks to length and mount one between centers on your lathe. Shape the piece with a roughing gouge, referring to the anatomy illustration on page 88 for key diameters. Finish by turning the tenons at the ends with a spindle gouge (above). Repeat for the other side stretcher.

Since the middle and side stretchers are assembled before being glued to the legs, you cannot determine the length of the middle stretcher by measurement. Instead, calculate its length. Start by cut­ting a blank several inches longer than you need and turn it on your lathe; use the illustration on page 88 as a guide. To determine the stretcher’s length, secure it in a vise and mark its middle. Then mea­sure the distances between the front legs and then the rear legs, aligning your tape with the turned stretcher grooves; add the results together and divide by two. Add another 2lA inches for the tenons and / inch to provide the proper amount of ten­sion. Adjust a set of calipers to one-half your grand total and mark off this distance from the center mark to each end (right). Cut the stretcher to length and turn a tenon at each end.

MAKING THE LEGS, ARM POSTS, AND STRETCHERS

8 Drilling the middle stretcher mortises in the side stretchers

To determine the angle of the mortises to be drilled in the side stretchers for the middle stretcher, you have to measure the angle formed by the legs at one corner of the chair. Once the middle stretcher is ready, place a straightedge on the work surface along one front and rear leg of the chair, and another along the front legs. Adjust a sliding bevel to the angle formed by the two boards (left). Secure the side stretchers in a vise and bore each hole with the hand brace and spoon bit (photo, page 88).

 

Side stretcher

 

Middle stretcher

 

9 Assembling the stretchers

Spread glue in the mortises in the side stretchers and on the middle stretcher tenons. Insert the tenons into their mor­tises and press the pieces firmly togeth­er by hand. Then, holding the middle stretcher firmly, tap the back of the side stretcher mortise with a dead-blow ham­mer to seat the tenon fully in the mor­tise (right). Turn the assembly over and repeat the procedure. Make sure the side stretchers are both aligned in the same vertical and horizontal planes.

 

MAKING THE LEGS, ARM POSTS, AND STRETCHERS