Monday, February 13, 2012

Gothic Chippendale chair: The Back Legs

I started work on my next commission, I have to make 14 of these lovely Chippendale chairs, 6 of them will grace my own dining room, 6 will be made from African Blackwood and 8 from Mopane. I find it the easiest to make the back leg assembly first. When you make so many chairs in matching sets, it is wise to use jigs, you can never cut them the same on a scroll saw and sanding hardwood takes forever, so today I will show you how to make the jigs for the back legs.

Of course you first need a pattern, I simply scanned mine from the book, reduced it to 1/12 scale and printed out a few copies. In this photo you can see the bottom of the jigs and how I mark them for future use.

First of all you need to decide how big your wood blank is going to be, in this case mine is 11mm wide by the length of the leg plus 8mm added to the top and bottom, you need to add a bit to help you keep the blank square in the cutting process, the extra bits will be cut of later. I cut a base a bit bigger than the blank size, glued wood strips on 2 edges, I used one of my wood leg blanks to glue in the third piece of wood strip so that everything fits tight. Lastly I glued in my two paper patterns that was cut exactly identical.

Next I cut out the two curves with a scroll saw and then sanded any uneven edges until they were smooth. I always mark the top of my jigs and wood blanks as it is easy to put the leg in wrong and only realize your mistake after cutting.

There is a lot of wood to remove on this leg, so I always put them in the jigs, mark the waste and cut most of it away with the scroll saw before doing the final cutting to shape on the drill press.

On your drill press you need a base with a pin centered right below your cutter, mine is both 1/8" thick, you can see more on how to do pin routing here, scroll down to the first few posts.

The cutting is done by moving the leg from left to right, shaving off little bits at a time until your jig touches the brass pin.

Here you can see one leg rough cut in the jig and a finished one laying on the pattern, well I have 27 more legs to cut, so of to work I go.



Marie-Laure said...

Great new project !
But I wonder how many projects are you able to handle ? It seems that nothing can frighten you ;-)

Miniatures by Natalia said...

Love anything Gothic! Great project, Elga!

ANDA said...

Very good! Will be a lot of work so that it will use a template! Thank you for sharing with us the secret of making a template!

Andy said...

Hi Elga,

The chair is wonderful, I love the Gothic detail on the back rest. Will be watching keenly to see how you get on with this project!!