Saw upgrade

The first few months of the year continued to be crazy at work but my trial testimony is finally complete and another project hit a major milestone so my workload is back to a normal level. I also decided to turn down a new job in Boston (I think the multiple nor’easters in a row made the decision for me) and since we aren’t moving it was time for a shop upgrade.

I’ve also managed to glue up a few seat blanks (one more to go) and started flattening one.

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First Staked Chair is finished

After work one night I decided the open grain of the red oak needed some color so I mixed up some dark and burnt Cyprus umber with some BLO and painted on a coat. This was less of a stain and more of a very thin oil paint.

The added color worked out perfectly so after letting it dry for two days I sprayed on multiple thin coats of amber shellac and let it dry over night. It’s hard to believe that seat is just plain old poplar.

After living with the chair for a few weeks I may adjust the design some but in the meantime the eucalyptus seat blanks need to be assembled.

Chair finish started

After pinning the crest rail and some “making pretty” it was time for stain. I raised the grain with some water and let it dry overnight.

After knocking down the grain I applied some of the same stain mixture from the bench however I poured out the top without storing up the pigment and watered it down substantially.

Last night I applied a coat of linseed oil that was thinned with turpentine (true turpentine).

I’m debating adding some pigment to the second coat of oil, similar to what I did with the bench, but I am not sure yet. I did end up with some uneven staining that I did not notice until it had dried but I’m hoping it will be less noticeable as the process continues.

Back at it.

It’s been pretty quiet on the blog lately but that’s because it’s been pretty quiet in the shop. Partly this was do to work (which has been busy and I’m scheduled to testify in a case soon) but the primary reason was a sense of disgust in my own failure.

While I was leveling the chair legs I discovered that my workbench has developed a pronounced twist which has been the source of my troubles with chair seats (and probably explains why the dining table bench rocks slightly). This was very discouraging and it took me a while to get back in the shop.

This past weekend I finally got around to cleaning up the messy garage (when I’m busy with work things get a bit messy) and part of that meant finishing up the chair. I got out the miter box and trimmed all of the bent crest rails and shaped the spindles. My hide glue expired in September but my garage is quite cool so I decided to test it with some scrap prices. Hopefully I can get this chair assembled thus weekend and free up enough space to re-flatten my bench.

Drawknife fun- Staked chair

I always forget how much fun a sharp drawknife can be. I beveled the chair seat with a mixture of hand saw, drawknife, and my #5 1/2.


Then after about an hour I had the tenons shaped on all four legs and in place.  This seat is much thinner than the back stool so I will be reamming out the mortices more for extra meat.


My original plan was to leave these seats flat (mostly because carving the Eucalyptus intimidated me) but I might saddle this seat a bit for fun.

Winter is Coming (so back to the shop)

The past few months have been pretty light on shop time for a variety of reasons.  First I was sick, then there was a month long series of interviews for what would have been a major career change and move (didn’t work out), and then September and October were warm and sunny which was more conducive to yard work and family time.  But now the fog is officially back and the nights are getting longer so I am back in the shop.

There has been a lot of milling recently and the eucalyptuses seat blanks in particular have been wearing me out.  Between their weight and hardness combined with the weird way the dried (the middles of the boards collapsed so I lost a lot of thickness), I think it will be a long time before I work with Tasmanian Blue Gum again.


I did get a seat template made that will make layout easier and joinering more consistent.  I have been using this to make a first pass in polar and red oak.


This weekend I manned to rough mill leg and spindle blanks and made some tapering re-saws to straighten the grain for the crest rail blanks.  I’m hoping I end up with at least four good crest tails and seat blanks.