As mentioned in another blog I have been trying to get productive. I am working on the legs of two Welsh Stick chairs with a “Lord of the Rings” touch. I made the legs out of very dry white oak and tapered them on the band saw. I did this before, so I know that I want to be approximately 1-3/4″ wide a the bottom of the leg and 1-1/8″ at a point that is 3″ down from the top of the leg. The length of the leg is 19-1/2″.
OK, here is the deal. I am using a tapered reamer and a tapered tenon maker from Lee Valley. You can see the tapered tenon maker in the picture above. They are sized to work with each other, i.e. the tenon will fit into the tapered mortise. This is the ideal chair joint. As chairmaker David Fleming pointed out (and I am sure others did as well), when you sit in the chair it makes the joint tighter. The opening of the taper tool is 1-1/4″ it is 3″ long. If the wood won’t clear the opening it won’t make it to the cutter and the thing won’t work.
Tapering to 1-1/4″ on the band saw was not a problem for four sides. The problem came in on the diagonal which of course was not 1-1/4″ and jamming up the works. So, I did what every hand tool enthusiast does, grabbed a jack plane, set it to take a huge cut and worked up a sweat! After leg three I had a Jethro moment. Like the time he told Uncle Jed how hard it was carrying heavy sacks from the back of the house to the truck which was at the front of the house. Uncle Jed asked him, “Why don’t you drive the truck around back?” I made a jig. There is masking tape on the jig because, as I now know, the jig needed to be tapered. I learned this after I made it….
OK, the picture above is what I am trying to get to. Make a tapered square into a tapered hexagon.
Here is the tapered tenon cutter in action. It is like a pencil sharpener.
– John Hoffman