Once you become aware of staked furniture, you will find it everywhere. Today I was finishing up a marathon 12-hour session of editing “The Woodworker: The Charles Hayward Years” and stumbled on this short article from the February 1964 issue.
It’s billed as an exercise for beginning turners. And while I’d probably add some rake and splay to the legs, it’s a pretty charming piece as-is.
The most interesting detail of its construction is that the author recommends you cut the mortises before turning the legs. That works when you have 90° angles everywhere, but is a mess when you get into compound-angle joinery.
Luckily in “The Anarchist’s Design Book,” I have a way of dealing with this sort of compound-angle joint that is embarrassingly simple. Here’s a clue: Buy a set of spade bits and an extension for your drill.
You can download the 1964 article here:
The cutting list for the project is as follows:
1 Top 7/8 x 10-1/4 x 14-1/2
4 Legs 1-1/2 x 1-1/2 x 13
2 Side rails 3/4 x 3/4 x 13
2 End rails 3/4 x 3/4 x 10
— Christopher Schwarz
10 thoughts on “Staked Furniture is Everywhere”
That reminds me last time you mentioned spade bits, you mentioned grinding one to get a custom sized bit. Last month I was building a new workbench, and I accidentally drilled some of the holes at 5/8. None of my bits were designed to make a 5/8 hole into a 3/4 hole. Luckily I remembered your post and grabbed a 3/4 spade bit. After just as few minutes at the grinder, I was able to fix my mistake. Thanks!
The elevation views and engineering detailing in them is superb, all the needed information is present and easy to understand, and there is little if any redundant information in the drawings. Excellent work by the illustrator and author.
Are the orientation of post rays and growth rings shown?
Since the article recommends drilling the leg stock while it is square, the implicit assumption is that growth ring directions are ignored in favor of the ease of using the already-squared up sides as the reference faces. As Chris mentioned, it’s not a particularly robust technique. Clearly this is just a beginner’s project, so they were apparently going for ease of construction rather than best practices (which would of course include matching the ring orientation in the correct plane).
The time of the spade bit renaissance is nigh! Take heed and stock up while you can for the Schwarz’ing of the spade bits is upon us.
I know exactly where you are going with this. I frankly can’t see why it’s not suggested more often. There is virtually nothing to screw up. >
“The most interesting detail of its construction is that the author recommends you cut the mortises before turning the legs. That works when you have 90° angles everywhere, but is a mess when you get into compound-angle joinery.”
At first I was wondering what your problem was with this order of operations, since that’s exactly how I did it in the Windsor chair that I just completed. Then I realized you meant that the author recommended drilling the mortises in the LEGS – not the SEAT – prior to turning the legs. Yeah, that’s a bad idea if you’ve got rake and splay.
Spade bits, sshmade bits, can someone please answer my question?Jennie
Through tenons are great because you can use a new fangled laser to throw a line as a target and follow it. Dead simple and requires zero math. Hope this adds rather than spoils.
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