This is a short update on “The Stick Chair Book” and, if you stick with me, I’ll even throw in something useful at the end of the blog entry. No peeking, John Cashman.
When I started writing this book, my goal was a massive brain dump on everything I knew about stick chairs that was righteous and good. All the techniques that work. All the stuff about wood that would be helpful. All the little tricks, finishes, shapes, patterns, sharpening methods etc. etc.
I have concluded that instead there needs to be a “Chair-clopedia.” There should be one entire volume on processing wood. A second on legs. Separate volumes on steambending, arms, sticks, crests, saddling seats, tools, finishing, assembly, patterns and on and on. Written by a host of experts. All bound in hardbacks with the look and feel of hand-tooled leather.
I’m being serious. I’m also serious when I say a project like that could never happen.
As I began to drown in my own outline and circle around the toilet bowl of my own making, I found a bright string – something that could pull me out of the watery grave. It was a new outline for the book.
I’m now more than halfway finished with the book. Half the chapters are designed and are being edited by Megan Fitzpatrick, Narayan Nayar and the Chair Chat Twins (Klaus Skrudland and Rudy Everts). It’s going to be a monster of a book, likely more than 600 pages. But so far it’s a quick read thanks to my love of simple sentence structure and ample doodle space.
I am on track to get it to press by June. It should be released in August, just in time for chair season.
And now for something completely useful. We use acid flux brushes to spread glue in mortises, which is pretty common. But we trim them to a certain size and shape that makes them far more effective.
When acid flux brushes are born, their bristles are 3/4” long and spread out about 1/2” to 5/8”. If you’ve ever used a stock acid flux brush, you know what happens. The bristles get sopping wet and flop around like a wet mop.
It’s almost impossible to get glue to go where you want it.
I like to trim the bristles so they are 3/8” long. Then trim the width of the bristles so they are 3/8” wide. If there are any errant bristles, snip them off.
A brush with this shape is ideal for grabbing a decent amount of glue and putting it exactly where you want it. The bristles will be stiff, but flexible enough so you can press glue into corners and crevices.
When the glue-up is over, clean the brush (I’ve had brushes last five years or more). When it’s time for another glue-up, first inspect the brush. If there are stray bristles, snip them off.
What’s your favorite useless trick from a woodworking magazine?
— Christopher Schwarz
Read other posts from the “Making Book” series here.
26 thoughts on “Making Book Part 20: Too Much Pork for Just One Fork”
I do not peek. I have a high level of innate curiosity.
Dang, I do peak. I went straight for the brushes. And I needed that.
Nice job of ending with the influencer question.
I’m not sure I have a favorite useless magazine trick. But has anyone else thought that Reader Tips are getting more ridiculous lately? I don’t want to call anything out specifically, but some are just mind-numbingly bad.
My favorite category is the Theoretical Tip, because they are things someone has imagined but never actually done. Most are just kluged together jigs. Once in a while there are gems, but not very often.
I read the end of a mystery novel first to see if the book is worthwhile, I don’t consider that peaking.
I also go down streets that say “ not a through street” because I know it’s really a shortcut.
Looking forward to the book.
I have now wasted a half-hour looking for that drawing of sneakers with a fatigue mat cut to shoe shape and glued to the bottoms; I give up. But there’s always the old sneaker nailed to the wall for use as a drill holder. (Nope…no stereotype about women and shoes here…)
Now I want to watch the 2005 classic Kinky Boots again.
Fifth paragraph in the little picture. “tapering from the floor to the seat” – so they are thicker at the bottom, or does my non-native-speaker mind trip me up? I know that there are examples of legs that are thin at the seat and thick at the feet, but isn’t it more common having them the other way around?
Yes, trimming acid swabs but have now gone a few steps better. Went to an art supply store and bought a few quality artist paint brushes. They come in all shapes and sizes. Perhaps a little trimming. Now you can put glue on were needed with restraint and far less squeeze out. And no loose bristles. Just be sure to clean the brush after. Not like throwing away a few cents of acid swabs.
It was the best of chairs,
It was the worst of chairs.
Man I would hate to be a door to door salesman trying to sell those chaircyclopedia sets unless the bonus prize for the full set was really good.
Hmm, favorite useless mag tip?
Probably something involving attaching magnets to my body to hold screws.
The chaircyclopedia already exists. It’s called a bibliography of further reading. As for useless shop tricks, my favorite comes from the catalogue of the blue jig store and was a $400 profiled dado stack designed to cut a keyed locking hidden miter in one pass.
“Won’tcha pass that apple pie
Hey don’t you worry
Everybody here’s gonna get paid”
My favorite blog posts are always the ones with semi-obscure song lyrics.
It’s funny you mention that. My daytime job is a project manager. I spend a lot of time writing meeting minutes. To make it a bit interesting, I have often used, where appropriate, phrases from song lyrics in my minutes. It is very very rare than 1. anyone reads my minutes (they mostly serve an archiving purpose 2. anyone catches it. Still, it makes the writing a bit interesting for me. Again, the lyric isn’t out of context. I have yet to figure out how to incorporate “out on the road today, I saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac.”
Back when I did first-person interpretation at a historic site here in Canada, we would sometimes amuse ourselves by slipping song titles/lyrics into the spiel we did for tours. It was a fun little game and was good for a chuckle or two from teachers who picked up on it.
After a long lifetime of collecting and saving tips and tricks, I despair that I will ever accumulate enough of them to become a master of the craft.
The only shop tips and tricks I read are those from Charles Hayward 🙂
Oh, come on! You KNOW John Cashman peeked!
I peeked. I always peek ahead.
Put a good dab of crazy glue at the base of the bristles where they go into the ferrule. No more loose bristles.
My favorite useless tip is from and old Fine Woodworking: Nail an old shoe to the wall and use it to hold files/rasps
A credit card cut across the end with pinking shears makes a really good glue spreader for larger surfaces
As you said, 600 pages that’s impressive even with the doodles. Curious to see what you will choose for the format of the book.
It’s 6″x9″, like “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest.” But in color. With coated paper.
Sounds like a great book. The stuff on staked furniture in The Anarchist Design book really gave me a great starting point . I look forward to it 🙂
Having used a lot of flux brushes in the electronics industry, we didn’t clip the bristles to adjust their length. We pushed them back into the handle and crimped the end a little with a pair of pliers. This way if the bristles became bent or worn, they could be pulled out and trimmed straight for another go round. Might be helpful when someone forgets to wash out all the glue.
Comments are closed.