Editor’s note: After a brief unseasoned interlude, Chair Chat is now back on its high-sodium diet. Please do not read on below if you are allergic to salty potatoes or salty language. Today on the menu is a chair from a museum, served with ocean potatoes and meatballs.(more…)
Editor’s note: This Chair Chat™ has been edited extensively and was stripped down of all foul language. Accordingly, you don’t see a disclaimer here that salty language will follow – because it won’t. Enter with confidence.
Rudy: look at this chair I found on the internet:
Chris: That is a nice-looking chair.
Rudy: I agree, it has a nice shape.
Klaus: Look at those legs, they have probably been shaved on a shaving horse?
Rudy: Likely. I like to use a shaving horse, too.
Chris: I prefer a jack plane, but a shaving horse can work well, too.
Klaus: The seat has a nice shape.
Rudy: Yes, it does.
Chris: OK, I’m pretty much out of things to say. Chat again soon?
Rudy: Yup, me too. Bye!
Klaus: Agree, talk soon.
Not everybody who has to make wedges owns a band saw. In the third instalment we take a look at how to make them without power tools.
Making wedges without a band saw is not any more difficult than with a band saw. In fact it might even be easier. Especially if you don’t own a band saw.
You will need a chisel and a block of wood that you clamp in your vise.
Making wedges with a chisel
Select a suitable piece of wedge-wood. I usually use oak, as this is abundant where I live, but you can also use hickory or ash if that is available to you. Make sure you use dry wood; you don’t want your wedges to shrink after installing them.
The final size of the wedge is approximately 1-1/2’’long, 5/8’’ wide, and 3/16’’ at the thick end. I start with a board of around 5/8’’ thick, sawed to the length of the wedge (1-1/2’’ to 2’’).
Stand the board upright on top of your workbench (use a piece of scrap wood if you are afraid of damaging your workbench) and split the piece into 1/4’’ billets. These are your (slightly oversized) wedge blanks.
For shaping the wedges, you will need to make a simple block with a notch sawn out of it. You rest the wedge against this block when you shape it with a chisel.
Secure your wood block in your vise and lay the wedge blank flat on it.
Use tapering cuts to make the wedge shape. I don’t use a mallet for this step. First, start a cut near the tip of the wedge (closest to the block). Then move slightly away from the tip and make another cut. The third stroke starts around the middle of the wedge and last stroke near the end of the wedge.
Turn the wedge over and make the same tapering cuts on the other side. It takes about two times on each side to make a wedge, depending on how much material you take off. Better to take it slowly if you’re a beginner.
I usually make a bunch of wedges rather than making just enough for one project. Even if you don’t make that many pieces of furniture, it is nice to have some extra wedges on hand.
Re-using old wedges
After I trim the tenons on my chairs, I don’t throw the excess away. It is very easy to make another wedge out of them, providing they aren’t too short. This is another reason to make your wedges slightly longer to begin with — you might get two or three uses out of it.
Place the amputated-tenon-wedge on your block of wood and use a chisel and mallet to chop away the bits of tenon glued to the sides. They should come off easily. Mind your fingers as you do this step. I find it easiest to rest the back of my chisel against the wedge and tap it from above.
Re-shape the wedge as described above, using the wood block in your vise. This only takes a stroke or two, so you have a new set of wedges in no time.
Using scraps as wedge material
I often have pieces of oak leftover from chairmaking or other projects. This is perfect material for making wedges. Part of an old oak leg or stretcher can be an excellent source of wedges. I have also used old oak tool handles and offcuts from levelling chairs. Make sure the wood is in good condition, especially with older tool handles.
Saw the wood across the grain into the length of your wedge (1-1/2″ – 2″) and shape it as described above.
Making wedges with an axe
I made my first wedge when I had to handle an axe and needed a wedge. I didn’t have any idea what I was doing at the time so I grabbed an oak stick and shaped it into a point on one end with my single bevel hatchet.
Once you glue the wedge in place, you can saw off the excess and make it into a point again. Et voilà: Another wedge.
This method is very useful if you need to make wedges that are significantly wider than the wedges you normally use for chairmaking. And they can be used for splitting logs if you make them big enough.
Some uses are:
Wedges for axes / adzes
Wedges for thick table legs
Wedges for yo momma’s a$$
–The wedge tip has become too thin at the tip or the tip is bent over: Place the wedge flat on your block and use your chisel to remove the tip (across the grain). Shave the wedge again if too blunt.
-The wedge has curved grain: Curved grain is not a big problem in riven wedges. I have used wedges that had a crook in them without any issues.
-I am having a hard time shaving the wedges to their desired thickness: They come out too flat. It is a common mistake to take material away evenly over the whole wedge. Use tapered cuts starting from the tip of the wedge and only remove a little material at the butt end.
Have anything to add about making wedges? Let us know in the comments section!
Editor’s note: Due to extensive work on “The Stick Chair Book,” it’s been a little while since we published a chair chat, today we are back with a Swedish chair assembled with Fish Glue and primitive IKEA joints. Salty language about pizza, electrocuted meatballs and potatoes will follow so be warned. For those who are easily offended, here is a video with a dog on a plane instead.(more…)
Editor’s note: Here at Chair Chat Headquarters, we love wonky chairs. In fact, the weirder the better. So even though we might say the chair’s finish looks like it came out of someone’s butt, we honestly wish we could go to the store and buy a can of McSharty’s Brown Chair Wax.
As always, Chair Chats are not for the sensitive. Do not read this aloud at your local day care center or at your prayer breakfast. That never goes well (sorry, Rev. Mauze).
Rudy: Do we still have time for another chair?
Rudy: The torched hedge chair.
Klaus: That looks VERY torched.
Rudy: From Far West Kentucky.
Chris: So far east that it’s west. This one screams “messed with.”
Klaus: So west it’s east and then west again.
Rudy: And I love the way it looks. So it is probably a fake.
Chris: I know. I am so jaded. Same thing. If it sucks, it’s real. If it’s nice, it’s fake.
Klaus: The hands are very nice on this one. Uncommon.
Chris: I’ve not seen hands like that.
Klaus: Through tenons on the crest. Nice.
Rudy: And look at that tenon that bulges out of the arm. It says “Look, I am really old!”
Klaus: Yeah, that’s a fat tenon for that arm. It’s putting on a fake limp. Making its voice sound so old and weary.
Chris: The arm has fallen. I think it might be legit.
Klaus: We’re so cynical.
Chris: I had this problem on my prototype. If the arm falls at the back, it will eventually come down at the front.
Rudy: True, the long sticks don’t swell enough under the arm to really support it.
Chris: That is what I fought with. It’s a tricky detail with these chairs.
Klaus: That’s interesting.
Rudy: The crest looks steam bent. I thought the Irish vernacular chairs only rarely used steam bending?
Chris: The crest could be cut from solid. That’s very common in Irish chairs.
Klaus: It has the same kind of legs as the one from our last chair chat. Chunky, almost square, and a crude tenon that almost looks like it’s whittled.
Chris: For me the most unusual part of this chair is the arm shape. I’ve not seen one like it.
Rudy: The arms sure are a funny shape. Not entirely unlike Irish arms. But then odd.
Rudy: With all that wear, I find it funny to still see a chamfer under all those years of paint. I would imagine it would have been rounded off by now?
Chris: It could be a stripping gone awry. The chamfer on the top of the seat is a bit unusual. And the angle at the back of the arms too.
Klaus: But a nice detail.
Chris: I like it. You see it more on modern chairs.
Rudy: the chamfer is just so visible and constant. Weird.
Klaus: There’s something timeless about this chair. I love it.
Rudy: Almost no splay, just some rake.
Chris: Also unusual: The seat shape. Square at the front. Rounded corners at the back.
Rudy: You’re right, I didn’t see that. Most of these have square corners all around?
Chris: Or rounded all around. Just a lot of little oddities on this one.
Klaus: Is that front left mortise hollow?
Rudy: It sure looks like it. Perhaps the leg came loose
Chris: I suspect the leg was repaired.
Klaus: They inserted a new one, you think?
Chris: Leg came out. They stuffed cloth in there and couldn’t get it seated all the way. Very common repair and very common problem.
Klaus: I need to get my copy of Claudia Kinmonth’s book…It’s been stuck in the mail for a month.
Chris: I think a Chair Chat with Claudia Kinmonth would…get us thrown in chair jail.
Rudy: Haha. She would be interesting to talk to!
Rudy: Why would they not remove the cloth to make the leg fit? And did they wedge the leg in or did they just leave it in there loose?
Klaus: You mean they stuffed cloth in when they hammered in the legs in the first place? I’m not following.
Chris: To tighten a leg they would wrap some cloth around the tenon and add some glue. Then pound it it. Once it’s in, it ain’t coming out. So you only get one shot until the leg comes loose again. The cloth is the repair.
Rudy: I see. Have you tried that kind of repair yourself too?
Chris: I haven’t tried it. But you see it a LOT on old chairs. There were five or six at St Fagans that had this sort of repair. Like the chair went to the loo and still had some toilet paper stuck to its tenon.
Rudy: That is very interesting.
Klaus: Cool. I’ll look out for it. Never seen it.
Chris: Once you see it, you’ll see it a lot. Anyway, could be wrong. Maybe the chair took a COLD shower and it’s tiny tenon shrunk up.
Rudy: In freezing cold Ireland.
Klaus: I hear it’s cold in Far West Kentucky.
Rudy: Have you seen this type of repair with sticks, too, or only with legs?
Chris: I can’t recall seeing it on sticks. Most stick repairs are snapped sticks that get repaired with a branch or a bolt. Sticks don’t come loose too often.
Klaus: That outer left stick looks like a branch. Look at the tiny knot:
Rudy: I noticed that too! In line with West Irish Kentucky chairmaking traditions.
Klaus: Could be just a wonky shave.
Chris: Nice catch. Looks “stick-y.”
Klaus: Sure does. And it’s more organic looking than the others.
Rudy: Now that you have torched a chair Chris, does this finish look familiar?
Chris: A little. This one looks like they applied stripper and scraped it until it got like this. It doesn’t look like a naturally aged finish.
Klaus: It’s still a nice finish, though? I like it.
Chris: Sure! I like grungy finishes.
Rudy: New or old, east or west, real or fake, this view is a seller:
Chris: I wouldn’t kick this chair out of bed for eating crackers. But it has too many little “that’s odd” things about it that make me prefer the box chair from our previous chat.
Klaus: That’s a great stance. It’s got personality. What would this chair’s name be if it was an Irish person?
Klaus: First name Cracker. Cracker McWonky.
Chris: McWonky with the Broken Left Arm
Rudy: Cracker McWonky with the Broken Left Arm and the sticky stick.
Chris: That’s it!
Klaus: That’s the title right there.
Chris: Ole Knot in the Back.
Rudy: There is a pub in Dublin called “Y’ole Knot in the Back.” Probably.
Klaus: HAHA, I bet there is.
Chris: It’s also a term of endearment. “I’d like to fondle your ole knot in the back, lassie.” Or it’s the Irish G-spot?
Rudy: Man, your Irish is so good!
Klaus: I like it when ya tickle my ole knot, young lad!
Chris: That’s what the priests say.
Rudy: There are a lot of priests in Ireland.
Chris: And a lot of knotty wood. (Naughty wood).
Klaus: McKnotty wood.
Chris: I’d like to put my tenon in your knot hole. In your feathered crotch.
Klaus: Hahaha. You can’t say that on television.
Rudy: You can in Ireland, I think.
Chris: How about tongue in groove? The chair was made of Naughty Pine.
Rudy: With a butt joint.
Chris: Nailed that butt joint! And this is where Claudia calls the police.
Rudy: I found the info on the chair! Check it out:
True Early 19th Century Irish Antique Primitive Armchair
This is an honest, late Georgian Irish antique country armchair, not to be confused with the large amount of fakes around. This Irish primitive antique armchair is a good, large size, it features a thick elm seat, shaped arms and a comb back rest. In very good solid condition and in the original paint finish. A lovely sculptural looking country armchair that has four stick legs, again all honest and original. Dates from around 1800-20.
Height: 77cm (30.31″)
Width: 63cm (24.8″)
Depth: 47cm (18.5″)
Additional Information: The seat is 39cm high.
Rudy: Haha. They mention the word “fake.”
Klaus: Oh, so George made it…
Chris: “Not to be confused with the large amount of fakes around.” Truthy McGeorgie – all honest and original…”
Chris: …my ass.
Rudy: So at least it is not a fake. Whew!
Klaus: It says that the chair has a “comb back rest.” Nice. I was worried it didn’t.
Chris: Now we know.
Klaus: Yup. At least it’s a chair.
Rudy: And has four stick legs, again all honest and original.
Chris: Four legs – honest.
Chris: Thick seat – honest.
Chris: We should have read the description first. Then this would have been the shortest chair chat ever.
Klaus: The chat would be:
Nice chair. Could it be fake?
Chris: Indeed what were we thinking!????
Chris: Finish – true and honest.
Rudy: Sticks – honest.
Klaus: George was an honest man.
Chris: And early.
Rudy: So, so early.
Chris: Honestly early
Klaus: Is the height honest, you think?
Rudy: The width definitely is.
Chris: What is NOT honest about this chair?
Rudy: The doubler.
Klaus: I’m honestly convinced that George did not make this chair. He hired a Male Paint Stripper™ to make it for him.
Rudy: An honest Male Paint Stripper™.
Chris: It would have been McGeorge if it were truly Irish.
Klaus: Exactly! Can’t fool us!
Rudy: Paddy McGeorge.
Klaus: We’re the Irish Fake Police.
Rudy: The Honest Irish Fake Police.
Klaus: Fake Police are the worst.
Chris: The most honest Irish chair maker in Tijuana.
Rudy: The very most honestest.
Klaus: George also says the chair is sculptural.
Klaus: I’m sure he’s talking about himself. The chair is not very sculptural.
Chris: Unless a cardboard box is sculptural.
Klaus: It’s as sculptural as the ladder I’ve got in my back yard. But I do like it! The chair, that is.
Chris: And the ladder?
Klaus: The ladder, too! We get along!
Rudy: Is it a true and honest ladder?
Klaus: It’s a very honest ladder.
Chris: OK, I gotta go. Gotta cook dinner.
Klaus: Honest dinner?
Chris: No, takeout pork tenderloin.
Klaus: See you later, Georgies.
Chris: Catch you liars later.
Rudy: Bye fakers.