In our reprint of Joseph Moxon’s “Mechanick Exercises,” we missed page 169 when scanning the original. We’ve updated the file and will correct it at the next press run. Click below to download a PDF of the page to print and insert into the first edition. Our apologies for the error.
Some people were left confused by the correction to “The Anarchist’s Workbench” I posted yesterday. And I don’t blame you – the ideas of right and wrong, correct and incorrect were being juggled furiously in the entry.
So let’s start over.
Construction lumber is usually sold in a wetter state than furniture wood. I’ve bought about four metric tons of it in my time, and it seems to come in about 14 percent to 18 percent moisture content on average. That means that as the wood dries to your shop’s equilibrium moisture content, the board is going to move a bit on you.
When wood loses moisture, the bark side of the board (the outside of the tree) tends to cup. The heart side of the board (the inside of the tree) tends to bow out. See my drawing above.
If you need to laminate the construction lumber face to face – such as gluing up four layers to make a big workbench leg – you should use the above fact to your advantage.
I glue up my legs so the heart side of one board faces the bark side of its neighbor. That way as the boards dry, they will all move in unison and keep the joints closed. Like this:
If you flip one of the boards, so the heart side faces the heart side of its neighbor, the edges of the lamination tend to open up as the boards dry. Like this:
If you glue the bark side to the bark side of its neighbor, the interior of the lamination tends to open up.
I’ve seen this happen. I’ve never seen the joint fall apart because of it, but it ain’t pretty to look at.
I hope you will forgive me for yesterday’s confusion. In the coming days I’ll correct the free pdf.
On page 228 of “The Anarchist’s Workbench,” I printed the wrong photo. In the wrong photo (shown above), the boards in the left leg are oriented correctly to accommodate cupping and bowing of the wood. However, the caption says the boards are oriented incorrectly.
Here is how the photo should look (it’s corrected with the help of Photoshop).
The error occurred because my head sometimes experiences what I call “vapor lock.” (Though I am sure there’s a real term for this problem.) When I took this photo in 2020, I realized that I had the boards oriented wrong. So I flipped the top board and retook the photo.
Then I reminded myself all day to delete the wrong photo. Delete the wrong photo. Delete the wrong photo.
At the end of the day, I deleted the other photo. My head was convinced right was wrong and wrong was right. And my hallucination lasted through the editing process.
A reader found an error in the full-size patterns for “The Stick Chair Book.” Here’s the fix.
The plans for the Six-stick Comb-Back were scaled down slightly by the printer. None of the other five patterns are scaled down – they are correct. We’re not sure how this happened, but oh well. The patterns for the six-stick chair show the seat at 19” wide instead of 20”. The other parts on that page are also scaled down slightly.
Ignore the error. The slight scaling won’t change the chair much. I’ve made chairs with narrower seats with no problem.
Download an unscaled pattern for free via this link. Get it printed out at your local reprographics firm. And next time you’re in town I’ll buy you a coffee or beer to make up for the added expense.
Use the seat pattern for the lowback instead. It is the same size and shape. The legs are in the same place. The spindles on the seat are the same space apart (3” on centers). The only thing you’ll have to do is step off one more spindle on both sides of the spindle deck.
A reader named Jason Stick (he claims that’s his real name) pointed out an error in ‘The Stick Chair Book’ that I’d like to point out to you.
On page 494 of the chapter on the lowback, the text says the resultant angle for the front legs is 25°, and the resultant for the back legs is 28°. But in the drawings, the resultant is shown at 23° for both.
Here’s the good news: Either will work. Use the 23° resultant if you want to match the cherry lowback shown on the opening page of the chapter. Use 25° and 28° if you want a little more dramatic rake and splay to the legs. I used more drama when I built the first two prototypes of this chair, but then dialed it back for the final chair. I did this mostly so the resultants would match two other chairs in the book (for the sake of simplicity).
Shame on me for not catching this inconsistency, which will appear in the first edition. Bad Zoot!
Printer update: The book is due to ship from the printing plant’s dock on Nov. 5. We are fortunate that it’s Nov. 5 of this year and not next year.