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By Waka
#923527
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There are a lot of photo's with this, so I'll do it in sections over the next few days.
I and another 5 candidates spent a week with James Muriel at his workshop in Sussex, to make a continuous arm windsor chair.
I have taken a photo of what we are going to attempt to make, so I can compare my result at the end of the week.

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For those of you that think I'm going to post some high tech equipment to aid chairmanning are going to be disappointed, James makes his chairs in the traditional way, and surprise, so are we.

The first part was choosing a piece of ash for the continuous arm.

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After doing a bit of shaping it's off to the steam room where James will explain how to use the equipment.

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The time the continuous arm was to spend in the steamer was calculated by James, this was 12 minutes.
When the arm came out of the steamer, we had very little time to complete the two bends. this made us all a bit apprehensive. I for one was concerned that under pressure I'd mess everything up. But with the expert tuition from James, our minds were put at rest.

The first bend in the arm was to shape the back, it's all done on the same former, but in two stages.

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One or two of us had some slits in the wood during the second part of the bens. Nothing to worry about, this will be dealt with later when the wood has dries.

To assist in the drying, the arms were placed into the kiln. This consisted of a plywood box built over a radiator, again nothing high tech, but very functional. The arms would now stay over the heater for a few days while we got on with the other parts.

I will add some more to this thread later.

Now down to part 2 of the week.

The next job we were tasked with was making the spindles for the back of the chair. Off we went to choose the wood. James did mention that we wanted to choose the pieces of wood with the straightest grain, tis became evident when we stated ha[ping with the draw knife and spokeshave.

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We had 11 spindles to do in total and these varied in length, so it wasn't a quick job. I tried to get the spindles exactly the same in shape, but I'm not so sure I was successful. But in the big scheme of things I kept telling myself that it's a hand made chair.

Spindle all done.

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It was during day 2 that James gave us a turning demonstration on making the legs. What surprised me was the speed in which he achieved this. Whereas I would take ages James did a leg in a matter of minutes.
I have to say that the legs we choose were actually made in rough form by James, all we had to do was finish them off. The reason for this was time, if we'd turned our own legs then an extra day wold have been required, also many of the students had never turned before so an element of risk would have been introduced.

Now it's onto the seat of the chair. I choose ash for my seat but the other guys were using tulipwood.
I will have to start another thread to continue because it won't let me post more than 10 photo's.
Last edited by Waka on 16 Nov 2014, 06:43, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
By Sheffield Tony
#923531
I'm looking forward to seeing what balance of traditional and modern methods are used. I presume this is all in air dried wood rather than green, and the parts glue together.

Having made a chair using Mike Abbott style greenwood held together by shrinkage without glue, I wonder how "traditional" this really is, or whether it is quite a modern fancy. I know Windsor chair legs of old were turned in the wood on a pole lathe, but the old photos of bodgers I see show large stacks of legs sittting to dry before being transported to a workshop for assembly.

I feel your anxiety at achieving that complex bend with wood that has been only 12 minutes in the steamer ... Not much slack for fumbling with clamps !

Do carry on. Can't wait to see how it all goes together.
User avatar
By Waka
#923533
Sheffield Tony wrote:I'm looking forward to seeing what balance of traditional and modern methods are used. I presume this is all in air dried wood rather than green, and the parts glue together.

Having made a chair using Mike Abbott style greenwood held together by shrinkage without glue, I wonder how "traditional" this really is, or whether it is quite a modern fancy. I know Windsor chair legs of old were turned in the wood on a pole lathe, but the old photos of bodgers I see show large stacks of legs sittting to dry before being transported to a workshop for assembly.

I feel your anxiety at achieving that complex bend with wood that has been only 12 minutes in the steamer ... Not much slack for fumbling with clamps !

Do carry on. Can't wait to see how it all goes together.


Tony

The spindles, legs and continues arm are all made from green wood, a lot easier to work with in the early stages. It is dried over an enclosed radiator while other parts of the chair are being made.
By Glynne
#923536
Having met James a couple of times, I must admit I'm tempted. Any info on accommodation would be really useful as well as I'm sure I'm not the only one who would need digs for a week.
User avatar
By Waka
#923537
Glynne wrote:Having met James a couple of times, I must admit I'm tempted. Any info on accommodation would be really useful as well as I'm sure I'm not the only one who would need digs for a week.


Glynne

If you go into the WW website James has a list of recommended places to stay. I stayed in the first one on the list, a cottage on a working farm, absolutely fantastic accommodation.

Next part of the thread to follow in the morning.
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By Waka
#923538
Ok , so lets continue.
As I mentioned in the other thread the wood for my seat is ash.

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This is the profile of the seat after it was introduced to the bandsaw.

At this stage we have to add a lot of lines at different angles before we can drill the holes for the chairs. James has a template for this, so it makes our lives a little easier.

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As you can see lots of lines that all have a purpose.
Now it's down to drilling the holes for the legs and arm of the chair. I guess at this stage we were all a bit apprehensive, one hole in the wrong position and the seat becomes a piece of scrap wood.
Also we had to drill the holes on two planes, for this we used a set square and bandsaw jig. Lining up the required line for the specific hole on the jig ensured that we had the right angles. although all a bit worried it all turned out fine.

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Now it came to shaping the seat, we had already drilled a couple of pilot holes so we knew the depth we wanted to go too.
We had a quick demonstration from James on the use of the adze, it was really useful because know we knew how not to take our ankle off.

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Even though we were told the right stance to make it easy for us, it was still hard work. I don't think any of us had used an adze before, but it didn't take us long to get to the required depth and have a rough seat shape mapped out.

Now we had to take the rough shape and turn it into something that resemble a seat. For this James had developed what is known as a ravisher, I guess you could say it is a curved spokeshave. This is used by pushing the tool across the grain.

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After shaping the bum part of the seat we had to shape the other parts, after all we wanted it to look special.
A lot of the lines that we placed on the seat were now becoming clear, the tool we were going to use wasn't.
It was a rasp generally used on horses hoofs, but it did the job in no time at all.

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Apart from shaping and sanding the shape of the seat is near enough finished.

I will continue part 3 on a new thread tomorrow.

Hope you all enjoy.
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By Waka
#923541
Rod

A;ll the tolls were supplied, as was lunch, teas and coffees. All the wood is supplied part of the course fee, except if you wanted to change the seat wood. I went for the ash rather than the tulip wood seat,m therefore I paid a little extra.

I came away with a medium and small spokeshave that James makes and we use during the week. Out of all the expensive spokeshaves I have I rated these the best I've used, and they were half the price of the very well known makes.

Talking about chairs, the one I'm making is an American Windsor, I already have and Canadian and two English, we are now out of space, well nearly. :oops: :oops: