Shetland Chair Project Walk Through

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hivisvest72

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Well here's my first post in the "workshop tours and projects" forum – I've read with interest a load of other people's posts and thought I'd submit one of my own.

Firstly a quick tour around my workshop.

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I'm hoping that a few pics and a description of my modest setup will serve as encouragement to those of us (me included) who look in envy at some of the setups of other members with Norm Abram-like space and equipment.

In terms of equipment, I've bought a couple of 'Perform' branded items, a couple of Axminster white branded stuff, plus the odd purchase from Aldi (for which I probably ought to burn in h3ll).

In relation to the Aldi stuff – there's no doubt you get what you pay for, but if it's all you can afford then it's better than nothing – you just need to learn to work with it and perhaps not expect 100% accuracy etc.

Since my space is limited (little larger than a single garage) I have no option but to take the bigger machines out and set them up (stabilise on floor, connect dust extraction, fences, outfeed etc) as and when I need them. It can be really frustrating if you only want to make 1 cut or pass – but it does lead to me working out all my cuts, doing as much as I can in one go, then doing assembly as a separate operation. It also leads me to sometimes take shortcuts and use hand tools when I can't be bothered digging all the machinery out for one cut – has it's pros and cons too of course.

The white PVC pipe you can see running along one of the walls in the garage is my multi-point dust extraction system - one end plugged into my perform extractor, and two or three ports along the pipe where I can fit in a variety of hoses to attach to various power tools. To prevent loss of suction, I used end caps on the unused ports - all easily swappable and flexible to cover all my tools (and very cheap to install).

In the workshop I have a thicknesser, a Perform jointer/planer, fretsaw, Aldi bandsaw (small but I've found it adequate so far), basic table saw, morticer, pillar drill, router table (Dakota, I think from Rutlands) with a B&Q router installed (because it was cheap, easy to change bits, and has a twisty knob underneath that I can use to find tune depth easily).

I also have a variety of power tools (biscuit jointer, 3 or 4 types of sanders, couple of cordless drills, jigsaw – plus a wide range of the usual hand tools.

Onto my project then…

My project is a birthday present for my mother – both she and I are from the Shetland Isles originally and I've made her a "Shetland chair" – a particular style of design that dates back to the practice in the old days of using any old crates or driftwood that washed up to build furniture.

I did my initial design in Sketchup (which I was just learning to use – I find compound angles etc really difficult to get across into the 3-d). This was enough to give me the basic seat and legs structure and was a handy tool to ensure that the proportions looked right before I started ordering timber and cutting away.

Sketchup-chair.jpg


Importantly it does not have the boxed sides and top that are a key feature of a Shetland chair, but I was confident that it would be easier to add these when I could measure directly off the part-finished chair during the build so I didn't waste time doing them in Sketchup.

I deliberately used cheap pine (planed, from local timber yard) and again deliberately based my design on standard sizes available (so I didn't waste wood planing it down to width). This saved me so much prep time. I was also determined not to use any mechanical fixings – just glue and wooden joints – which I accomplished as you'll see later.

First few steps:

Prepare the legs/back lengths – using a kind of long finger joint, and glued up

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Then cut mortice and tenons in all the lower pieces
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Dry-fitted legs and supports together, held with band clamp.
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This allowed me to cut seat to correct size – why trust sketchup when I can measure the actual wood itself!

You may notice that I originally had through tenons coming up from the front leg into each arm - I had intended to then put a contrasting wedge in from the top, but couldn't get the angles and sizes of the arms and mortice hole worked out, so ended up just chopping the tenon off and attaching the arms with dowels and angling them in towards the back, which I think turned out much nicer.

With the seat attached I then glued the whole assembly together (although have left the seat floating to avoid any issues with wood movement).

Before I glued it, I routed channels in all the necessary stock to accept the tongue and groove.

From here started attaching the sides and back, using 22mm stock and T&G strips.
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The top was the last piece to go on, which holds all the vertical stock and T&G in place.
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The back supports add a bit of strength to the T&G
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I finished it with several coats of inexpensive clear varnish (I must investigate oils and waxes some day).

The recipient was very happy with her gift.

I've made a fair number of furniture pieces now and smaller items (you can see them on my own website: http://www.alanhill.co.uk) but I'm proud of this one, sure there are bits that I'd improve upon but overall I'm very happy.

I'd welcome any comments good or bad, ideas or tips for future projects (but go easy on me, my first project posting on here!).

Anyway, hope you find something in here of interest.

Alan
 

hivisvest72

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mmm, am I being daft, but how do I get images to work, thought I'd done it right, but perhaps not, or it needs to go through moderator first?

Cheers

Alan
 

Chems

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Alan, your linking to the page the picture is on, not the image itself. Right click on the picture and either go to properties and get the full link which will end .jpg or right click view image and then copy the link from the task bar.

I don't use Picasa, but on Photobucket you can check mark a load of pictures in your album, then click generate HTML and IMG codes, and it will do all the leg work for you. Then just copy and paste and add your narrative between.
 

hivisvest72

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Hi Chems,

Many thanks, I should have spotted that, oh well. I've edited the original now so all looks fine. Thanks again for the assistance.

Alan
 

planetWayne

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hivisvest72":1d4vo77e said:
Well here's my first post in the "workshop tours and projects" forum – I've read with interest a load of other people's posts and thought I'd submit one of my own.

Firstly a quick tour around my workshop.

PICT0118.JPG


Edited down due to a massive post and that the original had been fixed :eek:


Anyway, hope you find something in here of interest.

Alan


Hope you didnt mind me re-quoting this (hope I've got all the pictures correct and working :wink: )

I think the 'img' tag wants to see an actual picture file rather than the web page that holds it. All I did was to right click on the picture on the Picasa page and 'copy image address' (this is on a mac, you can get to the same address on a pc but exactly how escapes me for a min).

you then get (taking the last one as an example) from
Code:
http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/lh/photo/BB3gaj0EDss526fcNVVlqcOSc8T4tCwon6kFN1TONec?feat=directlink
as seen in the address line of your browser to
Code:
http://lh4.ggpht.com/_rAaiLaI_DG4/TFheweqqxtI/AAAAAAAAANw/XftfaPvTPn8/s512/PICT0136.JPG
which is the address to the actual picture.


Cheers.

Wayne.


ps!
All looks good from this end but I'm still all new to this wood thing too! and yes, I do have some Aldi stuff too! (compressor and small pillar drill)
:D Works for me![/i]
 

Chems

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Looks great, you've got a lovely little setup there. You should defiantly have an investigation of the oils and waxes.
 

rileytoolworks

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That is one lovely chair mate. I've never seen that style before.
Does the top serve a purpose (other than strengthening the T+G?
Please don't take this as a criticism but I think it looks the business without the top - you've got me thinking about highbacked chair designs now...
Your Ma must be well proud, and you should be delighted by it.
Oh, and nice space by the way.

Adam.
 

hivisvest72

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Thanks for the feedback Riley and Chems, much appreciated. Riley, there are several variations of the chair, including just a high back with no sides, like in the sketchup model. I guess it's just a question of taste for each individual.

In my case, the design was chosen because it was similar to a traditional design my mother was familiar with, being from Shetland. Comments very much appreciated though, a high back does look cracking too.
 

Eric The Viking

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hivisvest72":t5brh687 said:
Thanks for the feedback Riley and Chems, much appreciated. Riley, there are several variations of the chair, including just a high back with no sides, like in the sketchup model. I guess it's just a question of taste for each individual.

In my case, the design was chosen because it was similar to a traditional design my mother was familiar with, being from Shetland. Comments very much appreciated though, a high back does look cracking too.

Alan,

I've just had a look at your web site: really nice! I very much like the art. And the woodwork, I was especially taken with 'tic-tac-toe', the fruit bowl and your bookends - great ideas, all.

Regarding the chair - it looks splendid. I can well imagine it keeping the winter chills away in Shetland! I have one question though: the seat is flat - is that for a cushion, or is it traditional?
 

hivisvest72

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Hi Eric,

Thanks for the comments. I left the seat flat because I suspected my mother would fit a cushion anyway. She is a very good quilter so I wasn't surprised to hear her talk about quilting a cushion as soon as I gave her the chair.
 

OPJ

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Nice work. While wedged through tenons can look attractive, I don't know, I just think they can look a bit out of place on chair arms, unless the arms are very wide...So, I do think you've benefited from cutting those tenons off and using dowels. Some interesting stuff on your website as well. :)
 

hivisvest72

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Thanks for the feedback Mick,

I have to admit they are not my own design, they came from a magazine originally - I always thought about expanding them to include different charicatures, or even shapes, letters etc but never really got round to it.

Cheers

Alan
 
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