NBSS Week 23 – Chair class part 3 and some more basket weave table construction

Week three of the chair class began with more mortises. We set up the mortising machine to cut the side seat rail mortises and this involved creating some unique angled blocks to position the legs, as these mortises are angled.

We first cut the angled mortises in the rear posts, then switched our set up and cut the angled mortises on the front legs. We then cut the straight mortises in the front legs for the front seat rail.

With these done we worked a bit more on the rear seat rail. We had a demo at the table saw on how to cut coves by running the stock diagonally over the blade and afterwards we set up the saw and cut the upper rear seat rail profile. We then completed the shape on the bandsaw and returned to the bench to fair the cuts smooth.

Now that the rear seat rail is shaped and sanded it was time to put some more details on the rear seat posts. This involved tapering both the bottom and the top of the posts on the bandsaw and then handplaning the surface flat. After this was completed it was time to glue the two rear posts to the rear seat rail.

With the rear “H” now glued-up, we checked the assembly for twist and to ensure that our rear posts stayed parallel to one another. We then laid out and cut the tenons in the top of the rear seat posts where the crest rail will attach. These two tenons were cut completely by hand at the bench.

With these tenons now cut we milled our crest rail to final dimension and went back to the mortise machine where we cut the mortises for the rear seat posts and also for the back splat.

The final task this week was to cut the trapezoid seat angle on the front legs and then taper the two inside faces of those front legs. This was done at the table saw with a taper jig and required cutting on both the left and right hand side of the blade as the pattern had both left and right hand specific cuts.

During this process we witnessed another student experience tablesaw kickback. This is a scary and dangerous event where the back of the blade catches the piece you are cutting and literally shoots it at you at high velocity. It is usually caused when the piece becomes pinched at an angle between the blade and the fence or when the piece is not completely pushed through the cut. Thankfully no one was injured and we all got to learn from the experience.

On the table this week I milled my legs to final dimensions and performed the angle correction cuts required on them to account for the fact that my legs splay outward in 2 different directions. The correction cuts allow the aprons to be cut at a conventional 90 degree angle for the leg to apron joinery. With the correction cuts made I took the legs to the mortise machine where I cut the mortises for the aprons.

I then laid out the leg tapers on a sample leg and created a jig that will allow me to cut the tapers on all the legs next week.

Our Lance lecture this week was all about selecting lumber for projects. He explained the methods to select and lay out for grain match and also the best way to saw lumber for pleasing grain patterns. He showed us many well done and not so well done examples of furniture and explained the successes and failures in each. Up next week, chair class week 4 and leg tapers and aprons on the basketweave table, heck maybe even a test fit! Until then….

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