NBSS Week 27 – Finishing the chair, and more basket weave carving!

Lots of work again this week, so let’s jump right in! Now that the front and rear halves of the chair are together it’s time to add the corner glue blocks.


These are just pieces of pine that are glued into each inside corner of the chair to help stabilize the whole unit and prevent any future damage from racking (like when you lean back in a chair on the rear legs to put your feet up on the table). With these glued in it was time for finish.





















Because Sean and I have to have these chairs done in a little over a week for Design Week in Boston, we decided to spray the chairs with lacquer. NBSS does not generally teach spray finishing but I’ve had some experience with it in the past and the piano department has a spray booth so we pulled some strings and made this happen.





















We spent the full day on Thursday spraying 4 coats on each of our chairs and the finish turned out fantastic. I love spraying! In between spray sessions we worked on building the upholstery frame for the chairs slip seat. The frame is made from Ash, which holds upholstery tack very well.

The frame is fitted to the chair with enough clearance for the upholstery muslin and fabric to wrap around the outside of the slip cover frame and then “slip” into the chair tightly. After the frame was completed Lance began to demonstrate to us the actual upholstering process. First we applied the webbing






















and then we added a cover of burlap, which we then stitched to allow for the addition of horse hair. We added a goodly amount of horse hair and shaped and pulled it into an acceptable shape both in loft and also in density. Over the horse hair we then applied a layer of muslin

and wrapped and tacked it so that the actual shape of the seat is formed.

We then used a large upholstery needle to pull horsehair around inside the muslin to correct for any shaping errors that show up once the muslin was pulled and tacked tight. Next week we will finish the upholstery process.

On the basket weave table this week I carved the actual basket weave pattern on 3 of the 4 aprons and also experimented a bit with how to define the pattern once it was carved. I tried scratching in a bead profile, a cove profile, and even considered adding string or an applied bead. In the end the easiest and most visually appealing sample resulted when I just knifed a deep line around the design. With the way the deep line catches light and creates shadow, it actually looks like I’ve inlaid an outline of black stringing. Next week the table gets glued up!

Our Lance lecture for the week was all about inlay and stringing.




















This was a very interesting discussion where we talked about various methods of creating designs from the simple black line to intricate stringing patterns found on things like Pennsylvania spice boxes. We also talked about how to make your own banding and to make custom tools like scratch stocks, stringing sizers, and custom tiny, tiny chisels and scrapers. Up next week, the chair will be done and the basket weave table will actually start to look like a table. Until then….

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