Arts & Mysteries: Adapting the Lessons


Philadelphia Chair: Incorporating carving instruction learned from a master.
By Adam Cherubini
Pages: 18-21

From the August 2009 issue #177
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I’m building a Philadelphia Chippendale (rococo) chair. This has proved to be a fabulously difficult piece of woodworking that has challenged me at every step. From the very first saw cuts, I’ve made mistake after mistake in shaping and joining the twisted and curved parts that comprise chairs of this style. At this point, I have the back of the chair glued up and 90 percent of it carved. I have a ton of cleanup work to do and the most difficult carving, the leafage on the crest rail and knees of the cabriole legs, left to do. The side rails are roughed out and the joints are done. I’ve roughed the cabriole legs to shape and carved the ball-and-claw feet while referring to (no kidding) my February 2009 Popular Woodworking article “Making a Ball-and-claw Foot” (issue #174).

In this article, I’ll look at the assembly and detailing of the seat rails. This seems like a simple step, not worthy of precious page space. But if this project has taught me anything, it’s taught me that every single step has been wholly unfamiliar and deceptively complex. As you’ll soon see, this step is no different.


From the August 2009 issue #177
Buy this issue now