Chairmaking

Clamping a Chair is Like Hugging an Eel

One of the challenges when building a chair is clamping the dang thing down so you can work on it. I’ve seen lots of solutions that use band clamps. But I dislike band clamps (perhaps I had a bad experience at band camp). So here’s what I do. Most workholding problems can be solved...

chairmaking

Take the Fear Out of Chairmaking

When you make a table it’s fairly straightforward. Four legs (or some variation thereof) and a top. Not too hard. If you choose to splay the legs, then you’ve added some geometry and math to the process…and that’s why you see a lot of tables with straight legs! If you build a chair with...

Elia Bizzari works on a shaving horse.

The Apprentice

Persistence (and a crazy mother) can help. by Elia Bizzarri page 64 from the November 2011 issue I slept on a cot in the loft of the shop, cooked on a portable burner, and walked my dirty dishes through the garden to the basement sink. Curtis Buchanan walked in at seven one morning to...

Make a Revolution from a Tree

Last year while working in Maryland, I took a day to travel to Light Street in Baltimore to meet Jennie Alexander, author of the book “Make a Chair from a Tree.” Alexander is an iconic figure in woodworking and chairmaking, a term she would reject (or at least roll her eyes to when hearing)....

Galbert Drawsharp in Use

Before you read beyond the first few sentences of this blog entry, there a couple things you should know: I have no problems sharpening a drawknife. Never have (except that time in the 1990s where I ended in the ER for seven stitches). One of the first tools I inherited from my grandfather was...

A Visit with Woodworker/President Jimmy Carter

  No matter what your political bent, you’ll want to check out the latest episode of Charles Brock’s The Highland Woodworker, which Popular Woodworking proudly sponsors, and watch as he visits former President Jimmy Carter. Chuck gets and an up-close look at the Moulthrop bowls and Sam Maloof furniture President Carter keeps in his...

Chair Joinery: Tapered Tenons & Tapered Mortises

Because chairs take abuse like a rented mule, the simple mortise-and-tenon joint is sometimes not enough. In traditional Windsor chair construction, the legs and spindles are attached to the plank seat using tenons that are cone-shaped along their lengths. So the mortises have to be the same shape. These tapered joints are clever. The...

A Better Clamp for Angled Joints

Gluing and clamping angled assemblies – like most chairs – can be a hassle. There are some great strategies for approaching glue-ups, angled and otherwise, in various books including “Glue and Clamps,” but sometimes it just comes down to having the right tool for the job at hand. For years I fought with K-Body...