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 In Arts & Mysteries

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As you all know, I’m building a Chippendale chair in a series of articles for Popular Woodworking Magazine and I’ve been having some troubles with it. In the first article, I undercut the back legs, and while I tried to salvage the large pieces of Honduras Mahogany, the damage was done. I had trouble mortising the rear legs. The angled mortises were difficult to cut accurately and the result was a poor fit up. Squaring the bottoms of the legs resulted in yet another problem at the rear joints. I poorly planned the size of the back splat and had to cobble pieces on to make up the width. The crest rail to splat joint was also less than perfect.

But the worst was yet to come. Last night, while carving the back splat, I made my worst mistake of all. I guess my gouge was not quite as sharp as it should have been. I was pushing a bit too hard and this, combined with the irregular shape of the chair, created “perfect storm”-like conditions.


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