A Jig for Drilling Holes for Chair Spindles
I resist making jigs like I resist going to the dentist. So when I do break down and build a jig, it’s going to be something with a dial indicator and lasers. No, that’s a lie. It’s going to be something dirt simple but solves my difficulties completely.
I build a lot of chairs with spindles that run between the seat and the armbow. The best way to drill the holes for the spindles is with the armbow clamped in place. The difficulty is to:
- Clamp the bow in place so it hovers over the seat in the correct position
- Hold the bow so it doesn’t move while drilling
- Make it so the jig doesn’t get in the way of drilling
- Make the jig so it is easy to clamp to the seat and remove.
I’ve worked with many chairmakers, I’ve read every book I can get my hands on and I’ve taken five or six classes from chairmakers who are much better than I. But I’ve never been happy with the jigs that hold the bow in place.
- The jig is in two parts. An upright at the front of the seat for that hands of the armbow that holds them 9-1/2” off the seat. A rear upright that fits between the two rearmost spindles that holes the armbow 9” off the seat.
- There is a hole in the front upright so you can clamp both uprights to the center of the seat with one clamp.
- Both uprights are marked in inches so that you can center the armbow over the seat and move it forward and back to get the correct pitch to the back of the chair.
- Lots of clamping positions to allow me to secure the jig to the seat.
- The thing is cheap, disposable and easy to make with a band saw.
I used the jig for two chairs last week and it worked flawlessly. The armbow was easy to position, easy to drill and didn’t move a bit. This jig is going into the permanent collection (instead of the firepit).
— Christopher Schwarz