Video: Level a Chair á la Christopher Schwarz - Popular Woodworking Magazine

Video: Level a Chair á la Christopher Schwarz

 In Shop Blog, Woodworking Blogs, Woodworking Videos


About a year-and-a-half ago, Christopher Schwarz got a bunch of woodworkers together for a sawbench building party at John Hoffman’s house outside Indianapolis. Chris was using us as guinea pigs for an upcoming class he was teaching on the subject, and to work out a few final explanatory notes for his “Compound Angles, No Math” article (in the June 2015 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine) and his  “Anarchist’s Design Book” (Lost Art Press) (which, btw, I highly recommend adding to your woodworking library. And no, I don’t get kickbacks).

But the real lesson for me (and I suspect for some of the other participants) wasn’t “how to build a staked sawbench” – it was that “chairs aren’t as difficult to make as they sometimes appear.” The staked sawbench legs, after all,  aren’t much different from staked legs on a Windsor chair (in fact, the bench I built that weekend is now the guest seating in my cubicle…because I have other matched sets of sawbenches.)

R1571_NoFearChairmaking_160And that sawbench in particular is a building block for making Chris’s staked chair – the one he walks you through step by step in the new video “No-Fear Chairmaking” – available now as a download; the DVD will start shipping shortly. His instruction makes it seem simple – and it is. You don’t even need many specialized tools.

But whether you build a sawbench or chair…or any other piece with legs, one of the final tasks before applying a finish is to level the legs. In the video below, Chris shows you his preferred method. (Note, if you don’t want people to stay long in your cubicle, though, I recommend leaving your guest seat cattywampus.)

— Megan Fitzpatrick

P.S. If you want an amuse bouche for a taste of what a weekend with Chris feels like, watch the video below (whilst drinking an adult beverage, perhaps).

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Showing 7 comments
  • captainjack1024

    I probably should have grabbed a glass of single malt before I watched that video… I think I pulled three or four muscles from laughing so hard. 🙂 Thanks for sharing, Megan, and here’s to Chris for being a good sport about it.

  • AlanWS

    It’s so pervasive I shouldn’t get annoyed, but I do when people use “no math” to mean no arithmetic, usually done when presenting something that was in Euclid. It’s as if you put something together without 10d nails and called it “no woodworking”.

    • Megan Fitzpatrick
      Megan Fitzpatrick

      Mea culpa. “Compound Angles, No Calculations” just wasn’t as catchy –- but that’s a poor excuse.

      • AlanWS

        It’s a good video. Thanks.

  • BLZeebub

    If memory serves, Chris is not a fan of Japanese pull saws BUT I dispense with the half pencil trick by using the block and my dozuki to do the job. By clamping the whole shebang to the platform, sawing around the leg’s perimeter and leaving a little stub near the center, I do the job in less than half the time. And there’s no ham-fisted repositioning of the chair either. Just sayin…

  • DaveS2

    I assume Chris’s “teaching schedule” is governed by my dvd player’s disc rotation?

    • Megan Fitzpatrick
      Megan Fitzpatrick

      Do you mean, is the only teaching he’s doing right now through writing and video? If so, yes. (With the exception of several sessions at Woodworking in America this fall, because it’s just a few mikes from his house.)

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