Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Danish Chairbuilding Extravaganza 2018, day 5, Ty's chair and repairing a window.

I just found a bunch of pictures from the 5th day of the DCBE, and to contribute to the impression of a chaotic event, I figured that it would be appropriate to go from blogging about day 22 to day 5.

Day 5 was Friday, and as you might have read on Brian's blog, things didn't exactly go as smooth as they could have on that day.


It started OK with a bit of time spent at the lathe making legs, until "Brian got worried that I might get ahead of him in the imaginary race for completing a chair". So he deliberately broke a window with a broom..
He claims that there was a bee or a wasp, but seriously, who would even think of trying to kill a wasp using a shop broom?? :-)

Luckily the weather was nice, so we could live without the window for a little while though there was a bit of draft in the shop and especially near the lathe, so as soon as we had gotten the new piece of glass I set out to change it.
Meanwhile my dad had arrived, and he "helped" me trying to change the piece of glass by staying really really close all the time, and shouting OUUUHH into my ear whenever he thought there was a potential of something going south.
After the 8th OUUUHHH I got sort of fed up, and decided that I needed to trim the groove for the glass since the new glass was ever so slightly thicker than the old.
I tried to turn around and put the glass down at some place where it wouldn't get kicked around, and after getting my dad to move something like almost 10" away from me, I tried to gently put the piece of glass away. before even letting go of it my dad burst into the final OOOOUUUHHH, and I slammed the freakin piece of glass hard into the floor. Given that all this took place in the part of the shop that has a concrete floor there was an immediate result of more broken glass. And my temperature and blood pressure rose instantly.

I managed to stay sort of level headed and not shouting at anyone, I went into another part of the barn and removed a 44"x44" piece of glass from an old frame. This is actually spare glass for our greenhouse, but at that particular moment I really didn't care. I cut the glass to the required much smaller size and somehow I managed to put in the glass without damaging anything or anyone else.
But my mood could have been better.

After eating something my blood sugar went back to normal and it was once again a great event :-)

Ty completed his chair with canvas and all, and it looked like something out of a magazine.

In the evening Mikkel from Haandkraft stopped by, and we talked a lot about this and that (mostly stuff that had something to do with wood).
Mikkel told about his problems with the notoriously customer-unfriendly Royal Danish Mail that made sure to hold back his copy of Mortise & Tenon magazine, and then they would send him an invoice of 25$ covering the trouble they have had by holding back the magazine and deciding that he didn't have to pay any import duties on it, but off course he still had to pay them for telling him that..

My dad had brought a bunch of tools with him again, so we made the usual small flea market in the stable and got ourselves some more stuff :-)

The newly broken glass in the cardboard box.

Small tool flea market.

Mikkel visiting, notice the cool T-shirt.

Seat canvas mounting of Ty's chair.

Rear legs hold together the seat frame and support the back.

A small steel rod ensures the canvas loop stay inside the slot.

No superfluous material on this chair!

Brian test fitting rockers.

Elegant lounge chair.

Hornbeam and canvas.

Starting to saddle the seat of the nanny rocker.

Danish Chairbuilding Extravaganza 2018, day 22. Sack back nanny rocker completed.

I elegantly skipped blogging after the official DCBE part was over. There was just too much stuff to do - to be bothered with sitting in front of a computer.

As a side note, I didn't work full time in the nanny rocker every day after the DCBE, but I did try to put in a couple of hours whenever possible. I didn't keep track of the time used in the build, but I think I am well past 100 hours.

On the Friday (day 5), we had a visit from my dad, and Mikkel from the blog Haandkraft also paid us a visit.
It was nice to meet Mikkel and talk with him about woodworking in general and also about the challenges of blogging about woodworking in Danish.

Using the whitebeam (Sorbus Intermediare) for seat material seemed like a great idea since it is dense, incredibly split resistant and sms to be not porous at all. The problem with the material was that it was incredibly hard to work. traversing the grain only helped during scrub planing. Traversing during the hollowing of the seat didn't do anything to help.
I ended up doing all the saddling with a gouge and a mallet and two and a half full days of work.

The armcrest was assembled after I had test mounted all the short spindles, so I could assess how long the piece should be.
When the time came to dry mount it, it was something like 1.5" too short, and besides the glued part broke. I had expected some sort of challenges along those lines, so I had milled more wood than I needed of the same dimensions, so I just took a piece of the spare wood and made a new insert for the straight back part, which was also where the piece had failed.

Large complicated glue ups are definitely not my favourite thing, and I am certain gluing on the armcrest is the biggest and most complicated glue up I have tried so far. 28 short spindles, 7 long spindles and two end spindles (with tapered holes) all had to go together at the same time. In addition there was a bit of spring back int he arm crest, so it was definitely a task for liquid hide glue.

Mounting the back piece was not much easier despite only needing to receive 7 spindles, and perforating the armcrest two places. There was a bit more spring action in that piece, and the risk of breaking it all was nerve wrecking.
Originally one side was supposed to come approximately 5/4" further down, but it started binding and I didn't want to risk anything, so I stopped and decided that I could fill the small gap with some sort of putty instead.

I reasoned that the seat had to be level at stand still, to be as comfortable as possible for the child in the crib part of the nanny rocker. This will make the chair part slightly less comfortable and relaxing compared to a reclining rocker. But the nanny rocker is not intended to be a slouching chair for the nanny, but a place for the nanny to sit up straight and knit while soothing a baby at the same time!

So I leveled out the top part of the seat and marked the correct seat height on the legs.
The legs were sawed to length, and I marked out for the positions of the rockers. Mortises were made in legs, and the ends of the legs were terminated by sawing at an angle.
Finally each joint was secured with a peg.

The plan is to paint the nanny rocker in a shiny dark green. But given that I completed the piece the day before going back to sea, I thought that it was a wise decision to wait until I got home next time before attempting to paint it. Instead of experimenting with homemade milk paint or linseed oil based paint, I have purchased a standard paint from Jotun.
Those people who have seen the chair so far seem to be appalled to learn that I wish to paint it, but I think that the many different grain patterns and the visual difference between the elm, whitebeam and ash is kind of disturbing to the eye.

Thoughts about the build:
To someone like me with a very limited experience in building Windsor/stick chairs, the sack back nanny rocker is a huge challenge.
I am so glad that Ray Schwanenberger provided me with a set of plans, so I had the knowledge of building something that would actually work. That was a great comfort compared to building something of my own design that might not work or look good.
I haven't got much experience in steam bending, but so far I have learned that not rushing it - is a good thing.
There are a lot of individual parts that are not very difficult to make, but given that there are so many it still becomes a daunting task. I opted for uniformity rather than exact copies for all the spindles. My guess is that since there are so many of them, few people will never notice it they are not exactly the same, and even fewer people will care.
Assembling the individual pieces is just as intimidating as I remembered from the loop back settee I made four years ago. very step becomes more and more frightening because of the risk of messing up the accumulated hours of work.

Now I just have to wait for some grand children to emerge in the horizon... (Or lend out the nanny rocker to a friend who is a bit closer to becoming a grand parent).

Sack back nanny rocker.

Seat, turnings and rockers in whitebeam.
Backrest and spindles in ash.
Armcrest in elm.

Bertha inspecting the nanny rocker.


Thursday, September 27, 2018

Danish Chairbuilding Extravaganza 2018, day 4

Yesterday we all worked like crazy. Somehow Thursday manages to slip itself in every time we have those events - and it is a stern reminder that we ought to get closer to completion of a chair or two.

Ty needed to get some really precise holes drilled in his frame assembly. My pillar drill is incredibly inaccurate, and those holes were sort of make it or break it for the project- As luck would have it, Olav had acquired a professional pillar drill /milling machine some time ago, and we drove to the workshop where it still is. (He hasn't moved it home yet).

We got all the holes drilled, two that were square to the surface, two that were at a 15.6 degrees and two that were 14.7 degrees to the surface (like all chair making angles it is measured from 90 degrees.)
This machine was up to the task and I am a quite a bit jealous at Olav for having such a nice machine.
Good thing that I can borrow it though :-)

Brian started adzing out his seat, and he has made good progress.

I worked on the seat and got all the holes laid out and drilled. Next I made the legs and that was done with the copy attachment on my lathe. This attachment works really well, and the whitebeam gave a nice surface.  I am not a fast turner, but using this attachment made it both fast and I ended up having four identical looking legs.

Olav continued on the shaving horse, and was mostly occupied in making huge mortises in the base and the upper rest part.

Drilling on the Arboga drilling machine.

Ty in action.

14.7 degrees really is possible with this machine!

Drilling holes in the seat.

My drilling guide for ensuring 7 degrees holes.

Brian adzing away.

Turning a leg with the copy attachment.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Danish Chairbuilding Extravaganza 2018, day 3

I felt like rephrasing the title post used by Ray Schwanenberger some years ago when I first spotted the nanny rocker, instead mine would be:
Oh heck, is it already Wednesday!

I feel that I should be half done with the chair by now, because clearly Ray is able to complete the chair from starting out quietly Monday morning and being all done on Wednesday. At least that is what I imagine from his blog post (I have very high thoughts on Rays work as you might have guessed).

Well my Wednesday saw me completing the sack back bend, and from then on it was spindle making time.

There are 28 short spindles and 7 long ones. I discovered that I could make them much faster and better looking using a spokeshave than I could on the lathe.
Before calling it a day, I started sanding them, but I didn't get all of them done, so I'll have to continue with that today.

Generally there has been a steady progress on everyone's projects, and it is interesting to watch the different techniques employed at each participant's workbench.

Short spindles pre tapered on the jointer.

Bending the sack back piece.

A few of the short spindles have been rounded.

Setup for rounding over the short spindles.

Olav's shave horse project.

Detail of Ty's chair plan.

Olav adjusting a jointer.

Shaping a long spindle.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Danish Chairbuilding Extravaganza 2018, day 2

I made a bending form for the sack back and then I readjusted the bending form for the arm crest, so it would fit the plans I got from Ray Schwanenberger.

The sack back bending from is advanced for me, because you need to bend it in two planes.
I made three attempts at that, but all of them broke. So I'll have to see if I can get it done today.

Of other things I managed to flatten the seat for the chair/cradle and I made a run of the short spindles that I tapered. But there is still a bit of a way to go.

As usual I forgot to take many pictures, so all I have for you today are 4 "crappy" shots,

Everyone else in the shop seems to be making great progress, which is really nice, because it means that as a whole, we are all getting better at building chairs.

We forgot to buy some new pastries, so we failed to live up to our own goal in that respect, But to compensate for that we had an opulent dinner with all the bells and whistles (Waldorf salad etc.)

Flattening the seat blank.

Seat blank after some exercise.

Steam box set up.

Arm crest bend clamped to the bending form.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Danish Chairbuilding Extravaganza 2018, day 1

DCBE day minus 1, Olav and I drove to Aalborg Airport to pick up Brian Eve.
We had a great ride home and Brian was impressed that the Danish legislation allows you to drink a beer while inside the car. Even the driver can have a beer, just as long as he/she stays below the BAC limit of 0.5 per mille.

Earlier that day, I had picked up the extra workbenches at Olavs place, and Olav and I helped each other unloading them at my shop, so all was ready for building some chairs.

The first day started with going through the stock of wide boards and determining which things we wanted to build.
Brian has decided to make a Velda's rocker, Olav wants to make a shaving horse, Ty is doing a new design and I am going to attempt making a sack back nanny rocker.

Ray Schwanenberger had graciously offered to send me a copy of the plans for his nanny rocker.

They were scheduled to arrive Saturday, but thanks to the incompetence, lack of service and skills by the Danish Mail (which is now called Post Nord), the planes didn't arrive until Monday afternoon.

Fearing that the plans might not arrive until the end of the week, I started designing my own nanny rocker. I made it as far as building a bending form for the arm crest, and then suddenly the real plans were available to me.
Those plans are spectacular - nothing less!.
I decided to ditch my own design and follow the plans, then I would know that the concept would work and I can always try out my own design when I have built my first NR (nanny rocker).
So I sort of started from the beginning again in the early evening, so that's why I haven't got a lot of impressive stuff to show.

In addition to this I forgot to take a lot of pictures during the day..

Load of benches.

I found some use for my drafting whales!

The first attempt of a bending form.

Brian using the planer.



Monday, September 17, 2018

Danish Chairbuilding Extravaganza 2018, preparations

I'm signing off tomorrow afternoon, so I should be home early Wednesday morning.
That will give me a bit of time for preparing the oncoming DCBE.

There are a couple of things that needs to be done prior to getting the shop filled with people.

First I have to remove Gustav's mopeds from the shop, and also the motorcycle lift that is currently residing in one part of the shop. Then I need to do a thorough clearing up and cleaning, so it will look nice an inviting.

I'll have to arrange with Olav to pick up some extra workbenches, and have those put in the shop as well.

There is likely going to be some steam bending this time, so I have decided to make a proper steam box, instead of relying on my old gutter pipe balancing on top of a micro deep fat fryer.
There was one sheet of plywood left over from building the two Mini Max hydroplanes, and that should be sufficient for a steam box. I need to buy a wall paper steamer for supplying the actual steam, but I think that they have those at at the local home center.

I would like to make some sort of kiln as well, but I am not completely sure if I'll do it from scratch. An idea that has crossed my mind is to just get my hands on an old cabinet and install a heater inside that. But I think the steam box is more important, so the kiln might just have to wait.
In a pinch it should be possible to stack some insulation around an old table, and then put the heater below that. So given that there are a bit more options for that I am not so worried about the kiln.

I need to go and talk to the caterer, and discuss a menu for the week, and agree on when I should come and pick up the food. That is a very important thing, since we need to be well fed to yield maximum power!

Due to the planned return to chairs featuring some turnings, I thought that it might be a good idea to see if I could get my act together, and install an electric motor on an old wooden lathe that I bought at an auction in Sweden maybe 15 years ago. I don't want to make a foundation for it, so it will just be clamped to my workbench. That way there shouldn't be a traffic cork for a lathe when the need arises.

As usual I am probably way too optimistic regarding how much I am able to achieve in a few days, considering that I also plan on talking Bertha for long walks, ride in the forest with Mette, and I have signed up to chaperone the first school dance at Gustav's boarding school.
But on the other hand, once in a while I am actually able to impress myself with being efficient, and I hope I will be able to do just that this time too.


Frog pastries.
Picture courtesy of Toolerable.