Thursday, August 28, 2014

Welsh stick chair build day 1

Brian arrived last night, and so did I. After a quick hello and a hug to my wife, we headed to the workshop for looking at the wood and each others tools.
We managed to stay in the shop until 1 o'clock testing out various tools and talking.

Today we started by bringing out the elm slabs and marking out where we could fit a sat blank. We cut those pieces out with a chainsaw. I have decided that I want to try to build a settee, so we made one blank for that too.

Next on the agenda was the procurement of some ash for steam bending. I had some old logs lying that we believed we could use.
We were a bit ahead on the schedule so we decided that we could try split the logs because we agreed that it would make the stock for bending even better.
The first log had some twisted grain, and I managed to break the handle of the sledge hammer..
We moved on to the next log and it looked better. The splitting went surprisingly easy but the grain wasn't straight on this one either.
For my settee I needed a piece of approximately 2.4 m. After some splitting with a froe that Brian brought, we broke his whacking stick.. I made a heavier model that looks like a cricket bat on steroids and we proceeded with the splitting. After spending some more time we decided that it didn't work as easy as it should and that Peter Follansbee probably had some secret trick that made his froe splitting sessions become a success. We sure didn't have that trick!
In order to be able to claim some sort of result by the entire splitting circus, we tried resawing the split piece on the bandsaw while following the grain. After some time even we couldn't pretend that this was the correct way to go and we stopped the show.
Instead we found some old boards of elm in the barn and quickly agreed that everyone knew that elm was the preferred wood for steam bending throughout the World.

In an effort to catch up on some of the lost time we started making leg blanks for everyone.
Soon after starting this another of the participants arrived: Lars Olav who is a carpenter that lives near by. He brought two really nice old workbenches with him so we totalled 3 workbenches in my shop.
We continued the leg blank work and we also made a steamer. This is made out of an old deep fat fryer and an old gutter pipe from our roof.

In the afternoon Brian started making some arm crests for his chair, Olav was considering which chair to build and I was trying to steam bend the back rail for my settee.
The first attempt broke, but we decided that the dimensions were probably too large to start with.
So I found another piece of elm that was even more straight than the first. This was squared up to 3 cm on each side (1.25"). The stick was steamed for an hour and a half. But while bringing it close to the bending form it also broke.
I still have one more piece of elm that I want to try steam bending tomorrow, and if that is not a success, I'll have to find some long piece of ash instead.

Please make sure to visit Brian's blog: where you will also find a description of today's build.

Lars Olav, yours truly, Brian.

Afternoon tea + coffee in the garden.

Jointing some ash on the edge

And jointing some ash on the side.

Removal of some old piece of barbed wire.


  1. I think Gustav should be your new full-time photographer.

    1. He is a lot better at taking pictures than I am. Maybe because he actually uses the camera while there is action :-)

  2. I have to say, I love the fact that as soon as you got home, you briefly said hello to your wife and headed straight into your workshop! If I had done that I would have gotten the silent treatment for at least 2 days.

    1. It isn't something I am too proud of, but she had told me it was OK since she knew that we have been working to get this arrangement going for quite some time.
      She even supplied a second to none service the entire day, serving coffee and home baked bread and made lunch etc. So I have to make her a nice settee.