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Thread: Chair seats

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    Northeast WI
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    482

    Chair seats

    So in the stick chair book, the first chair calls for a 16x20 seat, 2" thick. It goes through the process of joining two boards together with floating tenon's and pegs, or says you can use a wide board.

    I have called several wood dealers in my area, and finding a 16 wide plank two inches thick isn't a small task.

    At the local yard waste center, people frequently drop off logs from yard cleanup, tree trimming, etc. Sometimes good straight chunks of logs can be found.

    I don't want to mess with cutting floating tenon's, with or without a Domino. I am thinking of cutting a section of log and splitting out a thick chunk to use as a seat.

    My worry here is warping, cupping, etc. I know old chairs were made with green wood, but I don't know if that was old growth timber which would be more stable.

    I know I would need to avoid a piece with pith in it. Logs two feet in diameter are not uncommon there, so I was thinking I could split a piece between the sapwood and pith.

    Has anyone tried this? Once the piece is split do you have to seal the ends and dry it like you would a piece of sawn timber? Or is it useable almost straight away?
    Always put the crappy side against the wall

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Posts
    112
    Yes, I have been doing full size pieces for chair seats. I have wood on my property that is suitable for this. Quartersawn works best, but if you can imagine, that takes a a trunk that is about 3' wide, min. A green quarter sawn piece I have been working on still cupped on me, but I clamped it flat again and it seems to be complying. You can also get a chair seat out of a 18-24" or so, log which is flat saw, staying out of the pith, but must be dried in a stack, to keep it flat, and then you don't have the really nice benefit of saddling a seat in green wood. Great thing for chair parts, is I can start with a 22" round, and split out parts, including chair seats on a splitter, then stack em in a pile. Smaller chair seats, which can actually be quite comfortable, can be as small as about 14" or so by 16" or so. I also think, with rounds, that a book matched chair seat looks really good, so you could make an 18" wide chair seat out of a 20" or so round. All of this, obviously, can be influenced by species. On chairs, I work almost exclusively in West Coast Tanoak, which seems to be a lot like Red Oak, which we have a lot of around here, and has been severely impacted by sudden oak death, Ambrosia Beetle, and fire. So, for the time being any way, there is a lot of available.

    So, for usability of chair seat cut out of a round from the dump...I think you may do well. I would definitely seal the ends as soon as you cut it. If you get some nice rounds, buck em into 22" or so, then split them out in front of the shop. Watch out for imbedded metal-might be one of the biggest hazards in mining dump wood.

    IMG_4070.jpg

  3. #3
    What do the floating tenons or pegs add, other than alignment? Seems unnecessary.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    Northeast WI
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    482
    The book said that they should be added In case the glue joint were to fail. I guess it makes sense in theory. I guess I wouldn't be worried about the joint failing short term as much as I would long term.
    Always put the crappy side against the wall

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
    Posts
    6,631
    There are places that sell chair seat blanks. They're typically air dried for several years. Google should be able to find them.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    Northeast WI
    Posts
    482
    Quote Originally Posted by scott lipscomb View Post
    Yes, I have been doing full size pieces for chair seats. I have wood on my property that is suitable for this. Quartersawn works best, but if you can imagine, that takes a a trunk that is about 3' wide, min. A green quarter sawn piece I have been working on still cupped on me, but I clamped it flat again and it seems to be complying. You can also get a chair seat out of a 18-24" or so, log which is flat saw, staying out of the pith, but must be dried in a stack, to keep it flat, and then you don't have the really nice benefit of saddling a seat in green wood. Great thing for chair parts, is I can start with a 22" round, and split out parts, including chair seats on a splitter, then stack em in a pile. Smaller chair seats, which can actually be quite comfortable, can be as small as about 14" or so by 16" or so. I also think, with rounds, that a book matched chair seat looks really good, so you could make an 18" wide chair seat out of a 20" or so round. All of this, obviously, can be influenced by species. On chairs, I work almost exclusively in West Coast Tanoak, which seems to be a lot like Red Oak, which we have a lot of around here, and has been severely impacted by sudden oak death, Ambrosia Beetle, and fire. So, for the time being any way, there is a lot of available.

    So, for usability of chair seat cut out of a round from the dump...I think you may do well. I would definitely seal the ends as soon as you cut it. If you get some nice rounds, buck em into 22" or so, then split them out in front of the shop. Watch out for imbedded metal-might be one of the biggest hazards in mining dump wood.

    IMG_4070.jpg
    The book calls for a seat about 16" wide and 20" long. I think I should be able to find a log i can 16" out of. What do you seal the ends with? Like a shellac or lacquer?
    Always put the crappy side against the wall

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Rockford, Michigan
    Posts
    49
    Windsor chairmaker Greg Pennington buys trailer loads of beautiful wide, clear white pine for chair seats from a mill near Escanaba in the Upper Peninsula. That may not be far from you in northern Wisconsin.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    Northeast WI
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    Escanaba is about 2 hours. Do you no the name of the mill?
    Always put the crappy side against the wall

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Broadview Heights, OH
    Posts
    727
    Mike Dunbar, the person responsible for starting the windsor chair making proliferation around the country, has been in favor of making up seat blanks from two narrower pieces glued in the middle to prevent warp and for ease of sourcing. Since in most cases the result is painted, it makes little difference. Just saying all that trouble might be a detriment and not a virtue.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6Kz...ScKj8&index=12

    He talks about it at about the 2:00 mark

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Posts
    112
    Hey Jason, I seal end grain with anchor seal, which is made for sealing end grain. Its pretty cheap stuff. I have heard others use latex paint. Shellac may work, too.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Rockford, Michigan
    Posts
    49
    Jason,
    I do not know the name of the mill but you can search for Greg’s website and contact him. I have found nice wide white pine from an Amish sawmill here in west Michigan. Thanks, Tom

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