2 Steps Forward... 1 Step Back

Mortising the Legs

Last week, after planing and spokeshaving the basic shapes into the legs, it was time to lay out the joinery. The joinery is compact in Vidar's chair design and doesn't leave a large margin for error.

Here's a bit of the layout on the front legs.

After double-checking the joinery layout, I proceeded to bore holes in the tops of the legs. These will be used to join the crest rail to the rear legs and the arms to the front legs.

The offset hole locations accommodate future shaping of the legs.

Then it was time for cutting mortises; first on the front legs.

Then on the rear legs.

Here's a closeup shot of the arm mortise in the rear leg.

This clamping jig is used to hold the curved rear legs for the side joinery. First the mortise location is set horizontal, then the legs are clamped to a squared-up block.

The block jig is then clamped to the mortiser table and is ready for cutting.

Below, I'm all set up to cut the rear stretcher mortises.

At last, the leg mortising is done.

"An Unhappy Surprise"

That was the good news. The bad news is that a small number of less-than-hairline checks emerged on the rear legs and side seat rails. These cracks (see example below) are very difficult to spot with the naked eye, but on one rear leg the crack became more obvious as it ran through the front edge of the leg. White oak is a bit notorious for honeycomb checking, as it is very challenging to control the drying process in the kiln. Sometimes these defects are very easy to spot, other times not so much. A good reminder that wood is a natural material.

I've really enjoyed working with this white oak and the final results can be very rewarding, so after experiencing this minor setback it is with renewed enthusiasm that I strike out today on a quest for more material.

Hej då and happy shavings!

Craig