Arm Shaping and Assembly

The chair making journey takes me finally to the arms of Chair 2. The material for both was selected at the beginning of the project, and now the stock has been milled to rough size with the grain aligned. The next step is to cut the compound angle at the back end of the arms. First, I set the horizontal angle.

Then, I set the vertical angle and make the cuts on the table saw.

Placing an extra-long tenon in the back leg allows me to mark the precise angle of the mortise that will be cut in the arm.

After cutting the mortises, I spread the front and back legs, ever-so-slightly, so that when I locate the dowel hole in the front end of the arm there is a bit of extra material available for fine tuning the fit of the joinery.

Now comes the fun part... well, it's all fun..., but shaping is very fun! Using the newly located dowel holes and marking that location on both the top and bottom of the arm, I trace the top and bottom templates onto the wood.

The block plane and spokeshave take care of the initial shaping.

Then, I trace the side templates. Again, different shapes for the inside and outside edges which will give the arm a side-to-side sloping profile.


A bit of card scraping in a few difficult areas.

Followed by edge softening, final surface preparation, and glue-up.

The next morning I removed all the clamps and protective wrap for a first good look and the assembled chair.

Now I need to do some wax clean-up, inspection and touch-up in preparation for the oil finish.

Thanks for checking in on the chair progress. I invite you to leave a comment and let me know what you think. I'd enjoy hearing from you.

Hej då and happy shavings!



Craig Johnson is a fiscal year 2012 recipient of an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible in part by a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature and by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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