Chair Back

The first glue-up on this reproduction of Vidar's Chair is at least a week away, but progress on the back parts has been satisfying. Last time, the rear seat rail was completed. The lumbar rail comes next. Above you can see the template tracing on the part blank. After cutting the part to length, including live tenons, the shoulders were cut on the table saw, and the tenon cheeks on the bandsaw.

A plane iron cleans up the shoulder.

After fitting the lumbar rail tenons into the mortises of the rear legs, I moved on to the lower rear stretcher. This one is a bit interesting in that the shoulders need to be angled in the vertical direction to fit the 4mm taper that I planed into the rear legs. I gradually moved the stop on the table saw crosscut sled until the fit was achieved.

I cut the tenon cheeks on the bandsaw and fitted the tenons into the legs. Here is the first dry fit of all the parts that have been made so far.

All of the edges on this piece will be softened as shown below. This was followed on the rear stretcher with final surface preparation using a hand plane.

I threw a small square on the stretcher shoulder so you could see the angle required to fit to the side of the legs.

Although the lumbar rail has very simple 90° joinery with the legs, the shaping gets very interesting. It provides good practice for the upcoming crest rail. I first cut along the top template lines using the bandsaw and proceeded to plane and spokeshave the front and back surfaces to a near final state. Then, using double-sided tape, I put the part back together with the front and back off-cuts and cut the front template shape on the bandsaw.

I continued with the shaping until I had all the top, bottom, front and back surfaces shaped, forming a rectangular profile the entire length of the rail.

The setup for the back splat mortises is very simple. The part is resting on top of two blocks attached to the X-Y table, and is held down with a single block having a small foot on each end that aligns with the support blocks below. This arrangement made it easy to hold the curved part as well as make the correct orientation of the mortise in the part.

Below you can see the completed mortises and how they are arranged along the curve, centered on the top of the rail.

Next, it's time to begin the shaping of the profile. I start by laying out chamfers that help define the location of the curved surfaces. I made simple 1.5mm chamfers on the top and lower rear edges. On the lower front edge, the profile changes from near rectangular at the ends to a gently softened curve that enhances the comfort of the chair toward the center. Beginning with these chamfers allows me to retain symmetry and order in the shaping, especially during the critical first stages when I quickly remove the bulk of the material.

With the four chamfers completed, I then rely on my eye to guide the rest of the shaping. On the top side of the lumbar rail, I need to be very cautious with the edge softening to make sure I retain a flat surface wide enough for the back splat shoulders to contact. More on that much later in the build.

Almost there.

A final half hour, or so, was dedicated to checking for anomalies and fine tuning the surface with the spokeshave.

You may have noticed that I wrapped the completed parts. They will be handled quite a lot over the next many weeks, so I use the stretch wrap for protection.

Below, I dry fit the parts at the end of another enjoyable day in the studio.

Next, I'll be working on the shaping of the four legs. If all goes according to plan, the first glue-up will happen at the end of the week.

Hej då and happy shavings!

Craig