Seat Rails and Stretchers

After getting the side seat rails cut and fitted to approximate dimension for Vidar's Chair, I moved on to the lower side stretchers. The ends of the stretchers require compound angles to be fitted to both the front and the rear legs. Floating tenon joinery makes this part of the process much easier than it would be otherwise, plus the use of floating tenons provides stronger grain orientation for the tenons.

After fitting all the side tenons, I can now check to make sure that the seat rails and stretchers are the correct length. The photo below shows a gap toward the top of the joint, which means that, assuming all the angles were cut correctly, either the stretcher is too short, or the seat rail above is too long. To improve the fit of this joint, I shortened the seat rail by a little less than 1/32". All is well.

Next, having achieved an approximate fit for all eight side joints, I temporarily clamped the assembly so that I could make a story stick representing the length of the front seat rail and stretcher. Things seem to be on track, as the distance between the front legs is within a mere skosh of the target dimension.

I then cut the front seat rail and stretcher to length and the cut the shoulders to match the length of the stick. Below, I'm cutting the cheeks on the tenons of the front seat rail.

Here is the result off the band saw.

After a bit of fitting of the seat rail tenons into the mortises, I moved on to the front stretcher. The video below demonstrates the acoustic "pop" when the fit is just about right. The tenon should slide in with modest effort and produce the sound when removed. I admit, it is possible to get the sound even with a slightly loose tenon, if you pull it out fast enough, but if pulled with moderate speed it's one good indication of a proper fit. Plus, I just like the sound.

Here is the current state of the chair.

Next will be some shaping, final fitting of the joinery and surface preparation prior to gluing up the front leg assembly.

Hej då and happy shavings!

Craig