Archive

How to Fix a Split Seat

One of the most exciting (and frightening) aspects of building a Windsor-style chair is the ever-present possibility that you will split the seat when you drive the legs home. I always tell students: Keep hitting the leg’s tenon into its mortise until the very next strike will split the seat. Then stop. This is not always possible. Today, I split a seat twice. Both splits occurred in mortises for the […]

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Use a Drill to Shape a Chair Seat

Though I’ve built a lot of chairs, I don’t own an adze, which is used to roughly shape a plank seat so it has a buttocks-shaped depression. I also don’t own any of the typical power-tool solutions, such as an angle grinder outfitted with a special cutter for seats. Instead, I have a scorp, which is like a drawknife that was bent around a telephone pole. It’s much slower in […]

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Friendly Handworks Advice

If you’re headed to Handworks in Iowa this weekend, please do stop by the Lost Art Press and Crucible booths in the Festhalle to say hello. Your editor, Megan Fitzpatrick, has volunteered to give us a hand when she isn’t off exploring the amazing show. If this is your first Handworks, here are a few tips for making the most of the show. Bring cash. Credit card readers sometimes have […]

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Meet the ‘Jimmy Possum’ Chair

I’ve long been fascinated by legends involving old chairmakers. Here in Kentucky we had Chester Cornett, an enigmatic bearded maker of the wildest ladderbacks and rockers I’ve seen. In Indiana we had a chairmaker in the southern part of the state who in the early 20th century made ladderbacks with a woven seat that look incredibly modern. In Australia, they have the “Jimmy Possum” chair. Reader Bradley van Luyt sent […]

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Beer as a Furniture Stain

Beer shows up in many accounts of early workshop life. Not only was it an important source of nutrition, it also served as payment for trespasses and a way to mark important days in the shop, such as when an apprentice was promoted to journeyman. Beer also shows up in workshop recipes and for diluting glue. Recently Thomas Lie-Nielsen encountered a use for beer that I hadn’t heard in the […]

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