I’ve been logging some hours finishing up the “other table”. This table is 1 1/4″ thick x 10 feet x 34″. My mother in law wanted something she could set up in the yard for dinner parties. The table will sit on two custom saw horses. I’ve built the top at this point and I’m currently working on a set of stiffening ribs for the bottom since the top is made up of individual boards with an attached bread board end.
The next day I hung the legs from coat hangers on the side of the shop and sprayed them with zinnser spray able canned shellac. I gave them just two coats since the cut was pretty heavy. I let the shellac cure over night and then I used black briwax and steel wool to rub out the shellac. I think the result looks great! One happy mistake I discovered is instead of dyeing and then burnishing the leather edges I found the black briwax could do both in one step!
I think I will build another pair of chairs in cherry with canvas seats. I rough milled the lumber back when I milled the walnut for this chair. After sitting in the chair for a day or so I think some modifications might be in order. First, I am on the taller side (6′ 1″) and I have a long back for my height. I often found I wanted the back to be higher. Second, the height of the seat looks fine outdoors, but if you plan to use the chair indoors the seat height makes it look like toy furniture. And, third my wife asked if there was a way to lock the back so it didn’t pivot. I personally like the way it pivots but I don’t see why it wouldn’t be possible to make one that has a back that can be locked and unlocked. All in all I think this is a great project that is very forgiving. So if you are wanting to build one there really are no excuses.
Picking up where I left off last time, I cut the rounded parts of the legs on the bandsaw and sanded them smooth and I drilled the 5/8″ mortise holes. I also made the back supports. I didn’t get any photos of those steps but they are pretty straight forward. Later I used the veritas conical tenon cutter to refine the tenons I had roughed in on the lathe. It’s important to make sure your tenons are all the same length.
It’s pretty straightforward. Just stop turning the cutter when the end of the tenon is right at the exit hole of the cutter. What’s a little harder is ensuring your reamed leg mortises are the same. I used blue painters tape on my reamer. The process for reaming the mortise holes is well documented around the web. But, in a nut shell you just put one of your stretchers in the hole and check for square, adjusting as necessary. With the tenons cut and mortises reamed I slapped the pieces together.
Now I could turn my attention towards the leather work. I got my rivets and leather tooling so I cut a scrap of leather and riveted it together. That was easy. I knew all along I was going to use a lacing system instead of buckles but after I set a few eyelets in my scrap leather I didn’t really care for the look. I had seen an image of a canvas roorkhee that used metal D loops and decided to use that method. I think it turned out looking great.
There isn’t a lot to say about the leather work. With so few elements to the leather and little visual distraction, clean work is a must. A mis-cut edge or rivets out of line will be obvious. I used a white pencil on the back of my leather and some dividers to ensure straight lines and even spacing. I will say the strap cutter Tandy leather sells will greatly improve the look of your edges and in my opinion is worth the $30 they charge for it.
Like a lot of folks, I’ve wanted to build a roorkhee since Chris schwarz at lost art press posted about them in 2012. But this seemed an almost impossibility since I didn’t own a lathe. Things changed when a month ago I joined fort houston. I have zero turning experience but I wasn’t about the let that stop me. After a brief (like 10 minute) intro I was set loose, armed with two easy wood turning tools. I turned one practice piece and then jumped in with both feet and chucked up my first walnut leg blank. I think the easy wood tools are a real enabler. I got results on my first project I wouldn’t have been able to achieve without them. I found the actual turning to be fun. I did struggle a bit reproducing the second, third and fourth legs with even consistent tapers. A light touch and a little time is really all it took to turn these chairs parts.
It should however be possible to get one chair and an ottoman or campaign stool out of one side. So far I’ve cut the leather pieces out using the patterns I made from 1/8″ hardboard. I am wait for my leather working tools and rivets to arrive.
The basque style table base is moving along. I got the base glued up and the first coat of red milk paint on it. I sub-out all my finishing to these little guys, they will literally work for peanut butter sandwiches.
Sometimes life just surprises you in the most unexpected ways. I was in the middle of moving out of our home when I discovered one of my neighbors has a lumber yard in town full of air dried slabs (how did I never know this???)
Most of the slabs have been drying for 6 years plus. Some 10 years. I saw walnut slabs clear as a bell 12 ft long, 14″ wide and 5″ thick! But this piece stood out to me. Destined to be a room dividing bar. 8ft long, 5″ thick, 16″ wide. Air dried for 6 years +.
I have to admit. I struggled with the angled braces. I had the table rendered in sketchup and so I had the angle the braces made with horizontal but sketchup’s resultant angle was WAY off. No big deal I thought, I’ll just clamp them in place and mark the angle right on the boards. This is were I had trouble. The problem is mainly due to the fact that the lower long stretcher is laid flat so it’s 4″ width is horizontal and the upper stretcher is oriented so it’s 2″ face is horizontal. Meaning if I just clamped the boards in place they would be canted 2″ inwards off vertical over ~25″.
The spacer has to be exactly sized or the resultant angle will be off by a large enough margin to produce a visible gap. There is no trick I discovered other than trial and error. I got the shoulder marked as closely as I could and moved forward to cutting the tenons. I figured after I cut the tenons I could trim the shoulders until I got a perfect fit.
The only point I feel could use some reinforcement is the sliding dovetail where the ends meet the top stretcher. I think it would be fairly easy to snap the dovetail off if a large force was applied to the end assembly. I’m somewhat confident this will be a non-issue once the top is attached but I think I still may make some triangular glue blocks to go in the corners at the intersection of the top stretcher and the ends. That more or less wraps up the major construction of the base. I plan to glue it together using liquid hide glue and paint it with black milk paint.
And now my a picture of my eldest Son helping saw tenons!
With the end assemblies completed I turned my attention to the top long stretcher. It was to be attached to the ends by a huge sliding dovetail. I laid out the dovetail on the ends of the stretcher and cut the joint.
Here is the tail in progress
I sawed as much of the dovetail socket as possible and used a chisel to clear the rest of the waste.
In the next installment I tackle the angle braces.