Rocking Good Day

Is that too corny?

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Saturday, July 27, 2013: Today was dedicated to making the rockers. They were cut from a single piece of oak (Paul cut the rough shape on a band saw to save time) and then shaped. The inside curve was prepared with a spoke shave and card scraper, while the outside was done with nothing more than a Stanley #4 hand plane. After the curves were complete, I chamfered the edges and gave them a quick sanding.

As a side note, it is amazing how little sanding needs to be done when preparing the wood with hand tools. These tools are sharpened to a 12,000 grit, mirror finish that produces a surface so smooth, it needs to be sanded to roughen it for finish.

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The next step is to lay out the locating tenons on the bottom of the posts. This mortise and tenon joint has little to do with overall strength, and everything to do with lining up the rockers properly. These mortise and tenons are all compound angles, so correct layout is a must. Once the tenon is cut, the chair is set on top of the rockers, centered, and then the tenons are traced. This creates the mortise layout. Chop the mortises to fit, making sure the tenons do not bottom out.

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Now I scribe the tenon shoulders for an exact fit to the rocker. This is a repetitive process, so it is best done with the chair secured upside down. Since I just started this step, I’m not about to show you any pictures. They are all way to embarrassing! Maybe Monday or Tuesday if I can get a respectful joint to come together.

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This is the stage of chair making that requires you to fix every little imperfection, from earlier in the process, which has followed you, never to be forgotten. Several different measurements, angles, and clamp pressure pull the frame where it sits now, and no amount of exactness will help to avoid this step. Take your time, and it will be fine. I’ll show you when I get back to class Monday.

 

I’m not sure yet what I’ll do tomorrow. The weather forecast is calling for rain and thunder storms for the next few days. I hope you’re dry and enjoy your weekend.

 

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