the holes in the side stretchers as you did in the legs. Then reassemble the undercarriage once again to check that everything fits.
There's some final carving to do before assembling the chair for good. I carvc the coved rain gutter into the surface of the scat, using a deep gouge sized to the width of the covc for the interior cuts, and a slightly wider gouge for the cut on the edge of the seat. (See Fig. 3.)
The toughest work is done; now it's time to put everything together. I assemble the chair in two sessions: First I glue the undercarriage into the seat; then I glue the arm, back spindles and arm supports in place.
Saw slots into the ends of the legs, the arm supports and the six back spindles to accept the wedges for these parts (see Figs. 1 and 4.), keeping the kerfs perpendicular to the grain in the scat and arm for strength and to reduce the chance of splitting. I make the wedges from maple. 1 also carvc a shallow "V" groove into the tenons on the side and center stretchers. The groove provides an escape route for excess glue in these blind joints.
Now clamp the scat upside down on your bcnch. Brush glue into all the sockets in the stretchers, legs and seat. I use a urea-form aldehyde glue to assemble the chair bccausc of its slow setting time. White or yellow PVA glues set up too
Boring the leg holes. Treanor drills the angled hole for the front leg by eyeballing two bevel gauges set to the correct splay of the leg.
fast for this involved assembly process.
Next, insert the center stretcher into the side stretchers by hand and install this assembly into the legs. With a little coaxing, ease the leg assembly into the inverted scat. Alternately tap the bottom of each leg using a waste block and a hammer until you drive the legs fully home. Then right the chair, spread glue on the wedges and drive the wedges into the saw kerfs in the legs. Before setting the assembly aside to dry, completely remove any glue squeeze-out with a damp rag. Once the glue has dried, trim the protruding wedges with a handsaw and use shallow, wide gouges to bring the ends of the legs flush with the scat.
The last step in the assembly process is attaching the arm and its accompanying spindles to the seat. I first glue the arm supports and spindles to the seat, wedging the tenons on the bottoms of the arm supports. Then 1 work the arm down onto the spindles. An extra pair of hands are welcome at this point. When the arm is in placc, drive the wedges into the tops of the arm supports and six back spindles at the sides of the chair. Carefully check that the height of the arm is consistent above the seat before leaving the chair to dry. Then clean up the protruding wedges and tenons as before, and pin the center back spindle to the arm and scat with '/8-in.-dia. dowels. (Sec Fig. 1.)
Finally, level the chair by sawing off the ends of the legs so the chair sits level. Use a flat surface like the top of a tablesaw or your bench to position the seat level, then scribe around the ends of the legs and cut to your lines with a handsaw.
Stretcher work. Find the correct angle of the stretcher holes in the legs with a bevel gauge (left). Then use the gauge as a guide when boring the stretcher holes (above).
The traditional finish for a Windsor chair is paint. The opacity of paint serves two purposes: it disguises the fact that a variety of dissimilar woods arc used, and the single color unifies the design and permits the eye to flow over the contours of the entire chair. I painted my chair with "Covered Bridge Red" made by The Gryphin Co. (available from Primrose Distributing, 54445 Rose Rd., South Bend, IN 46628, 800-222-3092). Two coats of this high-quality paint—no primer—allows you to discern the different textures of the various woods used in the chair. A
ROBERT TREANOR writes and works wood in northern California. He maintains a special interest in early American and Shaker furniture.
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