I his classic stool with gracefully curved legs is a m>od example of the Queen Anne period of design. It is typical or the type of sophisticated furniture produced by professional colonial cabinetmakers during the early and mid-cighlcenth century. It's a fine project for the woodworker w ho would like to sharpen his or her skills and produce an authentic reproduction without bc-v uming overwhelmed by a large project. By mas-lering the construction techniques of shaping and joining compound curved legs and tenoned rails, I he woodworker will have a good foundation of cxpcrience for building many other picces in the Queen Anne style, particularly coffee or tea i.ibles and lowboys.
Walnut is the preferred wood, but Honduras mahogany (sec page 68) or chcrry are also per-Icctly acceptable and authentic to the period. Kail stock should be dressed to thickness. I he legs are shaped from blocks 2%" square x 17" long.
It's easier to lay out and bore mortises in the kg blocks before they arc shaped. Use a %" bit nid remember that the post section of the leg, where the mortises are located, will be sawed to l\ x l%" when the leg is shaped. Refer to the illustration of the end view of the rails for mortise size and location in relation to the rail tenons and shoulders. After the mortises are bored and chis-cled out, you may proceed with the bandsawing of the shaped legs.
Cutting these legs may appear to be a formi dable task, but it's really quite simple. Begin by making a leg template, transferring the pattern as shown to V\" plywood or hardboard, and cutting to shape. Now use this template to mark the leg outline on two adjoining sides of a squared block of the required length. Step 1 shows how the shape is transferred to the block. Mark the two sides A and B.
Now turn the block with the A side up as in Step 2, and bandsaw the outline of the leg, but do not complete the cuts. Leave about Vof material remaining so that the block can lay flat for the next operations. Step 3 shows the block with the B side up. Cut completely along all marked lines on this side, and remove the waste pieces. The final step, shown in Step 4. consists of completing the cuts on side A.
The leg musi then be shaped and smoothed with a spokeshave, cabinet hie, and sandpaper
Next, prepare the four rails, forming lenons % x long on each end. Cut the H> \ \* rabbets for the plywood seat, and shave the height of all tenons to 2%". Check all parts for a good fit before coating the mortise surfaces and tenons with glue and clamping the legs and end rails first. Then add the side rails, turn the assembly upside down, and clamp the side rails, spanning the clamps that hold the end assemblies. Check the assembly for squareness before setting it aside to dry.
When the glued joints are dry, bore K" holes to a depth of 1" through all mortise and tenon joints. Add glue to the holes and drive in pins cut slightly long for trimming flush later. The four outer corners of the rails must be rounded to a radius of . Set a compass to this radius and from the top center of each leg scribe the outside radius; then, using the same center, scribe an inner radius of Before rounding the outside corners with a chisel, make a slight saw kerf at the point where the rail joins the knee of the leg. This will allow chiseled waste to fall free. Next, cut the leg tops down to conform with the rail rabbets, following the scribed radius as shown in the illustration. Remove waste in small
bites with a chisel and mallet, keeping the leg firmly clamped to the work surface. Use a gouge to shape the curved inside corner.
Eight wing blocks are cut to \% x 1% x 2Y*" with face grain matching that of the legs. Fit each block as shown, holding it squarely against the leg and the rail, and scribe the curve of the leg on the face surface. Number each block and leg as there will be slight variations in the leg curves and each block must be carefully fitted.
Bandsaw the blocks to the scribed line, then hold them in place again and with a pattern mark the curve that continues from the leg. Make the second cut on all eight blocks.
Because of their shape, the blocks are glued in place without clamps, so a hot glue or a quick-setting type is preferred. Apply glue to the block, only on the face that will join the leg. Press the block against the leg and rub it into position. Apply hand pressure for a couple of minutes and
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then release. When all the blocks have been glued on, allow them to dry overnight.
The top edge molding may be formed with a shaper or router, or by running the stool upside down over a circular saw set to a depth of V*". It will be necessary to clamp a low wooden fence to the table as the knees will not clear a standard fcncc. Make the cut just the thickness or kerf of the blade, by clamping the wooden fence right against the blade. Pass cach rail over the blade, and while maintaining pressure against the fence, swing the stool around each corner to follow the outside curve. This is not difficult but if you're apprehensive about this operation, you might try it first with a lower blade height.
After the edge has been cut, round off the lip as shown in the end rail view. Smooth the molding with medium and then fine sandpaper (60 and ) 20 grit). Finish sand all surfaces with 120 paper and follow up with a rub-down using 220 paper, A piece of work as fine as this demands as careful a sanding as you can give it.
Upholstery is attached to a V" plywood board cut to fit the rail rabbets with a clearance all around. Round off the upper edges of the board and sand it smooth. Cement 1 "-thick foam rubber to the board and bevel the top edge with scissors. Unbleached muslin is stretched over the rubber and tacked to the bottom edge of the board. The covering material is added over this, pleated around the corners, and tacked to the bottom. Cover the bottom of the board with black cambric, folding the edges under and tacking it in place. The upholstered board is fastened to the stool by screwing up through % \ % x 2" glue blocks fastened to the rails just below the rabbets. Use one block per rail.
The stool may be finished with stain, filler, sealer, and varnish applied in that sequence. An excellent and authentic treatment is an oil finish that will darken the wood without the need for stain. To apply this finish, mix an equal amount of boiled linseed oil and turpentine. Warm the mixture in a container placed in a pan of hot water; warm oil will soak into the wood more readily. Apply this mixture with a soft cloth or bare hands two or three times during the day, until the wood will absorb no more oil. Sprinkle fine pumice powder over the surfaces and rub vigorously with a burlap pad.
Repeat the application of oil, pumice, and rubbing for several days. Clean off all residue after each rubbing. After three applications of oil and pumice, switch to straight oil without turpentine. The last rubbing should be done with oil and rot-tenstone, a finer abrasive, which will bring up a higher gloss. Finish off with a thin coat of carnauba wax polish. This type of finish can be renewed every couple of years by rubbing in another coat of oil and rewaxing.
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