Preparing Dowels

Each leg starts out as a 24"-long, 1 V^"-dia. dowel. (If you'd like to make your own dowels, refer to page 14.)

To prepare the dowels for the leg jig, tenons must be cut on the ends, see Fig. 3. I^ter, the smaller tenon will be trimmed off once the leg is cut to length. And the larger tenon will be used to mount the leg.

Also, to avoid plunging the bit into the dowel at the start of routing the cigar shape, I cut a relief notch near the smaller tenon, see Fig. 3.

21/4-
^ width of router's _ base plate plus vlô"

1 Before turning the legs, the jig must be adjusted. To do this, first set the bit '/i" below the base plate of the router. Then place router in the m iddle of the runner.

2 Now check that the bit is just touching the dowel, and the router base is on the runners. If necessary, move the head-stock up or down until the bit just touches.

Next, slide the router over the larger tenon near the tailstock. If necessary, adjust the tailstock so there's a l/sn gap between the bit and the tenon.

HEADSTOCK

woodscrew washer

BASE

GUIDE BLOCK

HEADSTOCK

woodscrew washer

BASE

GUIDE BLOCK

aux. fence to fer gauge

Shaker Bench

This Bench isn't built the Shaker way, but it would take a Shaker craftsman to notice. The biggest differences are the kinds of tools used.

I'm always looking for a better way to do something. For this Shaker Bench, I started with the seat. The Shakers would have shaped the contoured seat by hand, using a scorp or inshave. But that's a lot of work, and unless you've had experience with these hand tools, it can be difficult to get a uniform shape. Instead, I used the table saw to rough-shape the profile on the seat.

spindles & legs. i also made the legs and spindles for this bench differently than the Shakers would have. The Shaker craftsman probably used a lathe, and no two of the pieces turned out exactly the same. (That's part of the unique Shaker look.)

But I wanted to save time and produce identical legs and spindles. So I made a couple of jigs to form these parts with a router and an electric drill. A bit unusual, maybe, but it produces a ready-to-use leg or spindle in a matter of minutes. (The jigs are shown in a separate article that begins on page 18.)

different wood colors. There's something else about different ways of working. The Shakers knew their woods and how to make the best use of various types of wood. They used a strong wood (such as maple) for the legs. And a softer, easier to shape wood (such as pine) for the contoured seat.

Since I didn't have to hand-shape the seat, I didn't have to use a soft wood. But I still like the look of contrasting woods so I used cherry for the seat and back rest, and hard maple for the spindles and legs.

finishes. To make a project less flashy looking, the Shakers often disguised contrasting colors of wood with a stain or paint. Here again, I used an alternative technique for finishing. It's a technique that I've never used before, refer to page 30.

BACK REST

BACK REST

Dowels Shaker Chair

STRETCHER

OVERALL DIMENSIONS: 54"L x 18V4"P x 33"H

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  • shaun niles
    What jewelers jig can you use to incrementally resize wood dowels?
    8 months ago

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