Photography By Tim Roberts

RIGHT: A chair for flute and recorder player

BELOW: Turned stretcher rails give support to back

ABOVE: Full-size mock-up used at home to test out the practical reality of the design

"Cascamite must be mixed to its correct consistency - something resembling double cream - otherwise glue failure could occur"

The laminates can now be cut out on the bandsaw and finished to size on the thicknesser, ensuring that enough waste is left on the laminates to account for the considerable cleaning up required after removing from the former.

Cutting laminates

My personal method for cutting laminates is to cut the first piece from the planed stock on the bandsaw, and then to re-plane the sawn surface of the stock ready to cut the next piece, and so forth.

When all the laminates are cut, the sawn faces can be passed through the thicknesser to achieve the correct size. Mark the stock for the edge of the cut laminates before cutting the components. The pieces can then be matched when assembled to ensure the grain runs the same way.

Glue choice

The type of glue used for laminating comes down to personal preference. PVA is fine, but does not allow a lot of time and tends to creep.

I nearly always use Cascamite in this situation, not only for its stability but also because it leaves no glue line. A word of warning though: Cascamite must be mixed to its correct consistency -something resembling double cream - otherwise glue failure can occur.

Before assembling the legs, place paper between the job and the former to avoid unwanted adhesion. Placing a substantial piece of wood - birch-faced ply would be fine - between the cramps and the laminates helps to distribute the pressure, obviating difficult to remove dents in the work where the cramps were tightened.

With the glued laminates in position, the cramps can now be tightened. Start from the centre of the curve and work towards the ends, gradually bending the laminates around the former as the nuts on the cramps are tightened, see fig 2.

"Before assembling the legs, place paper between the job and the former to avoid unwanted adhesion"

Turning rails

While the laminates are in the cramps, the three rails can be turned on the lathe. The front rail is straightforward enough, but the timber for the two backrest rails must be perfectly square at the outset, the reason being that these are turned so that a square-section centre block is left.

This block provides a good gluing surface for the backrest fixing. The block can be planed into a hexagonal section before assembly.

The front legs, bottom rails and seat rail are all constructed using traditional shouldered mortice and tenon joints, with a haunched mortice and tenon on the seat rail.

ABOVE: Full-size mock-up used at home to test out the practical reality of the design

LEFT: Design influence behind the front stretcher rail

LEFT: Tage Frid former for laminating legs

top: Adjustable bevel being used to establish backrest angle in relation to turned rails

above: Cardboard template helps to finalise exact angle below: Backrest glued and clamped into position below: Backrest glued and clamped into position

MODEL, MOCK-UPS AND RODS

any movement"

How the design evolved

I generally make several models of an intended piece of furniture, usually at 1:5 scale taken from the design sketches. In my opinion these give a better idea of what the finished piece will look like, and any technical problems arising in the making stage are made far easier to envisage with a scale model than with sketches.

A scale drawing is essential, and I prefer to construct a rod from this, using it as a reference for the making procedure of a piece of furniture.

To give me the exact ergonomic and anthropometric measurements needed for this chair, I decided that a full-scale mock-up of the chair was necessary.This was made from off-cuts and pieces of scrap screwed and bolted together - it's always advisable to construct mock-ups using screws and knock-down fittings, as this makes any adjustments that are required far easier to achieve than for a glued-up model.

I used the mock-up at home for a few days, and this soon told me what alterations had to be made.

below: Slotted blocks and glue block on backrest to fix seat

Marking out is straightforward, but care is needed in achieving the curve on the shoulders of the rear tenon on the bottom rail. This can be marked directly from the rod, see panel. After cutting out the joints, the front legs, front rail and seat rail can now be glued and cramped up separately.

Rail positioning

The positioning of the two turned rails determines the backrest angle, and so careful working out is required - plus a confidence in one's rod.

It is advisable to make a simple cardboard backrest which can then be temporarily fixed into position to achieve this important angle.

When sure, the mortices for the turned rails can be drilled out on the pillar drill. The legs, bottom rails and turned rails can now be glued and cramped to the chair front section.

I was fortunate in finding a piece of ash which enabled me to cut the backrest as one component. First, cut out the shape on the bandsaw, and then finish with a spokeshave and cabinet scraper.

The backrest can now be glued to the blocks on the turned rails.

"The front of the seat is held in position by three ash blocks glued to the seat rail, and slotted to allow for

How the design evolved through the backrest and into the end-grain of the seat for added strength.

To achieve this, lift slivers of wood along the grain with a chisel, but avoid breaking off the slivers. Drill into the end-grain of the seat and glue the dowels into position.

below: Slotted blocks and glue block on backrest to fix seat

Seat

The.seat is made from three pieces of ash, glue-jointed together to provide the width prior to cutting out the shape on a bandsaw. As with the backrest, finish off the seat shape with a spokeshave and scraper.

The front of the seat is held in position by three ash blocks glued to the seat rail, and slotted to allow for any movement, 50mm, 8 gauge screws being used to fix the seat to the blocks.

The rear of the seat is fixed to the backrest by a glue block. Allow 24 hours for the glue to bond, and then insert dowels right:

Construction of Tage Frid laminating former

Fig!

Laminated chipboard

The slivers of wood can now be glued back down. Great care is required in achieving an acceptable finish using this method. Alternatively, the dowels may be left visible as a decorative feature.

Cleaning up, finishing

I always use the minimum of sanding in the final cleaning up stage, as I prefer the finish that is obtained with a cabinet scraper. The turned rails may, however, need some sanding while on the lathe, and the sharp edges can be removed from the chair by using

00 grade sandpaper.

Finishing is wide and varied, and depends upon personal preference. For this project I wanted to keep the wood quite light, and so a single coat of danish oil followed by two coats of finishing wax completed the job.

My friend has assured me that she is pleased with her chair, and uses it constantly for home music sessions; so pleased in fact, that I think I heard her mumbling something about wanting a musician's desk to complement her chair. Now where did I put that former...? ■

"I think I heard her mumbling something about wanting a musician's desk to complement her chair"

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