Sunday, February 5, 2017

Low Back Chairs

 Been a while since we posted last,
 Pierre Nadeau said on his blog , that if you were truly engaged in your craft there would be no time for much else. 
 I would say that has been a fairly accurate description of life for us for the past few years here.
 Sometimes ,taking pictures just seems cumbersome and distracting... odd , I know, we're trying to do better.... Hoping to share some of the projects coming out of the shop.

Recently we completed a set of chairs for some very special people. They have been very supportive (and exceptionally patient) patrons for the past 6 years. One of my first projects with them was a large Monkey Pod table. 

Here's a few more pics of the table......

It was a massive slab. Four inches thick ,10 feet long weighing about 600lbs
The base was a slayed leg design, following Japanese design practices used with bell towers, water towers,saw horses. The stretchers front and back, joined with quadruple through tenons pegged, and most all else was secured with wedges,

The top had great color and some interesting figure and a crack that I secured with dovetailed ties.

 Chairs seemed a long way off back then. We had done a few others projects in between then finally they asked about chairs for the table.
This was pretty exciting, a table isn't quite complete without chairs. And no one wants someone else's chairs around their table. They opined they liked low back chairs, had been using fold ups since they had received the table. So a rough concept was approved and wood purchased.
 I went with Koa for the chairs. It has a complimentary color to Monkey Pod but the smaller joinery associated with chairs work would have a bit more structural integrity in koa.
Like I said these patrons are very dear and patient people. The table was over a year in the making, mostly waiting for the slab to dry to the point of use. The chairs were a similar schedule.

Here's a completed chair.....

 I wanted the chair to have an architectural feel to it similar to the table. To which I feel we accomplished. There a few design influences, details were refined through prototyping.
 The finish is an oil and wax  product called OSMO. Made in Germany and simply wonderful to use.
Table has same finish.

 It is a frame chair design, all in koa excepting the Ohia spindles. Ohia is really tough and hard but planes well with a spoke shave, great for spindles.

The above chair,  is a bit of a prototype itself. The Chair set does not have through tenons protruding up through the crest rail.

 I'll share some images of the set once I deliver them to the Kona side of the Island next week.

Here's a few images of the chairs in process......

 the back legs were one of the three parts of the project that were fairly labor-some.
They bend at a compound angle with a couple of angled mortises.

 I did as much as I could on the shaper in regards to tenoning and shaping the legs but there was a fair bit that was just plain faster with a saw. Everything was hand planed to finish with very minimal sanding.

The crest rail was another sculptural element.

After the font and back curves were cut and smoothed with hand planes, the mortises for the back legs were cut in.

The seats were an interesting project unto themselves. 

They started with good layout

Then were roughed out with a chouna,
A Japanese adze.

coarsely planed with a small scrub plane

then further refined with a few curve bottom kanna.

Shaped and polished with  kanna

That, was a fair bit of work. 

A chair glued up.

Here's the very first prototype, It's made of mango.


My friend Suzuki san testing the chair for me.

I changed a few details. Thickened legs, changed the shape of the crest rail, adjusted the spindles so they supported the back more. But basically kept most all the concept. Small changes meant rebuilding shaper jigs and sleds. With new patterns made, we were ready, to build another prototype...
In all I made 11 chairs. One mango prototype, a second mango chair used so that it was the first for each process, essentially the second prototype, a test chair I guess you'd say.
Then I made one extra chair in koa, knowing I might have an odd duck that would not match amongst the eight pieces set but look perfect by itself.

Jay , my shop helper sitting the chair for me. I would have to guess that the original mango protochair had more than fifty test sits from every body shape and size. It is entirely amazing how different a chair sits for some one 4'10" tall and another 6'3"tall.  A round average seat height was determined that would be copacetic with the table height and clients.
Dining chairs I feel should be of an average height for a variety of occupant. Though if I were to make a desk or vanity, I would feel that the chair should be made more to the singular user.

I do intend to make a writing desk of sorts for use with the extra koa chair and something similar for the mango. I think the mango protochair has found a home in the shop as an extra chair when needed and serves as a mock up for further chair building. I never glued it up so we can disassemble in the future if need be.

It's an interesting design that could be manipulated to build a longer/wider form like a bench seat. So I hope to use some of my R&D to advantage on a project such as that maybe later this year.

The extra chairs are available for sale individually, email for pricing and shipping quote.

While we're here I'll close with a few pics of the table build from a few years back.



Thanks for checking in to the blog!

Oh, a few more to catch up on lost posts, another project a few years back for the same great folks......

 A Koa Isho Hitsu
clothing chest 18x22x48

it has a veneered top with a western red cedar coopered core.

Nice tray with a sugi burl panel for the bottom.
 Not shown, is a full 18" wide single board sugi bottom, If I remember right , I think the lining on the inside was all single sugi boards too.....

I made the hinges with the eyokurigata.

This dovetail pattern I found on an old nagahibachi at an antique shop in town.

M a t s u K a z e   W o o d w o r k i n g

Simple devices for inspired living

u n i q u e l y   h a n d c r a f  t e d

1 comment:

  1. Nice work, brother! Beautiful!
    Sean Murphy


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Blog is mainly for sharing images with clients and news about Matsukaze Woodworking. Other comments about craft, woodworking etc... are welcome at my other blog spot. Thank-you!