So I have hard some time to get into my workshop to spend some time working on my Plywood Windsor chair. I have been trying time to find this for the last few weeks and I just haven't had time to get into my workshop.
To get some inspiration I have been reading a couple of woodwork books. The first book I read was Furniture with Soul by David Savage. I really enjoyed this book as it gave a great insight into the world of the designer maker. OK so not everything in the book is a style that I would choose to have in my house, there are some pieces that are stunning! After reading this book I have set myself a target of building (at least) one piece of furniture a year. My aim behind this was that I should be able to find time to make at least one piece for my house! If I build more than one it is a bonus!!
The second book I have read is a collaboration of articles from Fine Woodworking on making chairs. This was interesting as it covered a range of different techniques involved in making a range of different chairs. It was a really good article on Sam Maloof, so much so I have ordered Fine woodworkings DVD on him.
To start making my chair I started making the seat part. This was three layers of birch plywood glued together using polyurethane glue. To make this I used two layers of 18mm ply with a layer of 12mm glued into the middle. I made a template to allow me to make the edges of the chair. I am not going to shape these pieces so that I can have flat area to drill the holes for the legs / arms etc... Although when the holes are drilled I may shape the edges slightly, depending on how the chair looks.
Next I made a template for the front of the chair. This allow me to mark the part that is rasied between your legs. In hindsight this was slightly large and I had to reduce it when I was shaping the chair as I found it was a too large.
I made another template to allow me to mark the depth of the shaping on the front of the seat. This was designed to allow me to curve both sides to the same profile.
To make me life easier I cut the the corners of the base using my bandsaw. Then the gave them a quick sand on my disk sander. I hold my hand up! I need a bigger more powerful sander! I quite fancy having a go at making a belt sander, just need to find some time!
I then routered the corers of the top of the wood to give it a gentle curve all of the way around. This was to try and create a uniform curve and also to save time with the shaping process.
To remove the bulk of the wood on the base of the chair I used an angle grinder with an Arbortech wood carving disk in it. I bought this from Axminster tools a few years ago, it is amazing how many jobs I have found for it!
Below is a photo of the plywood after a couple of minutes of being attached by the blade.
Gradually the wood is removed, this is shown in the photo below. I find that going slow and steady removes the wood quicker than trying to work quickly.
The photo below shows the front profile being shaped.
The advantaging of using the carving blade is that in about 30 minutes I had roughly carved out the seat base.
Randomly I forgot to take photos of the next stage! This was to use a sanding disk on my angles grinder. This allow me to smooth the lumps out of the plywood. The advantage of using an angle grinder for this task rather than a conventional sander is speed! The angle grinder spins so much quick and really eats through the wood. So you have to be careful to keep moving it around so that you don't take away too much material. The down side to this is the mess and the dust!!!
Below is a photo of the mess that is made by shaping the base! At the time I writing this I have spent about half and hour vacuuming up the mess and that's only about half of my workshop! It got EVERYWHERE!!
The picture to the below shows the basis shape of the seat base. This will need more sanding before it is finished, but that will take place after I make the legs and the arms.