Friday, December 4, 2015

Future project: chair modification

The "loggia" has quickly become our favorite room in the apartment. The kitchen sofa with proper cushions is very comfortable, and we have equipped the room with cozy lighting. My wife's folks recently brought down the round birch table, a very nice piece. But the room lacks seating opposite the sofa, unless one perches on the marble window sill.

We've had the idea of adding seating here by modifying a chair with extended front legs, and back legs removed behind the seat, so that it may rest on the window sill. The idea of buying a perfectly fine chair with the purpose of chopping up isn't very appealing, though, and with my current skill set it would be difficult (and expensive) to pull off a custom number.

I spied a pair of square section, tapered  birch table legs in a dumpster the other day, and thought that they may work for chair legs (the legs will need to be extended off a standard chair length by about 11 cm). Lacking a chair for the project, though, I left them where they were. The next day, however, I found a perfect candidate chair left out for garbage pickup in our neighborhood.

I first thought the chair to be birch, but on closer inspection I realize it's beech. Whatever it is, it's not in great shape, which makes butchering it for this project easier on my conscience.

The front legs are almost square section, about 40x40mm. The chair's been abused, as this busted mortise can attest.

Even this part of the back is cracking.

The plan is to:

  • Make new, longer tapered section front legs and mortise them to accept the existing tenons.
  • Cut off the back legs below the seat's apron, and level the side and back aprons.
  • Refinish the entire chair with wax.
  • Make a new seat, probably from plywood, foam sheeting, and a scrap of fabric.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Small bookcase pt. 8

For lateral strength, this project has until now relied almost entirely upon the strength of the joints. Given the thickness of the timbers and the cabinet's projected use, this isn't much of an issue, but it is something to consider in furniture design. Since the upper cubby now features a door, it only follows that the cubby should also be provided with a back, securing its contents and simultaneously adding a bit of rigidity to the structure.

I had an offcut of some 3.5mm birch plywood that fit the bill, and used a cutting gauge and my router plane to get the job done.

I marked off the thickness of the recess into which I would insert the plywood on the back.

And extended the cuts to the edge with a knife and square.

Setting the router plane at just over the depth of the plywood, I then used it to mark the depth of the recess.

And just pared down with a chisel.

And then cut everything to a uniform depth with the router plane.

I set the corner of the plywood in the recess to mark the size.

And laid out my cuts with a drafting square, because that's what I had in the apartment. Drat! opportunity missed to use the Schwarzian layout square.

Again, just using the dozuki here to cut to the line.

I set the panel in backwards to mark approximately where the nails should go.

I predrilled with a little 1mm bit in a removable chuck in my screwdriver.

And nailed it in place. I didn't have a nailset handy, so that will have to wait.

Back in place, with the door, still awaiting a hinge.