Making Chairs

One of the wonderful things about making chairs from sustainably-harvested local wood, right off the homestead, is reminiscing over all of the beauty of these graceful trees over the course of time…

Wild Apple…

apple blossoms in springtime…

…Red Maple…

fall maple leaves…
maple samaras…

…Red Spruce!

spruce tips…
spruce cones…

The wood that goes into items for our everyday use is actually not plain or utilitarian, but is a product born out of a great and lively beauty that can be celebrated from seedling to harvest! It’s an honor and a privilege to work with God’s creation in this way.

Making chairs makes lots of shavings!

The spokeshave is the final stage of smoothing for legs and rungs, taking fine shavings that leave behind a smooth but very natural finished surface.

Each element of the chair is individually shaped and smoothed ~ each leg, each rung, each back-splat, the seat, the crest…It’s a fun combination of skills and tools!

Seat blanks are split and shaped and smoothed with a saw and an axe and chisels and gouges.

Back pieces are shaped with axe-work and draw-knife and spoke-shave and hand-planes.

Round and tapered tenons for the assembly joints are formed with a hand-auger.

axe
The drawknife can be used for removing bark, roughing out, and also shaping.
drawknife
Using a large, traditional auger to create a hand-crafted round box out of natural birch, bark left intact.
auger

Legs and rungs begin with the draw-knife…And then you get to get out the lathe!

setting up the pole-lathe to turn a leg

Joe made a spring-pole lathe that integrates into his workbench, so that he can set it up when he has something to turn, and pack it away when it’s not in use. It’s leg-powered!

roughing out legs and rungs on the spring-pole lathe

From the tree…to the chair! Bringing the outside in, quite literally…These chairs are a wonderful way to honor God’s creation with daily use for years to come!

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men…

(Colossians 3:23, KJV)

by Sydney Michalski

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