Sunday in the Shop

Sunday, I took advantage of a rare free day in the ReBuilding Exchange shop to work on a new project and photograph some old ones.  My Scrap Armchair came together pretty well, but, as usual, there are a number of problems with it.  One, I didn't get the ergonomics right, so the back is too vertical, and hits the spine at a less-than-ideal location.  Two, the maple floorboards I used for the back and seat are flat, failing to conform to the body.  Three, the frame is really bulkier than it needs to be, strength-wise.  Four, I thought I could make the exposed fasteners look attractive, but I should've used dowels, or at least plugged over them.  

As modeled by chair impresario Blake Sloane.  

So, in the spirit of good, iterative design process, as well as a slightly unhealthy dose of self-criticism and perfectionist neuroticism, I've embarked upon Scrap Armchair 2.0.  A few weeks ago, an old barrel once used for aging feta cheese came in the shop.  Already in pieces, it was blessedly odor-free, made from gorgeous hard maple, and the staves conform perfectly to the body.  Yesterday, I started in on a revised frame.  I made it five and half inches taller, with a more steeply-sloped back, flatter seat, and thinner frame pieces.  I also used, dense, gorgeous old-growth wood instead of newer pine.  After planing down the wood to a uniform thickness of 1-3/8", I cut out legs and started gluing together frames.  Next time I'm in the shop, I'll reinforce the joints with dowel pegs.  Though too early to fully tell, I daresay this version has a real shot at being downright sexy.  

Before planing.

Nothin' like a hot-pink bandsaw on a Sunday morning.

Leggy, this one.

I also took some photos of two new coffee tables made from recycled oak flooring.  One has turned legs made from old porch railing stiles.  I don't care for those legs, much, but thought I could do something inventive with the wood.  No such luck.  The X-shaped frame came out better, but the top has a curve to it.  Laminating the old tongue-and-groove was quite difficult, as the boards just refused to lay flat, despite employing a full arsenal of clamps and woodworking tricks.  Every project teaches me something new . . .