Sunday, November 25, 2012

Even in Kyoto--
hearing the cuckoo's cry--
    I long for Kyoto.

Matsuo Basho

 Here above you can see another arm chair.  I really want to make a birdcage style ( with a double crest rail) but without an order it's tough to find the time.

This post is about fixing bending breaks.  It's really pretty easy, the hardest part may be deciding which pieces can be glued and which have really broken and have to be discarded.  Generally, it depends on the depth and direction that the break is running.  If it's pretty deep, and is running in, then toss it.  Also, if the break looks like it's peeling apart, layers coming off, it's probably ok to glue.  But if it looks like a strait fracture, then better to discard.

I like to fix the stress fractures when the piece is freshly steamed, and thus green.  Polyurethane (Gorilla) glue works great.  Just work it into the break ( I use a feeler gauge ) and then wrap tightly with masons line and tape off.  Once the piece dries, a card scraper cleans it off and you're all set.

I put the steamed pieces in my furnace room to dry.  I have a floor fan blowing around and within a couple days the pieces are all set.  I've been doing a bunch of steam bending lately, as you can see.  Seen here are a few hoop backs and a couple of C-arm bends.

Here you can see the drying rack I like to use on hoop backs.  It's a board with a couple blocks screwed to it that hold the ends.  I then use a windlass to draw the hoop together, thus giving the hoop a slightly pinched look.  I think it looks better, though I wonder sometimes if I am the only one who sees it.  The board also keeps the ends in the same plane, which simplifies assembly.  I have also been steaming my ash longer than usual, which does seem to be helping, about an hour. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Continuous Arm, step by step..

"I feel like a wet seed wild in the hot blind earth.”
William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying


 I'm gonna do something a little different, or at least try.  I'm gonna have the next few posts cover the sequential building of a continuous arm.  This pic shows where I am headed eventually.   This chair actually started it's life green, then I painted it green, and it's final incarnation as black on red which to my eye was the best color.  It's a pain to repaint milk paint chair as you have to strip it to wood, then glue size, then paint up. 

Anyway, here goes.  I may have some gap posts but gonna try to do this one after another. 

The first thing to do on any chair, at least the way I do it, is to do the steam bending first off.  This allows the piece to dry and set while doing other things.  Below you can see a nice piece of white ash that will become the arm.  These arm pieces have to be especially straight grained as it's a compound bend and I can't use a strap.

I split this into two pieces, the heart becomes firewood but the other piece can make two arms.

 This is what you have to look out for..this whorl ended before the sapwood, so it wasn't a problem, but had this been all the way to the bark, I could not have used this piece for bending. 

 Here are the three pieces I got ready for one arm.  I always make extras and have them handy, and because I have two forms,  I can steam two at a time and bend.  Always have an extra or two on hand as this is a tricky bend and if you break one, you aren't dead in the water. 

My next post will show the actual bending and the mixed results. 

 Here is a look at my brake, a close copy of Pete Galbert's, only I scabbed a couple pieces of 2x6  to raise the effective fulcrum, and below a scan of the changes.  I've had a couple emails asking for the dimensions, so here it is.