Its sturdy but attractive appearance makes this traditional captain's chair ideal for either desk or den

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OPULAR year in and year out is this comfortable, handsome captain's chair, the same kind the old sea-dogs had in their cabins aboard ship, and which they stowed ashore when their sailing days were over. The traditionally-styled one shown here is made of maple and has a fruitwood finish. For the craftsman who takes his time, and works carefully, it isn't too difficult to build. Start out by gluing 1¾ in. thick boards to form the seat, which is about 19 in. deep and 21 in. across. Join these, boards with dowels and glue, making sure grain goes in different directions on adjacent boards. While glue sets, use your lathe to turn legs, rungs and spindles to dimensions shown, leaving dowel ends as shown (Figs. 1 and 2). In sanding these pieces on the lathe, follow circular sanding with horizontal hand sanding while piece is still between centers. You can now stain, varnish, and wax these parts before putting them all together, but don't run finishing materials onto the dowel ends unless you want to scrape them later; these ends must be clean for a good glue job. Before boring the various holes, you must
96

cut a pattern or template (Fig. 3) to use as a guide for the different angles. For example, the 2 front legs spread out toward the sides at 100° from the undersurface of seat, and also 100° toward the front, making a compound angle. Locate centers of 4 leg holes in top surface of the seat. Clamp a backup board securely to undersurface to prevent auger bit from splintering wood when it breaks through. Set auger point at center of hole, tilt bit against the template one way, then the other, and begin to bore. Check both angles after every couple of revolutions, and you'll get a fairly accurate job. But don't be impatient to see how the legs will fit! Bore rung holes in all 4 legs at proper angles (Fig. 4), again using templates. Work carefully, to prevent having 2 right-hand or lefthand, posts, instead of one of each (that is, a pair for the front and one for back). The understructure of the chair is roughly blocked out in Fig. 4 to show leg and rung (or stretcher) dimensions and angles for assembly. But don't glue this assembly together yet. Next rough out the saddle seat, by boring holes to proper depth at many places all over the seat to depths shown in Fig. 5. First, locate all ½ in. deep holes, for example; then using a stop on the drill bit (a twist of wire or rubber band would do), drill all ½ in. deep holes, then all ¼ in. holes, and so on. The larger your bit, the less wood you'll have to clean out later. Use a fairly fiat-pointed bit, not an auger bit with its long screw point, and figure in your

MATERIALS LIST—CAPTAIN'S CHAIR (All dimensions in inches. Use maple or birch) 2 pcs. 2x2x18½ front legs 2 pcs. 1½ x 1½ x 18 back legs 1 pc. 1½ x 1½ x 16 top front rung 1 pc. 1½ x 1½ x 18 lower front rung 2 pcs. 1½ x 1½ x 11¼ front spindles 7 pcs. 1½ x1½ x 10¾ back spindles 1 pc. 1/8 x 3 x 4 template 1 pc. ¾ x 14½ back dowel rung 2 pcs. ¾ x 15½ side dowel rungs, upper 2 pcs. ¾ x 17½ side dowel rungs, lower 4 pcs. 1/8 x 1 x 1¾ leg wedges 3 pcs. 1 x 4 x 1 5 arms & back 1 pc. ¾ x 4 x 20 glued back upright 1 pc. 1¾ x 19 x 21 glued seat 4 pcs. 1/8 x 1 x 5½ splines (dowels optional) Fig. 1 " " Fig. 3 Fig. 4 " " Fig. 5A Fig. 7 Fig. 11 Fig. 5 Fig. 8

SCIENCE AND MECHANICS

AUGUST,

1951

97

No two people in the world have personal seats which are identical, anyway, and you can always claim to have custom styled the chair seat to fit your own basic architecDRILL, 2 HOLES ture. SAW KERF FOR WEDGE When the rough-out is DRILL, 2 HOLES OVERALL LENGTH APPROX. finished, insert the 4 legs, OVERALL LENGTH 18" smearing Franklin's hide glue BACK LEG (2 REQ'D, LEFT & RIGHT) evenly on dowel ends and in holes and wedge slots (Fig. 5) covering all surfaces thoroughly. But don't insert wedges at this time! You START can, however, glue up and inSTART TAPER DRILL 3 HOLES KERF TAPER sert all rungs (or stretchers). There should be enough play LOWER FRONT RUNG in legs to allow for rung assembly. Always let glue become tacky before joining parts. OVERALL LENGTH Bind leg assembly tightly with rope, using twist sticks, TOP FRONT RUNG and protecting finish with small strips of scrap wood. Smear wedges (Fig. 5A) with glue, and ram them home into leg slots. Then, allow entire DIMENSIONS SAME DOWEL END OR INSERT OVERALL LENGTH assembly to dry while you IN " C " ABOVE APPROX. 16" bandsaw the arms and back BACK SPINDLE (7 REQ'D) SLIGHT TAPER (Fig. 7), and back upright (Fig. 11A). You can also join back and arms with 3/8 in. dowels. Allow glue to dry thoroughly overnight and then go back to the seat and trim protruding end of leg post to conform to seat profile. DOWEL INSERT ONLY OVERALL LENGTH APPROX. With a sanding drum on a flexible shaft or with cabinet scraper and hand sanding, using coarse paper, work out chisel marks and gradually fineFRONT SPINDLE ( 2 REQ'D) sand surface to finish grade. Next, locate spindle holes along edge of seat and drill them at proper angles (Fig. 5). Take both arm pieces and round back piece (not back upright) and with either saw or shaper cut spline grooves as shown (Fig. 8). Then glue and join, using DOWEL INSERT ONLY OVERALL LENGTH APPROX. straight-grained splines with a close fit for thickness. Let splines protrude somewhat from the
FRONT LEG
(2 REQ'D, LEFT & RIGHT)

drill point in determining your depth stop. These holes are guides to shaping the seat, of course, much as the preliminary cuts on the lathe (Fig. 2) are used to establish minimum diameter of pattern to be turned. Instead of having to calibrate the seat thickness at numerous specific points, using the undersurface as a guide, you have the easier method of judging the changing thicknesses of the seat surface, using the board's original top surface as a reference line. Next, following the saddle seat edge line, and using mallet and chisel (preferably a broad gouge at first), take light surface cuts all over and gradually work down to the bottom of all drill holes. Don't worry if you get it a bit off! 98

LOCATE SALIENT LINEAR DIMENSIONS

SQUARE STOCK IS ROUGHED-OUT ROUND

LATHE

USE CUT-OFF TOOL TO ESTABLISH MINIMUM DIAMETERS THEN CLEAR OUT TO SHAPE

STEPS IN TURNING
MARK WHILE LATHE IS TURNING CUT-OFF TOOL

SCIENCE AND MECHANICS

PLAIN ¾" DOWEL STRETCHERS

PLAIN

DOWEL LONG CHAIR LEG CUT OFF

TOP STRETCHER SEE-ID

LG. INCLUDING ENDS LONG MOVE PENCIL AND BLOCK AROUND LEG

BOTTOM STRETCHER SEE-1C

F R O N T V I E W SHOWING 1 FRONT LEGS ONLY WITH SADDLE SEAT & STRETCHERS

S I D E V I E W SHOWING FRONT LEG (LEFT) AND BACK LEG, WITH SEAT & PLAIN STRETCHERS

B A C K V I E W SHOWING B A C K L E G S , SEAT & PLAIN ¾" DOWEL STRETCHER

100" 105°
AUGER BIT WHEN BORING THROUGH, CLAMP SCRAP PIECE UNDERNEATH

ANGLE BORING TEMPLATE
PLYWOOD OR MASONITE

80°

75°

SURFACE OF WORK

When glued rungs are in place, use a few scraps of wood to protect the leg finish. Wind a double length back surface, to be trimmed flush and finished of clothesline around 2 legs; tighten by using twist later. Or a good dowel joint may be used instick. Back rung prevents rope from climbing upstead of splines, to completely conceal the inner wards during tightening. Repeat for each pair of legs. joint construction. BACK SPINDLE 3 SPINDLES TILT BIRCH OR Locate and drill out TILTS 75° OUTWARD OUTWARD 8 0 ° MAPLE spindle holes on underPERPENDICULAR side of arm and back TO OUTER EDGE OF SEAT assembly (Figs. 7 and 10). Before installing spindles, however, cut WEDGE and glue up stock for 4 REQ. the back upright. This piece can be sawed out of a solid block of maple, CURVED LINE IS THE but to save materials DEPTH OF SEAT BELOW PROFILE LINE FRONT TO BACK cost, take a plank (Fig. ORIGINAL SURFACE 11A) and saw several curved sections out of REFERENCE LINE IS ORIGINAL SURFACE it, using the same curve as the front edge of the SEAT main back piece (Fig. 1" SQUARES 7). G l u e a s m a n y thicknesses together as FIGURES ABOVE REF. needed to build up to LINE ARE DIMENSIONS at least 4 in., using a FROM EDGE OF SEAT small dowel here and FRONT SPINDLES TIL 80° FORWARD & 80° OUTWARD there for support. When dry, remove from clamps and cut LEG HOLE , LEG & the bottom plane from WEDGE IN PLACE an angle of 90° relative to the front, to approx. 87°. Bandsaw both ends as shown, and round off [AUGUST, 1951

99

5"C-C LOCATION OF SPLINE ASSEMBLY

¾"
GRAIN LINE

ARM

S P L I N E GROOVE

BACK 5/16" PIECE
1/8"

BIRCH OR MAPLE
1/8" 5 1/2"

¾" 5"C-C 3¼"
¼"

¾" ¾" 2¼" 5/16"

SPLINE

¾"
5"C-C 12 5/8R 1" SQUARES 11 3/8"R RUN GRAIN LINE. THIS DIRECTION FOR STRENGTH AND TO SAVE STOCK POSITION OF SPINDLE HOLES

1"

Fig. 9. Cutting out arm of chair on a bandsaw preparatory to joining it to the main back piece with either splines or dowels. Also, see the drawings.
ARM ARM 5½" 1"

5½" C-C

INDICATED FOR UNDER SIDE
ARMS AND BACK ASSEMBLY

80°

TOP 1"

ALL PARTS BAND SAWED

4"
PROFILE OF ARM AT END

TOP

ALL SPINDLES EXCEPT 90° 2 FRONT ONES ARE 9 0 ° TO SEAT, VIEWED FROM SEAT EDGE, BUT TILT OUTWARD 8 0 ° FROM SEAT. BACK SPINDLE TILTS ONLY 15° FROM SEAT. FRONT SPINDLES TILT FORWARD 80°AND OUTWARD 8 0 ° SPINDLE #2 FRONT VIEW 9O°

80° SPINDLES # 1 & #2 SIDE VIEW

9½"

top front edge generously. Smooth out bandsaw marks with a curved cabinet rasp and blend this surface gradually into the rounded top edge with a smooth suggestion of soft miter or warp. Sand the back surface to a finish grade, then attach upright to main back piece with glue and screws (Fig. 11) and power sand or scrape front surfaces flush with each other. Now glue and insert spindles into seat, then attach arms and back assembly, always wiping off excess glue at once with a dampened cloth. Don't disturb the chair for at least a day, then complete the finishing job. Select some stain which will give a sort of gray-cast brown effect, or wipe thin gray enamel over the bare wood, leaving a very light, scarcely-discernible tint. When dry, sand lightly and remove dust with slightly-moistened cloth. Apply maple stain
1 2 3

80°

80°

1¾" SEAT SEAT 4"

which is definitely not of the reddish variety but tending toward a light brown. When dry, apply one coat of gloss varnish thinned with about half turpentine. Lightly sand this coat and remove sanding dust as before. Final coat is satin finish or rubbed effect varnish unthinned. Again sand lightly, this time using wax or wood cream with about a 320 or even lighter grit paper. Rottenstone or pumice could also be used. Wipe excess off and polish with a soft cloth. Apply wax coats without sanding, a day apart, but be sure to polish each one hard and dry.

MAPLE 1 3/8" x 8" x 20"

B A C K U P R I G H T PIECE

3
STACK PIECES AND GLUE WITH DOWELS 2 1 ROUND OFF TOP ¾" SECTION AT 2¼" 3 2 4" 87° 1 BAND SAW TO SHAPE SIDE ARM FLUSH 87° GLUE & SCREW TO BACK TOP OF BACK PIECE 4" MAIN PIECE JOINED TO SIDE A R M COUNTERSINK SCREW HOLES BETWEEN SPINDLE SIDE ARM

FLAT PATTERN FOR BACK

3"

PLANE
BOTTOM

100

SCIENCE AND MECHANICS