3-Legged Dining Chairs

Inspired by George Nakashima’s “Mira Chair” (mid-height version), this challenging project promises to require new skills with hand tools and working with compound angles. Six of the chairs will be made for the set. The prototype pictured to the left is made of poplar and will be painted with Milk Paint and used in our guest room after the conclusion of this project. This project should recommence in March 2002.*

Nakashima Mira Chair (Low Version)


* well...would you believe January 2003??

 

Project Construction Pictures (to date)
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The chair seats require a glue-up to create the approximately 20" x 20" square blank necessary to form these parts. I was able to source the 8/4 Mahogany in nice 11" wide boards, so there is only one glue joint exactly in the middle, front to back, of each seat. This works both functionally and atheistically for this project.

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The seat blanks are rough-cut on the band saw to their approximate final shape. I originally intended to make use of template routing to clean up the edges and make them all essentially identical, but decided that was unnecessary--slight variances would not matter for this project given the amount of hand shaping still to be done to form the completed seat bottoms.

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That being said, the new Grizzly G-1276 combination sander that arrived in the shop in January 2003 was just the tool to bring all the blanks “up to the line”. This machine is also used to bevel the back and sides of the seat after carving out the seats.

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The master template on card stock is used both to provide the shape before cutting out the blanks and to mark for the spindle and leg holes. Here, an awl is employed to mark the exact location of each hole to be drilled in the next step.

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An auxiliary platform is used to hold the blank at an exact angle while drilling for the spindles and legs. The spindles and front leg are canted 10º. The two rear legs are angled back and out 15º for additional stability--the prototype proved to be too “tippy” when one leans back in the seat.

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Here you can see the seat blanks drilled and ready for shaping to make for a comfortable fit with human anatomy.

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Forming the seat contours is a lot of work. Some initial cuts are made with a router and a round-nosed bit to rough out the flat section just in front of the spindle locations, but the remaining wood is removed with a variety of traditional hand tools, including drawknives, an inshave (scorp) and several hand planes. Final sanding to contour with a belt sander and ROS completes the shaping of the seat. The blank is then flipped over and the front bottom is further contoured. (Not yet completed in this photo) The final bit of work is to round over the spindle area slightly and sand the outside bevel with the combo sander along the back and sides--this provides about a 10º inward slope, top to bottom, that improves the look of the seat. But wait...there’s more...sanding, that is. Lot’s of finish sanding is necessary to complete each seat prior to assembly and finishing. More on that later...

This pictorial will be added to as the project progresses.

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