Cherry Shaker Chairs

LEARNING BY DOING REVISITED
This time the challenge is six Shaker style chairs.

SHOP OWNER: Jan Derr
LOCATION: Asheville, NC

    We made these chairs for a fine client who began the commission by ordering a cherry Dutch extend dining table. They came back the following week and asked if we could make six Shaker chairs to go with it. Of course, we can! So, we went in search of the traditional shaker design and found the Thomas Moser book, illustrated by Chris Becksvoort, on dimensioned shaker furniture.
    We built the first one to spec, it seemed a bit small in the seat, and when we decided to enlarge the seat, we discovered the Oneway lathe's incremented spindle lock. Increments from 0 48, which works out to be 7.5 degrees. Increasing the splay angle of the seat frame was already in our process so the angle increase from 5 degrees to 7.5 was fine. Then came the brainstorm. Earlier, when I made the Windsors, I used a plunge router with a half-inch spiral bit to bore the holes, so why not build a jig that attaches to the lathe's ways that would serve as a template guide to bore these holes. That way we can bore on the lathe with a calibrated angle stop on a cylinder. We did a seat with the length and angle increases, and liked it. Then came another flash of thought. Why not create the bending form for the ladder back so it enters the back at a 7.5-degree angle? It worked.
    The cherry was local cut urban air dried 6/4 that turned like a dream, no spindle steady. We used the same for the ladder back and templated those parts on the router table, then steam bent them. We used kiln-dried cherry from Gennett Lumber in Asheville for the spindles. We sent the chairs to a caner who got tied up, so my wife went to help and manifested the caning on four of them.

. . . Jan Derr

[EDITOR'S NOTE: To view a larger 752 x 500 image of the above shot, which was taken by Andy Rae, click here.]

 
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