Demonstration Aftermath

This last Sunday I had a blast working with Tom Latane building staked stools based on the style found in many Viking Age digs. With four hours to work we made great progress but didn't make it to completion. We had a smallish, but very enthusiastic crowd. many stayed the entire time, asking good questions and graciously chuckling at our attempts at humor. Thank you to all who attended.

These demonstrations are a ton of work, from packing to hauling, to prepping and planing, but they are a good time and I always come home more energized to get back into the shop.

My area set up before Tom was able to arrive,
unfortunately the only photo I was able to take that day.

The fun part for me was that Tom and I didn't coordinate our techniques or tools at all. We traded back and forth some pictures of the finds and of other attempts at recreating them, but we both took our own genuine approach of turning firewood into a place to sit. I enjoyed watching Tom's choices evolve and the differences.

I was able to come home with a seat blank and three roughed out legs. The museum director is looking forward to finished photos of the work so I cast about finishing the work today. I chose the best section of oak log I had for the seat, but the nearly finished piece was too small for the average adult butt. I had already resigned myself to make a child sized chair

The legs I'd worked came in at just under 2" in places, way to chunky to look good on a child's stool. I set about reducing them down to just fat of 1 1/4".

I set up to straighten and hog off material with a jack plane. I shaved until I had four flats, not caring about making square corners, then I gave them a lazy octagonal shape.

 A pair of bench saddles is your best friend for this kind of work. A corner cut out of a waste block and butting the piece against your plane stop. Simple and effective, my favorite combination.

Then I took them to the Peter Galbert style shave horse I recently finished, I'll write about that adventure soon. I built it for the demonstration, but I've never owned one before, nor have I used one much. As is my normal I accept a new challenge just in time to demonstrate it in front of a crowd. I feel like I have a decent learning curve ahead of me to effectively use the drawshave, but the horse is a beautiful thing to work using a spokeshave. I used a couple of them to turn my ugly octagonal legs back into rounds.

If you look close you can see my sight line layout for the three legs. I lifted these measurements from the three legged chair in Chris Schwarz's "The Anarchist Design Book" because I really like the look he achieved and why go about reinventing for the sake of it. I modified the distances to the seat's edge, but kept the sight lines and resultant angles.

Once the sight lines are done it's set and tape down an angle gauge and start making holes.

 Then the taper reamer makes the holes bottom fat. It's just as important to follow the guide of the angle gauge with the reamer.

With the legs inserted and wedged in place the stool looked like a reject from a Jim Henson workshop. It's good the plan was to remove a significant amount of length to rein the chair back into a small child's range. I chose to make the platform around 12" off the floor.

With the legs shortened things looked closer to right again and I can't say I'm unhappy with the outcome. My nieces and nephew will love it and hopefully use it for years. I'm going to let it dry for a few more days, then sand off the fuzzies, coat it in some iron buff and follow that with some garnet shellac and dark wax.

I'll be sure to put up some finished pics in a week or so.

Ratione et Passionis.


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