Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Little Difference, Big Difference

While doing a dry run on the assembly of my latest prototype the other day, I noticed that the spindles looked heavy where they enter the crest. On most of my chairs, the smallest diameter of the spindles is 3/8ths of an inch. But in this case, it seemed too much. So I shaved the spindles down to fit through an 11/32nd inch hole. Below is a photo of a 3/8 inch drill bit on the left and a 11/32 inch drill bit on the right.
Although the difference in bits seems nearly undetectable, I found it made a wonderful difference in the look and feel of the chair.

Here is a comparison of some 3/8 inch spindles and some 11/32nd inchers. The difference may be exagerrated a bit because the 3/8 inch spindles will receive one more cleanup shaving before going in the chair, but I was still surprised by the impact that 1/32nd can make visually and in the amount of flex.

When designing with split and shaved wood, I am constantly challenged to retain the flexibility inherent in the wood. Sometimes getting the size of the pieces right can take some trial and error. I've gotten used to making multiple parts.

So going forward, I plan to apply this size to some other chairs and see the difference. I'd appreciate feedback from anyone who might give it a try.


Herman Veenendaal said...

Peter, I've made about 40 windsors and most of them were made with an 11/32 inch spindle. It does make the chair look more delicate but does not affect spindle strength. On my most recent chairs I went up to 3/8 but I'll be going back to 11/32 for future chairs. 3/8 works OK for the big D seat Philadelphia chair, but in anything elst I find it too big.



Peter Galbert said...

Why didn't you tell me sooner! I looked at your work, very nice.I think I'll be sticking with 11/32nds as well,Thanks for writing,