Thursday, March 19, 2009

Leg Marking Jig

Designing a project that a whole class of folks can make in 5 days, while making most of the parts themselves isn't as easy as it sounds. Besides the simplification of the drilling techniques that I've already incorporated into my own process, the class at Arrowmont used a new jig that also helped move things along.

Normally, the stretchers in a chair meet the legs wherever the predetermined spot on the leg ends up. Because of varying angles and depth of reaming, the axis of the stretcher is usually somewhere not quite parallel to the floor or seat, and usually, I like it that way. But in the name of simplicity, and because the legs that we used had no such predetermined mortise locations, I decided to use this jig to mark the mortise locations so that they'd all be the same and parallel to the seat bottom. The top notch is for the front stretcher, the next one down is for the rear and the bottom one is for the sides.

Besides relieving the students of having to measure each location (I still recall the issue from last year at Peter's Valley!) the jig ensures that the stretcher axis is always parallel to the seat bottom. This enabled us to use the seat bottom to mark (or measure) the leg angles for drilling. We used my new angled block method for marking a new axis on each leg. You can see this in action in the perch videos. The differents here is that we didn't have to level the mortises to the table top, we just used the bottom of the seat.

This may see like a small point, but in my estimation, it helped the class of 8 eliminate 128 measurements. Not bad.

I have been talking to Bill Griffith, the program Director at Arrowmont, about booking their 2 week session next summer to host an all out Windsor chair making class. I'd like to get some feedback. What would you like to make? Would a group of more intermediate or advanced chairmakers like to direct the content and book the class? Most of the time, it serves enrollment to keep the class open to all levels, but I'm open to discussion. Thanks


David said...

Would a Rocking chair be to complex for two weeks?

Peter Galbert said...

thanks for the comment, I think that a rocker is certainly possible. I will consider the timing of it for the two week class. Luckily, Arrowmont is very generous with the studio hours, the students have access from 7am to 1am!

Anonymous said...

Hey Pete - I liked the jig you used during your training session. Are their certain dimensions you should follow to determine the height for each location. Hope all is well.

Peter Galbert said...

I'd suggest sitting in a regular chair and putting books under your feet until the height of the footrest feels right for a stool, then measure down from the bottom of the seat. The other numbers are pretty much aesthetic and up to you, Good luck