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  1. #1
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    Jan 2019
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    Post White oak leather sling chairs

    I have just finished building these two very ambitious chairs. Came up with a clean modern design but decided on using round legs after a while of consideration of effort/cost/result... so that meant I had to firstly learn how to turn wood, but also needed to learn how to use a table saw, a drill press, and was also my first attempt at leather working.

    This'd be my 5th woodworking project since starting a couple of years ago - and so there's definitely a lot of room for improvement on the technique (the wood turning was a lot more work than I had imagined, and I had some issues aligning the holes, and angles of the tapered spindles). But all up, I'm extremely happy with the end result. They are very solid and surprisingly comfortable to sit in too.

    I took a video of the build too (it's 19 mins long but shows the whole process end-to-end): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTReSNLMEr4

    Keen to hear any suggestions for things I should look to improve next time, especially on the wood turning side of things - as most of that I learned just from trial and error and had to deal with a rough and somewhat chipped finish on a few of the pieces and not really sure what I was doing wrong there. Was able to recover on that with a lot of sanding, use of a spokeshave, and bit of card scraper action... but still was pretty frustrating! Also anything you see me doing in the video that looks like I'm doing something wrong - please let me know!

    IMG_1511.jpg
    IMG_1502.jpg
    IMG_1482.jpg

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  3. #2
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    Mar 2008
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    Hobart, Tas
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    They are really beautiful. A lovely design, and very well executed. Well done.

    Lance

  4. #3
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    Nov 2011
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    Sutherland Shire, Sydney
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    Very nice job you have done there, not sure about how easy they would be to extract myself out of one!
    Keep up the good work, now that you have got the woodworking bug, anything is possible.

    Alan...

  5. #4
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    Feb 2015
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    Strathalbyn South Australia
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    Wow, fantastic work! Be very proud of yourself, I think you have done a wonderful job! Look forward to seeing more of your work.

  6. #5
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    Id be more than happy with those in my living room, great job
    Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.

  7. #6
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    Mar 2018
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    Sydney
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    oh yeah, great first post on the forum. Chairs have come out a treat. Great leatherwork detail !

  8. #7
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    Jun 2015
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    Wolvi
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    Nicely done, although I do have a concern about the durability/longevity of the design.

    Personally I think you're short one rung at the front. At the very least I'd counter sink a pretty long screw either end of the front rung and plug the holes.

  9. #8
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    Jan 2019
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feckit View Post
    Nicely done, although I do have a concern about the durability/longevity of the design.

    Personally I think you're short one rung at the front. At the very least I'd counter sink a pretty long screw either end of the front rung and plug the holes.
    The original design I came up with had a brass cheesehead screw going into the end of each of the rails that went through the leg, into an inset thread into the end of each of the 3 cross-rails. This would have made it not just stronger but also able to be knocked down (and thus could have allowed for easier cleaning or replacing of the leather). That was all turning out to be too tricky and the screws I sourced weren't going to really look good enough so I ditched that idea in favour of a lot of glue and a tight fit. I'm actually surprised at how solid they feel especially given the relative thin diameter of the rails... but will definitely be keeping a close eye on how they fare over the coming months/years.

  10. #9
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    Mar 2004
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    Nice clean design, Kasmeister, and an excellent result, especially for a first attempt at chairs. Chairs are tricky things & I've known quite a few woodies who would happily make a table, but shied away from chairs.

    Like Feckit, I would be a bit concerned about robustness - a lot of 'Scandinavian modern' furniture of the 60s was very similar to your design and time hasn't been kind to much of it. The 'problem' with your chair as I see it is that there is no sheer bracing to the sides (& no way to provide any without spoiling the clean lines). The strains placed on those 4 side joints as people flop into & heave themselves out of the chair may start to tell in time. However, if treated kindly, they may well outlast us all!

    If that was your first turning attempt, you did far better than I managed on my first try. Teaching myself to use a skew involved many 'catches' and many expletives! It's hard to tell from the video, but it didn't look to me as if you were getting a proper shearing cut off your skew, what was coming off the tool was more like chips than shavings. My suggestion is that the bevel on your skew is rather 'blunt', and you might find it works better with both a bit more angle to the edge & more acute bevel angles. That should make 'planing' cuts easier & cleaner, but a really acute edge is harder to control, and more likely to catch when turning a bead. Try sharpening it up more acutely & chew up a few pieces of scrap wood 'til you get the feel of it, & when it all comes together, you'll fall in love with skews & see why they are the go-to tool for spindle turning..

    The (Quercus) oaks are also not the easiest wood to start your turning career with, the distinct change in hardness between early & late wood makes them prone to chatter, and you end up with spiral grooves instead of a clean surface.

    But you got there, and all credit to you for persisting - you're well on your way....

    Cheers,
    IW

  11. #10
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    Simple design but they are beautiful to look at. Good job.
    Visit my website at www.myWoodwork.com.au

  12. #11
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    Jan 2019
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    Quote Originally Posted by IanW View Post
    f that was your first turning attempt, you did far better than I managed on my first try. Teaching myself to use a skew involved many 'catches' and many expletives! It's hard to tell from the video, but it didn't look to me as if you were getting a proper shearing cut off your skew, what was coming off the tool was more like chips than shavings. My suggestion is that the bevel on your skew is rather 'blunt', and you might find it works better with both a bit more angle to the edge & more acute bevel angles. That should make 'planing' cuts easier & cleaner, but a really acute edge is harder to control, and more likely to catch when turning a bead. Try sharpening it up more acutely & chew up a few pieces of scrap wood 'til you get the feel of it, & when it all comes together, you'll fall in love with skews & see why they are the go-to tool for spindle turning..

    The (Quercus) oaks are also not the easiest wood to start your turning career with, the distinct change in hardness between early & late wood makes them prone to chatter, and you end up with spiral grooves instead of a clean surface.
    Appreciate the comments and feedback - definitely a lot of truths in there! I was being very cautious with the skew and yeah I was expecting a bit more from that and the parting tool - guess the angle I was grinding to needs some work next time. Planning on making a few stools soon-ish so will get a chance to hone my honing skills for those. The tools I got were also a pretty cheap beginner set so not sure if getting some higher quality ones would make much difference... my guess is probably this is more about technique and sharpening though.

    Chatter was actually quite a big issue that I wasn't anticipating. I ended up buying a steady rest (with three rubber wheels), and that made a HUGE difference for the 25mm diameter pieces (some of those were 80+ cm wide so were flexing quite a bit in the centres).

    Definitely got better at it each piece I went through (I had 8 chair legs and 10 thinner spindles)... By the time I was looking back at the first few pieces I kind of wish I had done some more practice with some cheaper timber before I got onto the oak.

  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kasmeister View Post
    ......Chatter was actually quite a big issue that I wasn't anticipating. I ended up buying a steady rest (with three rubber wheels), and that made a HUGE difference for the 25mm diameter pieces (some of those were 80+ cm wide so were flexing quite a bit in the centres)....
    Yep, chatter is always a potential problem with thin spindles, and it's exacerbated by dull tools because you apply more pressure to get them to cut. I made myself a steady rest in my early turning days, but as I'm sure you quickly discovered, it's a bit of a pain having to move the darn things all the time, so I pensioned it off before long.

    I turned a lot of chair spindles at one time, and learnt a couple of tricks you can use to help things, apart from making sure your tools are really, really sharp. One is to bring the centre of a thin spindle to rough diameter first, & keep plenty of wood at the drive & dead centre ends, which will minimise whip while you get things sorted in the middle.

    The other 'trick' is to wrap your left hand (or right if you're a southpaw) around the back of the spindle, and use the thumb of that hand to lightly press the skew against the work. It helps if you have thick skin on your hands, but the idea is not to press very hard on the wood, just enough to keep the tool evenly engaged and dampen any whipping. You may need to slow down the lathe a bit, to prevent your hand getting too warm, but if you use a light touch, it's less of a problem than you might think (if you do a lot of turning, you'll soon develop an extra 2 or 3mm of keratin on your hand & it'll be bullet-proof! ). Some recommend wearing a leather glove, but I'm a bit wary of gloves around lathes, they are liable to get caught in things you'd rather they didn't.

    Anyway, you've learned the most important lesson already - it's practice wot makes perfect - you'll be a pro by the time you get to the tenth chair....

    Cheers,
    IW

  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kasmeister View Post

    Chatter was actually quite a big issue that I wasn't anticipating. I ended up buying a steady rest (with three rubber wheels),
    Kasmeister, have you got a link for the rest? Or can you tell me where it come from ? Ive been looking at a few the last day or two . Wondering if I should get or make a wooden one for my lathe . I haven't seen one with rubber wheels . Just three metal ball bearings I think .

  15. #14
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    Jan 2019
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    Quote Originally Posted by auscab View Post
    Kasmeister, have you got a link for the rest? Or can you tell me where it come from ? Ive been looking at a few the last day or two . Wondering if I should get or make a wooden one for my lathe . I haven't seen one with rubber wheels . Just three metal ball bearings I think .
    Sure - this is the one I ended up getting: https://mcjing.com.au/categorybrowse...categoryid=512 (the one with the red rubber wheels). Does its job well and didn't mark the wood at all. I did consider making ont (there are a few tutorials on YouTube for this), but spending $60 seemed pretty fair to pay for for something nice and solid.

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