Thursday, 19 April 2012

Spindle back chairs

This week I have been consumed working on a set of old spindle back dining chairs. You could say that they had seen better days, all four were "rocky", every joint either loose or apart. One had a broken back rail and another was missing two of it's spindles. A job like this seems straightforward and normally it wouldn't be too bad, just very time consuming. But when woodworm are involved, you never know how much their infestation will affect the work.

It didn''t take long for me to realise that the worms had been in residence for quite a long time!

From the outside there are not too many holes, you'd think that it wasn't too bad - until you see the inside of the wood - just a honeycomb is left! So this leads you on to check all areas around the wormy wood just in case more of the frame is affected and so you end up chasing the damage further and further, making the workload bigger and bigger!

This is the replacement rail in progress.

First the new rail was "blocked out" and then roughly hewn to shape.

Then the slightly oval ends were turned on the lathe.

The remains of the honeycomb of wood need to be taken out carefully before the chair can be put together again!

So eventually number one of four is back together and we start on number two with the missing spindles.

Two new copies made from old wood. For once I really enjoyed making these because we've got a new toy now, an electronic Vernier gauge and it is brilliant! It's so much more accurate than the old manual ones.

Then the chair had to come apart so that I could fit them, easier said than done! It's guaranteed that there will always be one joint that will not come apart no matter what! Anyway about two hours later I could get on with the fitting and colour matching.

Luckily the other two frames only needed to be reglued. So after an overnight rest....


........all that needs to be done is the easy bit, to put some rush on those seats!


The Chairman said...

I'd love to get my shop set up to finial be able to make the parts I need to fix the chairs the come into my shop. Beautiful work.

Weavin' Wicker Woman said...

We hardly ever get wormwood or powder post beetle as we call it on this side of the pond, however I've just recently gotten a whole set of rustic furniture in for seat replacement that is full of the bug!

So, we've (the customer) has been using a product called Boracare that is supposed to seep into the wood, killing the larva.

Then I will be replacing the seats, providing the overall framework is not too damaged. Otherwise, they will be going to my woodworker for repairs/replacement parts.

Interesting to see how you've handled this pest and I will be passing on your blog post to my woodworker just in case he has any doubts.

Thanks for the post!

The Wicker Woman--Cathryn Peters (Chair Caning Forum)