I had the Daniel and Adam in the workshop over the weekend making a Perch each. They both turned out great chairs ( sorry, but I just don't enjoy calling them stools. You get the picture.... ) and I was especially pleased that they each chose to shape their seats differently.
Adam chose the shape that I first started to carve when Pete Galbert showed me how to make them. Whereas Daniel chose a shape that I have since gravitated to, where the back bevel of the seat tapers to a slender point at the side , leaving the actual seat of the Perch slightly flatter.
Both looked great. Daniel chose to spokeshave facets onto the legs after turning them, giving them a very natural and earthy effect. Nice.
Another pleasant aspect of the new workshop is the wood heater. Very comfortable in Winter if I do say so myself.
During my time away and whilst teaching this last class I've been thinking more about some of the designs I have drawn over the past year and have yet to experiment with. I enjoy making continuous arm chairs, crested rockers, perches and the like but I find myself leaning more and more towards exploring other designs and more importantly, designs of my own. I think I will always be influenced by the people who have taught me to make chairs, but that's natural. Just like I'm sure Curtis Buchanan was heavily influenced by Dave Sawyer who taught him to make Windsors and so on.
So the first point of call on Tuesday morning was to reinvent a four legged bar stool ( errr ) that I had roughed in well over 12 months ago, but was disappointed with.
I was happy with the Elm seat shape but the original legs were slightly steam bent, which just didn't sit right and had too large a footprint on the floor. Secondly the front stretcher which doubled as the footrest was a typical 5/8" round mortise and tenon and I had reservations that eventually the racking force on the rest would eventually force the foot rest to pivot and become loose.
I started with a new set of four straight legs from some of the 40mm stock of English Oak I had from the Treasury Gardens tree. Next was the racking issue. So a chopped a 12 x 25mm (1/2" x 1" ) rectangular mortise in the front legs then shaped a new aerofoil inspired rest to fit. This was followed with a standard box stretcher setup for the rest of the legs.
When dry assembled this stretcher setup was rock solid. I even stood on the leading edge of the foot rest to make sure. It didn't so much as even creak under the pressure. There's some fine tuning of the seat, but in it's roughed in state, I have to say I'm fairly happy with it.
This weekend we have George Smithwick from Beveridge Coopers at the workshop again for our Coopered Bucket Course. It promises to be a great day. So plenty of inspiration to come...