Thursday, June 23, 2011

Craftsman Spindle Sofa

This is kind of catching things in process, but this has been such a big project that I wanted to share a little bit of it with you.

I have always liked craftsman style furniture,   Its solid sturdy lines appeal to me as well as the beauty of the wood,  The straight geometrical structure really connects to the nature of how I look at things.

That is a nice way of saying that I am a pretty linear thinker.

My friend Peter, who is a far better woodworker than I am suggested that we try a craftsman furniture project together.  In a moment of weakness I agreed.

This is what we are putting together  (actually two of them, one for him and one for me)

As I said, you are kind of getting in on the 30th floor of this little endeavour.  At this point we are getting close to wrapping up year five.  yes I did say years.

Unfortunately life has an unfortunate way of getting in the way of dopey hobbies.  I got separated in 2007 and had a few teensy adjustments to make (and readjustments),  No sooner had my life finally calmed down than Peter's company folded and he had to move to the Baltimore/DC suburbs in 2009.  The wood shop was then moved from Peter's to my house.

The flood in the basement didn't help either.

Despite all this,  we are making a big push to finally finish this guy off.  My personal goal is to get everything done by the time I have my new in-laws over for Thanksgiving

This Year.

A dry fit side
 For anyone who has done a few basic woodworking projects around the house, it may not be a bad jumping off point, the best thing is that this pieces has no curves or rounded edges (well it does have a few, but these are fairly minor) but I would approach this project with a little caution. 

If you are a neophyte, you may need to make some pretty substantial investments.  If you don't have a table saw,  you really need one for this project.  Some of the cuts are do require enormous precision,  particularly the legs which consist of four mitered outside pieces wrapping an inner core.  Sparky the circular saw just won't cut it.

A power mortiser would also be an excellent addition (which is what we got), although a plunge router might work as well.  Ours was the Jet model, which we were happy with, but didn't work for some of the cuts.  If I were to do it again, I might have bought a slightly larger model

fitting together the back
Lastly I would highly recommend the purchase of a planer.  Now while this seems like a pretty big purchase, you can get these new for a pretty reasonable amount,  we bought the Rigid brand from Home Depot for about $300.  The really nice thing about this was that it enabled us to buy our wood direct fro the lumber hard and plane it to whatever thickness we needed,

We are using cherry btw.

Purchase these items used if you can.  If you look on craigslist or another online source you should be able to pick up tools used at a steep discount off new.  One final bit of advice.  Buy the good stuff.  Good tools work better in the long wrong, break down less and cause far less cursing.

Working over such a long period of time does have a lot of ups and downs one of them is that if you wait long enough,  you do forget that gigantic mistake that had you cursing up and down only eighteen short months ago. The other thing is that with some many fine cuts very little things like change in temperature and humidity can impact how your pieces fit together.

 adjustments to the back (we made the rails a smidge too long)
Last Sunday,  we worked to dry fit all of the pieces together.  Its basically one big three dimensional jigsaw puzzle, unfortunately the very rainy Spring we have been having in the Northeast wreaked havoc with my ability to fit all the pieces together.  Undaunted we fit together what we could and put the other pieces in the attic (where it is dryer and a LOT hotter).  Hopefully in a few weeks, things will fit together,  then its time to sand glue and figure out how to finish finish this.

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