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Woodwright’s School Day 7

So begins my final day in Pittsboro at The Woodwright’s School. We still need to bore and ream the arm stump holes in the bow, fit and center the bow, drill all the spindle holes in the bow and the seat, size all the spindle tenons, wedge the through tenons on everything, and peg the rockers. There seems a lot left to do and due to a tight schedule with my house/dog sitter I have to leave at lunchtime to begin my 7 hour journey home. I knew going into this class that even if I completely finished my chair, I could only go so far as I have to be able to pack it into a compact car to get it home. My goal in any woodworking class is to learn enough to be able to reproduce the project at home on my own. So I didn’t get as much footage today but rather was working at breakneck pace to get the chair completely dry fit and to make sure I understood all the steps and why. Fortunately having built two sack back Windsors in the past a lot of the bow installation was familiar. I am always on the lookout for differences in technique and those little shortcuts that are hard won by hours of building experience. This day would not be a disappointment as Elia’s method of drilling the bow and fitting the spindles was different from what I had learned in the past. Moreover it was simpler and involved fewer specialized tools (always a plus). On the whole, this class was a huge success. Ignoring the cool factor of working in Roy’s shop and right next to him for a week, I learned a bunch and will be able to recreate this chair on my own without having to build a bunch of jigs and buy a bunch of specialized tools.

Gimlet BitsElia had recently refurbished and sharpened some gimlet bits and seemed positive that they would be much better for drilling at the shallow angles needed in the bow than the typical Jennings or Irwin pattern auger bit. Sure enough these extremely simple bits grabbed hold and wouldn’t let go all the while creating very clean entry and exit holes. Essentially the traditional gimlet would work too, but the 5/16″ holes we needed for our spindles isn’t often found in gimlets. Rest assured I’ll be keeping my eye out for some gimlet bits to add to my tool kit in the future. (Ed are you listening?)

So I have a bit more work to finish before I even think about milk painting this chair. I think for the purposes of marital harmony, I’ll be taking a few days away from the shop now that I’m back home, but I will post a final video from my own shop with the finishing touches and the finishing process. Stay tuned for that.

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