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Thread: Making round mortises and tenons, chair legs

  1. #16
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Vincennes, Indiana
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    611
    Derek, I have made 15 windsor chairs using two different reamers. I started out with an 11 degree reamer made by a guy named Fred Emhoff IIRC. He was a machinist in New England and made spoon bits also. It was okay and cut nicely. Then I read about the a narrower angled reamer, as I recall, championed by Curtis Buchanan. He was teaching chair making down in South America and showed them how to make the reamer. So I made a six degree reamer out of an old saw blade and turned the body on a lathe and put a T handle in it. The blade had teeth on one side and was ground and honed, ala scraper style on the opposite side. When Elia's six degree reamer became available, I bought it and have used it since. It is super!

    To answer your question, I think the six degree taper is easier to seat and offers a much stronger joint, however it will split the mortise open easier also, due to the mechanical advantage of the narrower angle. But by the same token, it is this advantage that adds to strength when driven home. I doubt, however, there is that much difference as an end result due to engineering of the chair.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is, the six degree M/T joint just feels better. Bottom line, either will do. As C. S. has famously said; "There are six ways to do most things. t Two of them are good. Two of them are bad. Two of them will get you by.
    Life's too short to use old sandpaper.

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia
    Posts
    56
    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Cohen View Post
    Picking up on this older thread, rather than starting it over ...

    My question is what the difference in seating the tenon is between a 6 degree reamer (ala Pete Galbert) and a 12 degree reamer (ala Lee Valley)?

    Allied to this, the shopmade reamer (ala PG) will scrape while the metal reamer (ala LV) will slice. No doubt the latter is faster. Are there other benefits for one over the other?
    Regards from Perth

    Derek
    Derek,
    I chose to go the route of the 6# reamer, reaming out a 3/4 inch drilled mortise with a tapered scraper made from an old key hole saw as described by Alexander and Galbert. and then turn the tenon on a lathe.
    My logic was that I thought that a 6# joint would be stronger, and easier to wedge in so that it wouldn't pull out, but I have no proof of that. More important was the the fact that I could make the tool myself which is half the fun.
    As far as sizing the tenon, I worked out that reducing the tenon from about 1 1/2 inches at 7 inches to 3/4 inch at the tip seemed close enough.
    I then made a trial fitting sizer by drilling a 3/4 inch hole in the direction of the grain in a piece of hardwood made up of two one inch scraps. I had glued them up with brown paper between the pieces. Then I reamed out the drilled hole. After splitting them apart I can test the taper while the leg is still on the lathe. If I am being particularly fussy I penciled the inside of the sizer and then take off the high points that show upbut think that is probably excessive as it is a very forgiving joint.
    No joint failures yet after 5 years for the oldest chair, knock on wood.


    SUSIESLAPTOP - WIN_20150331_090002.jpg
    SUSIESLAPTOP - WIN_20150331_085850.jpg
    SUSIESLAPTOP - WIN_20150328_074546.jpg
    SUSIESLAPTOP - WIN_20150331_090733.jpg

    Bill
    Last edited by bill howes; 12-07-2017 at 4:57 PM.

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Dickinson, Texas
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    4,606
    Quote Originally Posted by lowell holmes View Post
    I built a Windsor chair while attending a class at Homestead Heritage in Elm Mott Texas (near Waco).
    the, back , arms, and such were green split red oak.

    The seat was soft white wood, and was shaped with hand saws and shaves. The holes were tapered with a tapered reamer. We steamed and bent the red oak.
    The legs and leg stretchers were turned on a lathe. There is no reason to use power tools unless you just want to.

    The legs and stretchers could be made on the shave horse. They would not be be green red oak.

    Have you purchase Mike Dunbar's book. It is available again. I recommend that you order one just for the entertainment value .
    When I bought my copy, the book was out of print and my copy cost a lot money, but the new ones are reasonable. I'm sure Amazon has the book.
    You can "whittle" the rounds.

  4. #19
    Elia Bizzarri also sells reamers and tapered tenon cutters. http://handtoolwoodworking.com/tenon-cutters/

    Mike

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Perth, Australia
    Posts
    4,937
    I am in the throes of completing one of Claire Minihan/Pete Galbert travishers. I think it will be a opportune time to build a 6 degree reamer, using Tim Manney's for inspiration. I have just downloaded the plans for his shaving horse.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Dickinson, Texas
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    Try a practice piece by sawing a hexagonal tenon and rounding it with a knife, followed by sandpaper.

  7. #22
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    Aug 2013
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    The Japanese spoon bottom plane is the way to go, IMO.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  8. #23
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    Feb 2004
    Location
    Perth, Australia
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    Why would you recommend one, Brian? Are they not just a compass plane (with a curve front-to-back)? If so, how would they get into the junction of compound curves?

    I do have a Veritas curved palm plane, which is curved both front-to-back and side-to-side.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  9. #24
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    A spoon bottom is different from a compass plane. the spoon bottom is curved in both directions. They're easy to use, you can actually finish the wood with one as opposed to a travisher, and they do the work very quickly.

    I've used them in white oak, mahogany and basswood.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  10. #25
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    Feb 2004
    Location
    Perth, Australia
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    Thanks for that, Brian. I had Googled for spoon bottom plane, and the image that came up was a compass plane.

    I have not yet used (still to finish) my travisher. However, what I understand the travisher will do is both fine and thick shavings without altering a setting .., just how you angle it when planing. That is its attraction. If the one I am making works as expected, I intend to build a second with a softer (flatter) profile.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  11. #26
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    I know a few Japanese chair makers, they also prefer the spoon bottom plane but certainly many western makers use a travisher.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  12. #27
    If you know how to use a travisher, you're going to get a very smooth finish on a chair seat. Especially the ones Claire Minihan makes and sells. very sharp blade as delivered, maybe just a light honing is needed. The one made and sold by Elia Bizarri needed a good bit more work on the edge, in my experience, to cut well.
    Afterwards just a light scraping is all that is needed.
    and they're not that difficult to use - no different than any plane. know how to read the grain and react when it changes directions on you.

  13. #28
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    Feb 2004
    Location
    Perth, Australia
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    4,937
    Hi Jon

    The blade I made came out very sharp ... exceedingly sharp! I have cuts to prove it

    What I learned - very quickly - is that reading the grain is very important with this tool.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  14. #29
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    Indeed and that can be tough of course as you create a grain reversal when scooping out a seat.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  15. #30
    The Travisher is a great tool. It does take a bit of time to learn how to feather it. Once you’ve got it down, it’s very versatile.

    I have the one made by Elia. It was plenty sharp.

    mike

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