Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Chair Of Many Glue Ups

Working on my recently completed Funeral Chairs, the glue-up was both the most important phase of construction for keep the finished chair together and also the most delicate.

What petite joints the funeral chair has.

The importance of the glue up is clear. Not only must the joiner withstand the typical high stresses of a chair, they must also hold up to the rigors of repeated openings and closings.

The delicacy of the glue-up is not as obvious as the importance. Relative to their size, the leg to stretcher joints must be incredibly strong. Given the open assembly of the chairs, the joints are not only subject to normal weight stresses, they are also subject to major racking forces when the sitter's weight is shifted within the chair. In order to provide the strongest joints I could, I went for both a big glue surface and a strong glue.

The rear legs and stretchers are ready for glue up.

Using Dominoes for my joinery provided large, uniform and tight glue surfaces at each joint. Even the narrow stretcher to leg joints received deep Dominoes. The Gorilla Wood Glue I used to attach the Dominoes ensures that they say in and snug.

Between the Dominoes and Gorilla Wood Glue, the only tricky part was to ensure that I glued up the chairs in the correct order. After nearly gluing two (2) legs together without the seat between them, I did manage to follow the right steps for glue up. For those who are interested, those steps are:

  1. Glue the respective stretchers to one of the back legs and one of the front legs.
  2. Place the seat on the back legs with the stretchers and glue on the second leg, trapping the seat.
  3. Place the seat/back leg assembly on the front leg with stretchers and glue on the second leg, trapping the seat/leg assembly.
Through all the steps, remain focused on the glue up.

While it may seem like a lot of steps for a chair with relatively few joints, following this glue up strategy will ensure that the chair folds and holds you up.The funeral chairs, like most chairs, rely on some awfully small joints to hold together some awfully important joints.

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