Man's Chair from the Ivory Coast
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The Woodwright's Apprentice: 20 Twenty Favorite Projects from the Wodwright's Shop By Roy Underhill


splitting the stock  Man_Chair_004.jpg

Begin by splitting the stock for the bent back bow so that it can be drying while you make the other parts.

It's easy to shave the fresh, green wood with a knife by pulling it back across your knee as you hold the knife steady in the other hand.

Green hickory up to about the diameter of your thumb is limber enough to bend around your knee. Over-bend it to a slightly tighter curve than you want, because it will spring back to some extent. Hold it in place with a rope and let it set up for three days to a week.

Any chopping tool will do to shape the seat
blocks, but an adze similar to this one is a
familiar tool of West African woodworkers.

  Man_Chair_007.jpg  Man_Chair_008.jpg
A little bench like this makes an excellent work surface for morticing the parts for chairs. The tenons have already been cut on the ends of the seat board.

This folding springpole lathe for turning the legs is based on an eighteenth-century French design. The rocker arm at the top converts the short movement of the stiff wooden spring on the back into the long, easy motion of the treadle on the front. The connecting rope wraps around the work and spins it back and forth, enabling you to cut on the downstroke.

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This illustration from Knight's American Mechanical Dictionary of 1876 shows a North African turner making wooden trays on a more traditionally designed springpole lathe. Set the blocks onto the ends of the seat board and bore through them for the legs. Finally, set the bow on top of the back posts and mark where it needs to be bored.






"The Woodwright's Apprentice: 20 Twenty Favorite Projects from the Wodwright's "
© 2012 The University of North Carolina Press

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