Please click here for part one of my Welsh Stick Chair build
Let’s make some sticks
With the undercarriage done, I moved to the second level of the chair – the sticks and armbow/comb.
Shaping the sticks took a lot of time. I don’t have a straight tenon cutter so everything had to be done by hand. Experimenting with a dowel plate to make the tenons made it a bit easier but the bulk of the 26 tenons in this chair was made with my Slöjd knife. It worked fine but was a lot of work.
Test-fitting the tenons is best done in a separate piece of wood and not directly in the armbow, as I found out when my armbow snapped, right at the tenon. I glued the armbow together again and made a tenon-testing-block with a 15mm hole in it.
Drilling into the seat
Drilling the mortises for the sticks in the seat has to be done at the correct angle. How do you find the correct angle? By using a long spade bit that fits through the mortise in the armbow and extends all the way to the seat. You basically pretend that the drill bit is a stick. I started with the four long sticks in the back, after those were in drilling the six short sticks was easy.
For drilling the four long sticks I held the armbow in place with a jig that keeps the armbow 8” above the seat (jig is not in this picture).
With the chair now mostly done, the last thing to make was the comb.
I made the comb out of a piece of firewood (pine). First I marked the mortises using the long sticks and drilled them using a 15mm bit. Then I shaped the comb using a single bevel hatchet for the convex area and an adze for the concave part, followed by a draw knife and spokeshave.
Testing if all pieces fit together
With all the pieces done, it was time for a dry test-fit
With the chair complete, I glued up the undercarriage and let it dry overnight. When hide glue is too cold, it reduces the opening time a lot. I found this out the hard way.
When I glued in one stretcher, the glue dried before I could adjust it. Trying to turn it anyway made the tenon snap. So I made a new stretcher and went ahead with the glue up. A stretcher is easy to make but the next time I will make sure my glue is hot enough.
The next day, I leveled the chair, trimmed the wedges, and glued up the sticks / armbow / comb.
Painting the chair
I decided to paint my chair with milk paint. Though I am a big fan of natural wood finishes, I wanted to paint this chair black over green. With time, the black paint will wear off and expose the green paint, making a nice contrast.
After the green paint was dry, I painted the chair black.
The next day, I sealed the chair with linseed oil, followed by some awesome wax I got from Brian Eve, who says he will start selling it soon (and he should).
The chair is very comfortable to sit in and I like the shiny glossy black finish a lot.
I hope you enjoyed my build, please feel free to leave I comment, I would love to hear from you.