Before you begin to make a seat, there’s a few things to think about.

First off- who are you making it for?

If this chair is for you then sit your derriere down somewhere and trace the outline of your backside!

Seriously – do it.

I did it.

This is custom furniture after all.

Trust me, if you plan on sitting in this thing for any amount of time than make it fit.

It’s funny, but after I traced my own bottom-profile,

I realized that one leg/cheek is a little wider than the other!

That’s the truth.

Think about it before you design the shape of your chair.

I usually carry a wallet in my back, right pants pocket so you know what?

I made the right side of the seat a little deeper than the left.

My chiropractor will scream at me when she reads this but hey-

this chair is for me and I wanted it to fit like a glove.

These are the things you have to think about when you design custom furniture.

Now with all of that out on the table,I dimensioned the stock for the seat.

You should have four pieces that will make up the total width and length.

Lay out the bevels along the edges of the seat stock and scribe lines along the length of the pieces.

These will be reference marks to work to as you plane.

Once beveled, the seat will be easier to shape rather than starting from a flat slab.

 

Scribing the bevel of the end of the seat stock. Transfer the width of this bevel along the length of the stock and plane down to the scribe lines.

Scribing the bevel of the end of the seat stock. Transfer the width of this bevel along the length of the stock and plane down to the scribe lines.

 

 

The two middle pieces after beveling. Is this technically a miter?

The two middle pieces after beveling. Is this technically a miter?

 

The outside of these two middle pieces ( photo above ) are beveled again along their outside edges.

The four parts make up the rough shape of the seat blank. ( photo below )

 

Four pieces beveled. Kind of a zig-zag pattern. The parts will be glued after the rough shaping is complete. Being able to move the pieces will make hollowing and shaping the parts a little easier.

Four pieces beveled. Kind of a zig-zag pattern. The parts will be glued after the rough shaping is complete. Being able to move the pieces will make hollowing and shaping the parts a little easier.

 

Shaping the Seat

After the parts are beveled, I started shaping the seat.

I only used 4 tools to do this.

Beginning with a spokeshave, I removed some of the waste through the middle section of the seat.

Then, with two different sized gouges, I hollowed out the chair.

After the rough work was complete, a curved card scraper was used to refine the lines and blend the curves.

I didn’t glue the pieces together until I had the rough shaping complete-

I found it easier to work on the individual parts through this stage of shaping.

I should also note that besides the initial tracing of my bottom on the rough seat shape,

the entire form was carved free hand without any measuring devices or depth marks and/or gauges.

I would simply sit on the rough seat as I worked, and noted any high spots or uncomfortable areas.

I kept roughing out the shape until it felt comfortable.

Trust your judgement for this one!

 

Start with a spokeshave and begin removing the center waste material.

Start with a spokeshave and begin removing the center waste material.

 

The gouge work begins.

The gouge work begins.

 

A little further along.

A little further along.

 

With the gouge work complete, I glued the middle joint together.

With the gouge work complete, I glued the middle joint together.

 

Inside piece further along after some scraping. A curved scraper is a must have for this job!

Inside piece further along after some scraping. A curved scraper is a must have for this job!

 

If your fingers are sensitive to heat, then you may want to wear gloves while using a card scraper.

I don’t own any dedicated chair making tools but if I ever make another one of these,

I may invest in a scorp and/or a travisher.

Two dedicated tools for hollowing out chair seats.

The gouges and scrapers aren’t the fastest way to do this, but I found it to be extremely enjoyable work.

 

Scraping complete on the inside.

Scraping complete on the inside.

 

The following is a video showing the seat shaping process thus far.

In the next video, I’ll start shaping the outside of the seat.

Until then,

enjoy~

 

 

THE MUSIC AND THE TOOLS

The music in this video are songs by my good friend Scott Brown.

You may recognize his name from the SUNFISH band,

as well as co-writing some of the songs on my solo albums.

These two songs are off of his CD ‘3 Seasons’ Fire‘.

For more info- check out his website: Brown Guitars

 

Some of the tools I used in this video are:

Spokeshave

Curved Card Scraper

Firmer Gouges