Monday, January 14, 2013

Rietveld Build Update

With all of the holiday and business travel out of the way I was able to get the Rietveld chairs back on track this past weekend. 

No this one isn’t mine! :)  It is a clever commentary on design and the type of process that folks will sometimes take to shake things up a bit.  (Thanks to new york new york over at the 207 – Play by Play forum on Tommy MacDonald’s site for the link!)

I am, fortunately, relying on Mr. Rietveld’s original design and sketches, but that is no guarantee that mine won’t look like the “Left Handed” version!

I spent some time a couple weeks ago working on the stock preparation and yesterday I was able to finish a good portion of the final sizing work.  First up was to move all of my identifying markings to a non-jointed edge and face joint each of the boards.

Then it was on to the planer.  I took the rough blanks down to about 48 mm thickness.

After another quick trip to the jointer to square up one of the edges it was time to visit the band saw.  I decided to try and salvage as much of this Steamed European Beech ($) as possible, so I’ve resawn the boards to harvest some thin stock for use in future projects.

I utilized the same dust collection set-up that I did with the planer.  I’ve got a Craftsman tool switch that I use with my shop vac that makes things pretty easy.  I don’t know why most vacs just don’t have this kind of feature standard, or at least offer a model that does.  Both Ridgid and Craftsman had offered them many years ago.

I was shooting for a 30 mm thickness on the stock for the chair, so I scribed some cut lines at 32 mm on each piece.  I free-handed these boards on the band saw, staying just proud of my scribe line.

I achieved some pretty nice results using a half inch blade.

When all the boards were done, I ended up with a nice collection of thin stock.

I was able to plane all of these pieces down to 1/4 inch thick, and now have them stacked and stickered under weight.  This will be some nice stock for boxes, drawers or trays in the future.

The boards for the chair parts were then planed down to the desired 30 mm thickness and stacked…where they sat for a couple weeks.  I was pleased to see little or no movement in any of the boards when I went to work with them yesterday.

After a few light passes on the jointer to ensure good, square edges to reference on the table saw fence, I ripped all of the chair stock down to 30 mm, creating the “sticks” used to build the frames of the chairs.  I also ripped the armrests down to a 90 mm width, and then restacked all of the parts.

Next up…cut all of the chair parts to length and lay out the dowel positions on each piece.  The original design calls for 15 mm dowels to secure the joints.  I’ll be using 5/8 inch Poplar dowels…about 1/32 inch larger in diameter than Rietveld’s original specifications.  I’m guessing that Gerrit didn’t get his 15 mm Beech dowels at Home Depot...maybe Lowe's?


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