Oh, put me in, coach - I’m ready to play today

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My apologies to John Fogarty (topic title lyrics from Centerfield).

Well the lumber is bought and just hit my shop by lunch time today - just barely shy of 110 bf total of cypress.

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Marc when my wife asks why so much I'm blaming you - you said if its possible overbuy - I got you on video saying it - LOL!!!! Really I am hoping its enough to pull off two chairs and accompanying footrests and a cocktail table for in between the chairs on the deck with a bit left over.

When I was in the lumber yard with the fork lift driver puling stock all we could find is about 6" wide 4/4 stock and i was trying for about 7 to 7.5" wide on most the boards (except for the 10.75" wide pieces to cover the center back panel of the chair). The jump- up from 6" that we found in the stacks was to about 9.5 to 10" wide boards (which came with a wide board up-charge unfortunately). When I took the pull ticket back in the inside sales guy swore there was 8" wide boards out there but after being in the heat and rummaging through the stacks I decided to just pay the up-charge then go on a hunt for the narrower 8" boards.

So this afternoon is all about cutting down rough stock and milling it. Hoping to have four front legs done by end of day tomorrow - will depend on how my energy and motivation holds up - LOL (and the wife wants to go see Transformers this week and we have family BBQ to attend so we'll see how much family duties/activities pulls me out of the shop as well).

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Well its the second day of my build of 2 Adirondack chairs. I didn't quite make my goal of getting the two front legs finished - turns out there is a a damn lot of wood to mill. But at the end of the day there are two stacks of milled cypress sitting on my radial arm saw bench. Here is what two stacks of milled cypress for two chairs looks like -


Here's the mess left behind after jointing and planing that much cypress.


Someone please call my wife and explain to her why a $1500 cyclone dust collector is such an important investment - please I can use whatever lobbying help you can provide ;) (just kidding the dust collector is planned for a bit latter this year).

Hey Marc, since Jet/Powermatic is in such a marketing blitz over their single stage collectors with the vortex cones maybe you can convince them how well it will help their efforts if The Woodwhisperer just happened to have a drawing and/or contest to give one of those away to a lucky Guildie (free schwag is always better then having to buy one - LOL).

Well I am off to shower and take it easy for the rest of my evening.

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Well today was limited in the amount of shop time I got. Between family stuff (like going to see the new transformers movie with my wife and the girls) and working on Sketchup designs for a small cocktail table and footstools to go with the Adirondack chairs I didn't get as much time in the shop as I had hoped.

I did manage to get a little bit done this evening and get the front legs cut to length and the mortises routed into them.


Marc, my mimicking you from what you did in the video by putting painters tape on the rear and apron faces saved me from making a mistake during marking of the mortises and when referencing the router fence to the correct face. I wanted to make sure I kept the router fence on either the rear or apron fence to stay consistent on all four legs to remain consistent. I almost extended the start and stop lines from one face to the wrong face during markup, but I noticed the tape wasn't on the face I started to mark and I cam close to clamping the legs down with the wrong reference face out towards the edge of my bench. I came close to not putting the tape on believing I would have no problem keeping things straight, but even with the tape I almost got the faces of my legs confused.

Oh a frustrating thing I discovered about my Milwaukee router. It does not have a center line reference mark on the plunge base so I could not line up with my center mark. I had o use the other method Marc showed us in either the last video or the one before of lining the cutting edge burr of the up cut spiral bit up with the the outside line mark on the leg. Why Milwaukee could not have put a center line reference mark on a couple of sides of the base plate, especially the two sides of it that are parallel to the edge guide fence when it is mounted on the router, is beyond me. I get not putting marks on the base plate itself since it may not have been screwed on centered, but it could have been cast in the base edges itself since the motor is always centered in the base. For the most part I have really liked the Milwaukee combo set, but this is definitely a strike against this model of their router.

BTW in the pic you will see an easy convenient way to clamp the piece down if you do not have the convenience of a good vise on a woodworker's bench. I could have pulled out my Black & Decker workmate as well but the clamps on the edge of my radial arm saw bench just seemed quicker and easier to set up.

Off to shower and rest and relax before bed time. Happy Fourth of July everyone!!!

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Well I managed to get the G&G leg indent jig built last night and went to grab my set of porter cable router guide bushings only to discover the sets largest O.D. diameter bushing was 51/64. It was just as the local Woodcraft store was closing I made this discovery. SO tonight after work I picked up a 1" guide bushing and got to work cutting the indent detail on the bottom of four legs before I had to stop to go eat dinner. I just need to do the slight curve on the bottom of the leg edges with a hand plane and sanding and cut the short square tenon at the top of the leg. After that its find my sanding zen frame of mind and work on sanding out all the machining marks on the leg and putting slight round overs in the indent detail. Hopefully I'll have that done before the weekend so I can focus on 2 sets of side legs over the weekend.


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Well I got some good shop time this past Saturday and this evening. I finished out the front legs by putting the short 1/4" tenon on the top of the leg and sanded out all the indent details Friday evening and Saturday morning. I got the side legs started on Saturday and got all the operations covered in side legs part 1 video. I still need to cut the mortise for the lower back brace into the inside of the side legs and cut all the curved profiles. I'm getting there slowly but surely - hoping I will get some good shop time in this coming weekend to really get some of this knocked out on the chairs.


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I finished the side legs (minus the sanding and edge round overs that I will do just before assembly). Last night the mortises got cut on all the legs, the curves on the first leg got cut and lots of sanding out the band saw marks happened last night. Tonight was a short night in the shop of just cutting out most the waste on the other three legs on the band saw then using the flush trim bit on the router to get the other three to match the first leg. I went with Aaron's partial cloud lift bottom edge profile - mainly because that will allow that feature to be in the stools I will build and the stool has very few opportunities to use G&G details.

At this point I am getting close to being caught up with Marc's videos. I've really been enjoying the combination of working with tools needing electrons and with the hand tools - over the past year I have slowly built up enough of a hand tool collection to feel its about time I began to get good at hand tools. Therefore I am thinking I will do the front apron with the router and chisels method and see if I can manage to make nice ramps in the slots with the chisel. I'm still debating on whether to try to do the ramps more freehand or use Tom Crawford's idea and build a ramp guide from a piece of scrap. It'll probably just come down to what mood strikes me at the time.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Lately I've been struggling to get any shop time. I have had bits and pieces here and there and I am about finished with the lower back brace. This weekend is looking promising for more shop time so hopefully I can get the arms and upper back brace knocked out. I'll update soon with some build progress photos. Gotta get this done and have a shot at the Festool sander.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ok Jim, Your making the rest of us look bad ( or at least slow)! You and I had the conversation of wood types for this project. It was during one of the live guild meetings. I too went with cypress. Have you decided what you are going to use for finish? I live about 2 hours away. We have the same hot/dry climate. I want to use teak oil, but I wanted to give a little color/depth to the project. I am still pondering.


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Hey Lone Wolf,

Thanks for the compliment of being faster then I feel. Why am I feeling slow on this build when others have posted done and finished posts already? Oh well have to remind myself its not a race and that I am doing this for my own enjoyment and fun. I did get in the mode for a bit of trying to catch up to Marc's video releases but real life and my ability to lose track of time when taking a break playing video games hasn't helped.

I am also considering teak oil as well. I may tint it though to darken the cypress somewhat - I am keeping some milled cutoffs around both to use as test finish pieces but also setup verification on the lap joint and tenon cuts at the table saw. So I will do some finish mix options. I'll either get a quart can of a good oil based outdoor stain and maybe mix with teak oil or just go to my local Woodcraft and buy some tints (I've never used powder or liquid tints before so this might be an interesting place to try them). I am not shooting to go quite as dark as a mahogany stain. I don't think trying to make cypress look like mahogany is going to work out anyway and I don't feel I have to be that true to G&G and make it look mahogany, but I do want to bring the light cypress color to a bit darker tint. I think teak oil is going to be a good choice given its durability for keeping teak wood looking so well on all the teak used on many sailboats (and I have been sailing on Galveston Bay for more the 30 years, been around sailboats almost my whole life - since I was around 10 or 11 and no I am not going to say how much more then 30 years and - though less time sailing and more time woodworking since hurricane Ike and loss of ready access to a boat). I'll keep you posted on what I do finish wise as I update my progress.

I am in the process of writing a new blog post right now updating my progress over on my blog (I'll start keeping build progress updates over there now). There has been a lot of progress since I last posted of completing the side legs. I have the front aprons done on the two chairs, the lower back brace and am in the process of finishing up on the arms. I did have major router tear-out coming around the corner of one of the cloud-lifts - more like a blowout!!! It happened so damn fast and so much was split out torn out that a few F-bombs and choice words came flying out of my mouth). Read about what I did to fix it over at my blog (if your reading this within an hour or two of my posting of this forum post it may not be up on my blog yet): http://sawkerf.blogspot.com

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This is a copy of what I wrote over on my blog http://sawkerf.blogspot.com/ -

Adirondack Chair - Long Overdue Update

Well it's been a bit since I updated on the build progress on my efforts to make two Greene & Greene Inspired Adirondack Chairs as I participate in The Wood Whisperer Guild Build. I have quite a bit to blog on since some time has passed and a lot of progress has been made - still not quite to the finish line, but I am getting closer every week.

Since I last blogged there has been some struggle at getting quality shop time in - some of it has been due to other fun activities on my weekends and some has been just a need for general relaxation on my weekends. Some might call it laziness - LOL, but some of my work weeks have left me with a need for some relaxation and down time - ok I admit it I got hooked on video games and let the time slip by more then it should have.

Well where to begin - I guess I should begin where the last blog post ended. I had finished the front and side legs a bit more then a month ago. So next I moved onto the front apron. The challenge with the front apron is the two slots in it that were inspired from the G&G Gamble house dining table.


Marc "The WoodWhisperer" Spagnuolo presented two methods to accomplish the slots with the ramps on the ends of the slots. One was a slice on the band saw and use the miter gauge to cut the ramps - the other was a cut the slots with a router and then use a chisel to create the ramp feature. I chose to do the route the slots and chisel method as it allowed me to gain some much needed hand tool experience - I have had an interest in getting more into woodworking with hand tools more then with tools needing electrons.

The router part of the work was pretty straight forward and went fairly well - the key is the use of good edge guide and making 1/8" shallow cuts a little at a time and stopping before the mark at the end of the slots (no need to route right to the end of the slots since the end will get chopped by hand anyway). So once the routing was done it was on to the workbench and some quiet time listening to some good blues music and finding my chiseling zen. There were 8 ramps total to do so plenty of time to get chisel practice. It may have been a slower method then the band saw slicing method and then gluing the pieces back together, but it definitely had that being connected with the wood feel and it was nice with the music and no machining noises.


I do need to thank fellow Wood Whisperer Guildie, Tom Crawford, for the ramp jig idea he posted on his blog. He also makes me feel like a less then adequate blogger - he has done a much better job of documenting his build, well at least his discipline of photographing more of his steps and the picture quality is so much better then mine. Check it out at Tom's Wood Musing's (http://toms-wood-musings.blogspot.com/). And he beat me by finishing his chair first (oh yeah its not supposed to be a race its supposed to be for my own enjoyment - good thing I am enjoying the hell out of this build!!). The little ramp jig chisel guide thingie Tom came up with helped me a lot considering I am a hand tool woodworking novice and my confidence level of getting good results went up by the end of the first ramp detail I chiseled. There was a good deal of hand sanding the chisel marks out and just sanding a round over into the edges of the slot.


Next piece to get made was the lower back brace. Not anything too complicated here just a cloud lift profile detail to put into it. Probably the most complicated was cutting the angles and bevel into the front edge of the back brace where the bottom of the back slats attach. Finally a test fit of all the chair base pieces, and I felt things were looking pretty good at this point.


Well now I get to one of the main visual features of the chair and something people will notice. The arm rests and there is some details to handle and deal with here. Not necessarily difficult to do just things you need to take your time with and step through. However even the not so difficult can be fraught with pitfalls as I was about to soon find out.

First you band saw out the rough pattern on one of the arms and get the pattern all sanded smooth and looking real pretty. This will become the "golden arm" and the one used as a template to route the other arms from so all the arms have the same shape and curve profiles. Sounds fairly easy right, any one who has spent much time woodworking has likely done template routing before. Well things can go bad and do damage to your work piece damn fast when you have a bit spinning at 30,000 rpm. The culprit was tear out, but not just any old mild tear out that can be easily sanded smooth. No this was something more, something right out of a woodworker's nightmares. Can we say BLOWOUT!!!!



I really wish I got a picture of the splintered out still attached chunks so you can really see what I was looking at while a whole long string of expletives and F-bombs were filling my garage. I think the wood of my router cabinet might have a slight dent from where I kicked it. I did calm down enough to go ahead and decide to route the arm out the rest of the way and see how well it cleaned up - as you can see it did not clean up very well and the damage runs almost four inches along the edge of the cloud lift detail with a nice split still remaining and everything. This was the first arm I tried to template route and was the arm that would go on the same chair as the golden arm.

I pretty much snapped to how I could have prevented this once I calmed down enough. It didn't help matters that I had selected a board with very nice straight grain running the length of the arm. Given that I was feeding the work piece into the router bit in the safe proper direction that allows you to have good control, then the bit is travelling from the inside part of the cloudlift up and around the outside part of the curve. For my non-woodworking readers, this means the cutters on the router bit are turning against the wood in the proper direction to grab that end grain in the curve and tear it out. Had I fed the stock in the other direction - otherwise known as climb cutting the blow-out would not have occurred. Generally climb cutting is discouraged except in these sorts of circumstances since it means the bit wants to try and rip the work piece out of your hands and shoot it across the room - it requires a firm grip on the piece and to anticipate that the bit will do that so your not surprised by it. It's great having the knowledge of what would have prevented it - I just wish I had snapped before hand that the grain direction and the feed direction were such that I was in danger of having this happen before i made the first cut of the first arm to go through the router. I did finish the night out in the shop getting the other two arms template routed and they came out fine.

I was still frustrated and not certain how I wanted to go about fixing the blow out. Do I mill some new stock for that arm and start over - which likely meant milling enough for two arms since I had taken the two arms for the same chair from the same board and grain matched/color matched them as best I could? That didn't seem like a good idea to me. A frantic chain of e-mails and a calmer replies from Marc at the guild's 911 e-mail address had me calmed down and thinking clearly. Truthfully it was a lot more me venting and talking through some of my options and Marc making me realize I needed to quite having paralysis by analysis and just go do it. As Marc said:

"So don't dwell on it too long and just move on.

And I agree that sometimes its best to can it and just mill some new boards. But in this case, I believe it is fully recoverable.

And believe me Jim, I've been there before. Screwing up a detail at the worst possible time when you're just ready to move on to the final stages. But that's how we learn right? We make a spectacular error that teaches us a valuable lesson. And hopefully we are smart enough not to repeat it. :)"

Well if you have followed along in this somewhat lengthy blog post to this point your probably asking yourself what did I consider as options and how did I proceed. The first idea that came to me was to move the back curve detail of the cloud lift forward on the arm edge. I placed the cloud lift pattern template on the bad arm and moved it forward four inches as you can see in the picture below (notice the pencil marks on the edge of the arm - the one on the right is the original center of the cloud lift position and the mark to the left is the one lined up on the center scribe line of the pattern template).


That picture is pretty much exactly how I left things placed as I went to bed that night. My thoughts and concerns at this point was that it would move the back end of the cloud lift detail too far forward on the arm and cause the cloud lift to feel off center. Marc felt it would be fine and said, "Honestly I think your solution is a good one and I don't think the arm will look bad at all. In fact, I say go for it. It does give the arm a bit more of a narrow look, but with such a wide/fat arm to begin with, I think it can afford to lose a bit of material and not look completely odd. As long as you add the same rabbet details, I think its going to look great. And you can consider it your own "personal touch". :) " His reply helped and made me realize not to sweat it too much, its not like the edge of this arm joins up with anything or has to have an exact fit in that area with another piece.

I did sleep on it and went to bed still feeling that the cloudlift pushed that forward would be an unbalanced look. When I woke up the next day and was in that sort of twilight waking up state but not quite wanting to crawl out of bed Sunday morning it hit me that I was trying too hard to keep the half lap joint where the back of the arm joined with the upper back brace as a 3 5/8" square joint as the plans called for. Nothing about how the chair is built requires the arm to back brace half lap joint to stay a square and if I just removed a 1/4" along the whole outside edge of the chair arm I could make it work and no one would be the wiser and to me as sipped my coffee Sunday morning looking at the pattern template laying on the arm this looked like a better option to me.


Ok now on to fixing it - so I pencil in this new edge profile and head to the band saw. This arm will become the new golden arm and I am thinking I will route the other side chair arm to match this one and while this chairs arms will be slightly skinnier then the other chair it won't be all that noticeable (and I was thinking once I had it cut I would consider cutting the other chair arms to match as well). So I draw a new pencil line into the arm on top of other pencil lines I had made to mark where some of the rabbeted indented cloud lift profile will go thinking no problem I can keep which pencil line is my cut line just fine at the band saw.


You can see some of the pencil marks that already existed in the board above as I was considering moving the back curve of the cloud lift forward four inches. I left those there when I drew the cut line for just making the whole arm a 1/4" narrower instead of moving the cloud lift back portion forward on the arm. Well another lesson learned - erase any pencil lines that have nothing to do with the cut your making. I cut in early where I had drawn the kind of neat rabbet routing detail that pushed the cloudlift ends in about a 1.5" or so in that neat detail that Marc and Aaron came up with while designing the arms. You can see what happened if you look at the pair of the arms on the right that are mis-cut and now narrower compared to the pair of the arms on the left that are cut to the plan.


The arms are not only narrower but now the front part curve of the cloudlift is pushed back towards the back of the chair compared to the other chair. I also notice the when I compare the two arms that the pair on the right is very noticeably narrowerer then the pair on the left. I am sure having the front curve detail of the cloudlift pushed back about 1 1/2 inches due to my band saw mis-cut did not help hide the 1/4" narrowness of the pair on the right. So that's where the arm boards are sitting in my shop right now. I was seriously considering not re-template routing the pair on the left to match the pair on the right until I made the band saw mis-cut. I don't think having the cloud lift pushed back from the front of the arm is all that significant , but i do think the arms of two chairs sitting next to each other on the deck having this big of a difference is the more noticeable. After all the only people who see the chairs in pictures are real life that would even maybe notice they deviate from the plan would be fellow Guild members. It's just frustrating that in my rush to fix the mistake that I didn't grab an eraser out of the drawer and erase the pre-existing lines on the board first. The router blowout I felt was less a mistake on my part and just a bit of the nature of how fast things can go wrong on a router, but this band saw cutting to the wrong line mistake was kind of bone-headed and so easily avoidable.

The chair is coming together though and I am approaching the home stretch once these arms and the upper back brace are done and now its just a matter of pushing forward and not letting myself be discouraged or ignore my shop while I pout about my mistakes. Truthfully I am not all that stressed or frustrated about the mistakes anymore. Marc's right that the profile of these arms is pretty open ended and can be any shape that works and the new narrower shape with the cloud lift position slightly different does still look good and will still have a stunning G&G element on the chairs.

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Well I got the arms and upper back brace cut and assembled. Routed in the rabbet detail. Now just a couple of evenings of some relaxing sanding to round over all the edges and then I will be ready to get the back slats and "butt" slats cut and the chair. I've blogged about it in more detail over at my Sawkerf blog.


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  • 3 weeks later...

Well I am getting real close to finished. I have all the parts and pieces done and am spending my weeknights making a bunch of ebony plugs. I should have things ready to put some stain and finish on the chairs this weekend. I was thinking of keeping things natural, but my wife and daughter have convinced me to stain it darker. Anyway there are more details out at my Sawkerf blog about the getting the arm brackets and all the slats completed.

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