Thesis Weekly Blog Post #10

Week 8-9: Fabrication Progression

Fabrication continues, as I mentioned in my last blog post I have invested ton of time into the spindle shaping. All of the spindles are first rough cut to their template shape with bandsaw, then flush trimmed to the perfect profile on router table. Next, both ends of the spindle were turned into cylinder on lathe; the body of the spindles were rough shaped on belt sander and hand shaped with spoke shave. Last, I smooth out the plane marks with orbital sander with foam disc.

All of my steam bent parts are too wide to fit the thickness planer, so I used CNC router to machined all top surfaces flush. However, the end mill bit on CNC router left a lot of burned mark on the wood surfaces. Since I already had both surfaces parallel each other, I simply just jointed the burned surfaces on the regular jointer to remove all the marks. Unfortunately, spring-in happened in different degrees on all of my bent pieces. I arranged the least spring-in part for the very first layer on my head rest lamination, and in addition, the glue between the staggered lamination were also able to help reduce the spring-in on the finished head rest.

The bottom rail steam bent part was oversized on the width. I was able to use template to trim the part I needed out of the rough stock. Most importantly, I created flattened joinery surfaces on the inner rail surface for the back legs and under seat rail to attach.

Before I do any spindle holes drilling, I wanted to create an last opportunity to test my jig. I made a mockup head rest out of segments of poplar and drilled holes as accurate as possible. In order to restrain the spring-in, I screw two blocks on my angled jig to hold the steam bent part in position for drilling. Moreover, I clamped seat frame on the lower rail to correct the spring-in as well. Long story short, everything workout fine and I was able to start my final drilling.


The following step was to cut out back legs with CNC router and start laminating the steam bent pieces. My head rest lamination required individual piece be held at ideal shape while the glue up taking place. And every part was laminated 1/4’’ offset each other which allowed me to carve a spiral shape out of it.

Once the head rest lamination completed, I used an angle grinder with wood shaping blade and a portable electric planer to remove the excessive material. These tools are very helpful and efficient on shaping wood, and I was able to complete the rough shaping on my lounge chair head rest in a couple of hours. The images on the right show the process of the lamination, shaping and the result. In the meantime, I layout the cut line on the head rest, and ready for the miter cuts which connect to the front legs.

More to come in my next blog post…