Dining Chair – Episode 1

Dining Chair 1

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Paul discusses his process of design, stock preparation and layout before marking out and shaping the back posts. He does this using the saw and axe (a chisel works well too) before refining the shape with the plane and spokeshave.

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  1. Eddy Flynn on 12 August 2015 at 7:17 pm

    wow so much info in 45 minutes thankfully there is a rewind button, these are the type of chairs that will outlive us all, i honestly dont think i’d use the axe i’d try and keep as much of that quater sawn oak as possibly there are a number of spoons in that waste wood as its not cheap,

  2. pnj2411 on 12 August 2015 at 8:14 pm

    Great episode, and nice to see that the axe option is not just for spoons, but yes like Eddy, I would be sad to turn the waste wood into chips rather than an offcut for something or other.
    And nice to see the sharpening in context: it’s a less than 2 minute operation before getting back to the real work. In the endless debates on sharpening methods this practical aspect is rarely discussed – being able to sharpen and get back to work quickly is usually vastly more important than obsessing over the theoretical details.
    I used to stress about it, but after moving to diamond stones, it becomes routine.

    • bryzar on 15 August 2015 at 9:09 am

      I quite agree, once i got reputable diamond stones, i just breeze through sharpening!
      I also agree about the waste wood, its one time i would take the piece to the bandsaw for rough shaping, to make use of the waste wood- perhaps some round spindles in the back, rather than 3 straight boards…

  3. Matt Hess on 12 August 2015 at 11:40 pm

    So excited for this series! I have a set of chairs that are very worn from a family of active children 🙂 Can’t wait to develop the skills to replace my chairs with my own hands. The solidity of this design will be great for my needs.

  4. Mike Williams on 13 August 2015 at 12:59 am

    I too have been waiting for this series. I have two chairs that I have to build for my wife to replace the one she is currently using that is too short and narrow. I am excited to develop these skills.

  5. Anonymous on 13 August 2015 at 1:51 am

    In software, we use napkins with coffee stains. Brilliant sketch.

  6. sodbuster on 13 August 2015 at 2:00 pm

    Great to see the axe going. Hew to the line & let the chips fall where thay may.

    Can we hope for an “interlude” episode soon on making a bowsaw? That would be a handy alternative that would leave some usable offcuts.

    Could you comment please on making a template for these parts if one were planning to make a set of four or more chairs? It seems to me that the time to prepare a plywood or hardboard template would be repaid with consistency & time savings in repetitive layout.

    • ballinger on 14 August 2015 at 1:07 am

      If you make a back leg you could easily lay it down on cardboard and trace it out. Use your Stanley knife to cut it out and you’ll have a quick template that doesn’t cost you in wooden materials. The other option if you have your wood dimensioned for all the chairs would be to transfer straight off the leg onto the other blanks. What do you think guys? Sound logical, is there a better way?

      • sodbuster on 14 August 2015 at 3:10 am

        This sounds like a great approach for one batch. If there will be time delay from one chair or set to the next, I admit that I like the more durable edges of hardboard for repeatable tracing / scoring.

        • russ on 14 August 2015 at 11:13 am

          I don’t think it matters too much but it’s still early. I think the critical parts would be that the 8″ flat area and the top and bottom corners of the opposite edge align on both back legs. Like the 2 pencil maneuver Paul used when making edge joints. Additionally if you refer to the drawings, all of the mortises for parts that connect the rear legs are parallel to the front edge.so I intend to rough the rear legs out individually and finish shaping them together.

      • Sandy on 14 August 2015 at 2:30 pm

        I like the idea of transferring from the first layout.

    • ticktockman on 14 August 2015 at 9:22 pm

      I too would love to see an episode on making a bowsaw…

  7. Farred on 14 August 2015 at 5:34 am

    Paul had me until he mentioned 32 mortises. I thought 28 for my workbench was extreme.

    • George Bridgeman on 14 August 2015 at 10:47 am

      Don’t forget that these ones are short and shallow, so won’t take long. The compound angles may make them more involved though.

      I’m just about to glue up the coffee table, which I think has 40-something mortices. Chopping those was ok – it was the layout that took the time!


      • ballinger on 14 August 2015 at 1:22 pm

        That’s interesting George – you can see why Paul talked about the layout being the most important part. He mentioned before about the head guy in a workshop doing all the layout and other workers doing the joinery.

  8. mkamp on 17 August 2015 at 1:13 pm

    Great episode.

    Regarding the axe. What is the material of the pad Paul is working on?

    Any advise on buying vintage axes for wood working?

    • nevynxxx on 17 August 2015 at 2:13 pm

      Not sure about “vintage” Mariana, but I’ve heard very good things about these in bushcraft circles…

      • mkamp on 17 August 2015 at 5:35 pm

        They sure look great, but how do I know what to look for? 🙂

        • nevynxxx on 18 August 2015 at 12:10 pm

          This search gives 5 results of Paul talking about Axes 😉

          The one I linked above is a guy who does a lot of carving, so it’s shaped well for that, and isn’t too far in shape from a normal joiner’s ax.

          This also has a good view of the different shapes, but I think picking a few up and seeing how they feel is probably the best start.

          My Ax was actually inherited from my Dad, it’s of a kind he’s used for 20 years that I remember that has a metal shaft, covered in rubber. It’s not pretty, and probably not “the best” but it does the trick.

          • Mick Mercer on 18 August 2015 at 5:39 pm

            I have several axes and non come close to the Robin Wood you have linked to. It is a brilliant axe at a very good price, his service is also first class. I highly recommend this as a good woodworking axe.

          • mkamp on 20 August 2015 at 10:16 am


            thanks for googling that for me … and my apologies 😉

        • piper on 7 October 2015 at 3:51 am

          Bowyer’s Side Axe listed in the link has an offset for either left handed or right handed.

  9. Jim Allen on 24 August 2015 at 4:25 am

    Paul and company,
    I want to thank you for the video’s of the Dining Chair that you are presenting. I have been waiting for this for a long time. The presentation is great and the design is very good also. I will be building several of these and I am looking forward to the next chair project. Your teaching is greatly appreciated.

  10. jakegevorgian on 25 August 2015 at 6:51 pm

    Very nice work and methods for removing the bulk with an axe.

    I’ve not seen many woodworkers in USA or England use an adze instead of an axe. Adze was very useful tool back in Armenia—from my memories.

    Has anyone here use this tool instead of an axe?


  11. aintgonnahappen on 11 December 2015 at 1:29 pm

    Does Paul give the dimensions? Is there a page that has them? Thanks for any help.

    Frank Booth

  12. terrence on 12 December 2015 at 1:12 pm

    I have a converted Stanley similar to Paul’s that I occasionally use for a scrub plane. But my go-to scrub is an old wooden purpose built scrub plane with a 1-1/8″ blade that hogs wood off so fast it is scary. I found this plane at a garage sale It’s body is about 10-1/4″ long and 1-3/4″ wide. It has a front horn (handle) and no makers mark. If you can get one don’t hesitate.

  13. gmichaelson on 3 April 2016 at 1:31 pm

    are there plans somewhere? or a cut list?

  14. rickwallin on 1 November 2016 at 10:46 am

    Fantastic, absolutely Fantastic! Thank you!

  15. Cindy Ballreich on 16 August 2021 at 2:08 am

    If one was to cut all of the pieces from a single board, what would the dimensions of that board be?

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