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First greenwood stool

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default First greenwood stool

Post by Chilli-head on 30th May 2013, 10:44 am

I finished off my first stool made using green woodworking techniques, which I started at the Bodger's Ball. It is made from Wimpole estate ash, with a woven seagrass top which I finished last night in the living room in front of the TV. As an aside, this made a right old mess on the carpet, good job I have a tolerant family Smile

It was not without some struggle. I was a tad worried that the top rails were joined quite close to the top of the legs which, being ash, might easily split when the tenons were driven home. I was quite right - I had to turn one replacement leg ... next time I'll leave a bit more length above the joint and perhaps make them a wee bit less snug. Still, here it is.

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Post by freebird on 30th May 2013, 11:15 am

Ooh, that's nice, CH. Ash is a lovely looking wood. I always prefer the greyer coloured woods to orangey colours. I guess though, if you have to make the top of the legs longer to avoid splitting, you would have to offset that against making the stool uncomfortable to sit on.
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Post by Chilli-head on 30th May 2013, 11:31 am

Yes, the comfort factor worried me. I have memories of many, many hours of sitting on traditional Greek cafe chairs(*), with the top of the legs digging into the muscles at the back of my legs, and didn't want that. But sitting on this one, it is quite comfy in that regard, and I think a tad longer would have beeen OK.

According to the Bodger's forum, the trick is to put a jubilee clip round the top of the leg as you assemble, and leave it there until the wood has dried out a bit. Simple, heh ?

(*) If you hadn't noticed, I have a fondness for most things Greek. Except Ouzo.
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Post by Dandelion on 30th May 2013, 4:40 pm

It's beautiful, Chilli. Was the seagrass a bit hard on your hands? I've re-caned a chair (using a 1940s Dryad leaflet for instructions) and it was quite a blistering process!

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Chilli-head on 30th May 2013, 6:53 pm

This seagrass was coarser stuff than I've had before, but the rustic look is appropriate. It is pretty rough on the hands to work. I made a rather small kit seagrass stool for C-H jnr when he was small, and I simply repeated the method from that kit, using the seagrass needle that came with it.

The seagrass also seemed quite dusty, it make me cough a lot.
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Post by freebird on 12th June 2013, 11:30 pm

We visited Chesterfield whilst in Derbyshire at the weekend, and I saw the bizarre twisted spire of the parish church for the first time  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_St_Mary_and_All_Saints,_Chesterfield. It made me smile as there is/was a theory that it was caused by making it from green wood. I had visions of your stool doing some strange contortions over the next several hundred years.
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Post by Chilli-head on 13th June 2013, 10:34 am

In the trade that's called "character" Wink

Green wood definitely will change shape.  Partly this is exploited - the horizontal rails of the stool are turned first and left to dry somewhat (in my case, whilst my wrist healed !).  Then the legs are turned, drilled, and the stool assembled by knocking it together with a mallet. The green legs then dry, shrinking as they do so, and grip the tenons on the end of the rails locking the thing together with no glue required.  Careful judgement about how tight to make the joints is needed though.

Green woods shrinks, as a rule of thumb, by ~10% circumferentially, ~5% radially, and very littile logitudunally. (That's why logs develop radial cracks). So any item turned round ends up slightly oval.  This is again exploited with the stool joints, the tenons are oriented so that the wide axis of the oval tenon goes in the direction of the grain on the leg, not across it, reducing the likelyhood of spitting the leg apart when driving home the joint.

Here, because all the bits are quite small, you use a bit of care in selecting your wood to avoid knots.  Straight grained woods usually behave predictably as I described above, but gnarly, knotty bits are both harder to turn to a nice finish, and tend to distort more wildly on drying.  I guess in pieces of timber large enough to build a cathedral, it is hard to get straight grained knot free lengths.

I made a small bowl out of cherry wood, and I used a crotch where the trunk split in two to give me a wide, flat piece to start.  It has now dried a very, very strange shape although it is still in one piece.  Character ...

PS: I edited your post Freebird to fix the link which didn't work for me. Don't know why, but it works now !
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