This section is from the book "Spons' Mechanics' Own Book: A Manual For Handicraftsmen And Amateurs", by Edward Spon. Also available from Amazon: Spons' Mechanics' Own Book.
If an extra amount of ease is required in any of the foregoing chairs, they should be made with a seat sloping from front to back; 1 in. longer in the front legs, and 1/2 in. shorter in the back, will give a desirable angle •of comfort. It must be remembered that the joints in the side rails will require adjusting in order to suit this angle.
The gossip chair represented in Fig. 693 is measured for single stuffing. The seat has an oval form, and the arms and back are adapted to almost closely encircle the sitter. No support is provided for the head. First make the moulds, then get out the beech rails and frame the seat up. In this shape of seat it is difficult to mortise and tenon, in consequence of the cross grain that would be involved; recourse must therefore be had to dowels, and if they are judiciously placed, great strength will be secured. Having squared the legs and fitted the 4 parts to them with dowels, the seat can be glued up in the following way : - First glue up and knock together a short and long rail with 2 legs, and then the other 2 rails can be similarly treated; the 2 corners will then more easily come together to the remaining legs. After glueing and knocking up, the seat must be cramped in order to perfectly close the joints. Two methods are adopted in the trade, the first of which is a long cramp from Bide to side, with another from end to end of seat; this is a simple way and answers very well for a single article. But if a number of such chairs have to be made, the " collar method " is more convenient.
A collar is a piece of beech arranged so as to lap over seat rail, top and bottom, with an iron pin through the overlapping parts and seat rail. The swivel action thus allows the collar to be brought round so as to find a bearing on the seat rail; and when another collar is fixed to the adjoining rail in the same way, and the ends of the 2 collars are cramped up, the joints are brought together most effectively without any straining of the dowels. One pin-hole in the middle of each rail will give the needful angle for the leverage of the collars. The next stage in the work is to get out rims, viz. the 2 show-wood mouldings and the beech capping for the top. After placing stumps on the seat, lapped through as indicated, the rims must be fitted up to the stump and the banister underneath fitted loose. The spindles, rims, and centre bracket, having been carefully adjusted, can now be glued up together; and after placing the small supporting bracket on, the seat may be glued and cramped up to the stumps already in position. The foundation of the chair being perfectly sound, the joints clean, and the work free from rickets, the 2 scroll pieces can be dowelled on to the top of beech rim, and the adjustment of the top stuffing rail between the scrolls is then a simple task.
Two or three dowels running through the upper beech rim and show-wood moulding will permanently bind them together. This style of chair will come out effectively without the addition of the upper scroll pieces and stuffing rail, leaving merely a stuffed pad all round; or, instead of spindles and show-wood stumps and mouldings, it may be made entirely of beech and "stuffed in" all over.
Fig. 694 is a combination of an all stuff over and a show-wood gossip chair. The arms can be made just plain "sweeps," without the turning as shown; but the latter gives an ornamental and novel appearance not otherwise obtainable. A piece left on these side arms when the stuff is cut out makes it a simpler matter for the turner to find his centre. Get out moulds, then the rails, legs, etc., and lay the slips; then let a carver do the mouldings; after this frame the back feet on to the back rail, and the front legs on to the front rail: the 2 latter, as may be observed, being square joints. Now find the angle of the side. This may be done in the following manner. The line, of the outside of the side rail will be found to be 2 1/4 in. out of square; this givesa 2 1/4 -in angle, to which "the bevel" may be set, by simply measuring 2 1/4 in. from a straight line 17 in. long (length of side rail), and setting the "bevel" to angle-line thus obtained. Having adjusted the angle, the seat may be cross-framed together. This pattern of seat can be readily mortised and tenoned together, as shown, if desired, although dowels are usually applied in making such chairs in the trade. Dowelling being the quicker method, it is invariably adopted where price is an object.
The back is made of beech, no show-wood being required in it. It can be got out and framed up independently of the other portions, there being the 3 joints in the back indicated. Before fitting the back to the arms and seat, get out the support or banister shown under the back; place it on the seat: then dowel and glue the back and banister on to the seat. The angle or pitch of the back would be determined by applying the mould of the arm and the slope desired for ease. The arms having been already got out, turned, and carved, the fitting of the seat to the back is a simple matter. Some care is necessary in placing the dowels, fixing the side arms to the back; the position shown in the sketch is, perhaps, the most reliable.
Fig. 695 illustrates the wooden frame necessary for an adult easy chair in needle-work. The construction is extremely simple. The first step is to strike out a good set of moulds, taking care to secure a nice easy line; then get out wood for the sides, allowing for the rebate as shown by the dotted line. It is then wise to let the carver do as much of his work to the sides as he can. After obtaining the pieces from him, dowel, glue, and cramp up the back, feet, and sides. The cross rails can now be got out to the size indicated, let into the sides at the points shown, and the chair framed up. The front feet of these chairs are usually (Towelled on, and, if well done, they are fairly durable. A strong pin left on the leg, square or round, as the case may be, is another method. Having added the front legs, let the carver finish the incising; clean off, and the chair is made.