If you are looking for a creative way to generate some additional cash, you might want to consider becoming a chairmaker. Handcrafted furniture carries special meaning for many people, and perfecting your skills as a chairmaker will allow you to capitalize on this nostalgia. In order to get started crafting chairs from hand, you will need access to specialized tools designed specifically to make chair construction simpler.
Here are three tools that should be in every novice chairmaker's toolbox.
1. Draw Knife
The draw knife is a specialty tool that can make it easy to strip the bark away from a raw piece of wood. Draw knives can also be used to shape chair legs and slats throughout the construction process. Rather than being pushed away from the user, like many traditional woodworking tools, the draw knife is drawn toward you as you work. This allows for greater control while you craft the fine details of your chair.
To ensure that your draw knife is effective, be sure that you sharpen it correctly. Begin by using a whet stone to clear any burrs from the blade of your drawknife. Next, use a dowel wrapped in 400 grit sandpaper to sharpen the edge of your drawknife's blade. Finally, hone your drawknife with a dowel wrapped in leather to achieve the perfect cutting edge.
Since chairs have many curved surfaces, you will need a tool that allows you to shape the wood along these curves. A spokeshave, a small plane with a handle on each side of its blade, makes working with curved surfaces simpler. The key to these invaluable tools is to select the right spokeshave for the job at hand.
If you need to round off the edges of a square piece of wood, a concave spokeshave will get the job done. A convex sole spokeshave is well suited for carving out the seat area for your chair. Being able to identify and use the right spokeshave for the task at hand will make your project run more smoothly in the future.
Having a number of specialty chisels on hand while constructing chairs can be beneficial. Chisels have a variety of uses; from creating deep interior cuts to etching delicate patterns into the wood.
When selecting chisels to include in your chairmaker's toolbox, be sure that you pay careful attention to the quality of the steel. You want a chisel whose steel is hard enough to withstand repeated blows, but not so hard that it becomes brittle. Look for Western chisels that measure between 58 and 62 on the Rockwell-C hardness scale.
If you want your handmade chairs to withstand the test of time, it is essential that you start with the right tools. Investing in a draw knife, spokeshave, and several high-quality chisels will give you the best chance of crafting fine chairs in the future. Contact a local specialty tools supplier, like Bourget Bros Building Materials, for more information.