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Re: [medievalsawdust] X-chairs Cheap!!

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  • Tim Bray
    ... My wife found them in a catalog (Marshall Fields) that we received in the mail. I think they have some link with Amazon. Cheers, Colin Albion Works
    Message 1 of 16 , May 5, 2003
      >Just curious, what were you looking
      >for when you found these?

      My wife found them in a catalog (Marshall Fields) that we received in the
      mail. I think they have some link with Amazon.

      Cheers,
      Colin


      Albion Works
      Furniture and Accessories
      For the Medievalist!
      www.albionworks.net
      www.albionworks.com
    • rmhowe
      ... Good point. I hadn t thought of starting one with something that simple. I suppose it s because I was used to getting the lumber out of the rough with
      Message 2 of 16 , May 5, 2003
        Joseph Hayes wrote:
        >
        > --- Tim Bray <tbray@...> wrote:
        > > Guess I won't be making any of these... can't compete with a price
        > > like that!
        >
        > I guess that depends on your market. I made one for myself from 1x2
        > red oak trim and a few hours in the shop. I don't remember the price,
        > but it wasn't anywhere near $100.
        >
        > Ulrich

        Good point. I hadn't thought of starting one with something that
        simple. I suppose it's because I was used to getting the lumber
        out of the rough with large industrial machines. I suppose
        the bottoms might be something a bit wider and the tops made
        from turning squares - with a back slotted in.

        I showed my wife the web-page and the improvement needed
        for most folks, particularly us older ones is back support. If
        she'd wanted one I would have bought it for her. No back? Uh-uh!

        Thanks for sending the page though Tim, I forwarded it on locally.

        Magnus
      • rmhowe
        ... One of my oldest friends spends half of his time these days taking furniture orders (and NC furniture jobs) to China. Used to go to Argentina. There is no
        Message 3 of 16 , May 6, 2003
          Tim Bray wrote:
          >
          > >I guess that depends on your market. I made one for myself from 1x2
          > >red oak trim and a few hours in the shop. I don't remember the price,
          > >but it wasn't anywhere near $100.
          >
          > Oh, yes, materials cost would be nowhere near $100. But I'm trying to make
          > a living here, so the labor isn't free. I doubt I could make one
          > start-to-finish, at the level of finish and detail that I'm happy with,
          > fast enough to sell it for $100 and still make a living wage. (I'm
          > guessing the people who assemble these are making substantially less than
          > USA minimum wage...)
          >
          > Cheers,
          > Colin

          One of my oldest friends spends half of his time these days taking
          furniture orders (and NC furniture jobs) to China. Used to go to
          Argentina. There is no doubt in my mind that they are probably
          being made overseas having made furniture for a living as a
          former shop foreman.

          Retail is usually double wholesale, which hopefully is double labor cost
          and materials. Or it was when I did it. Around 1980 one of my 7 hour
          products usually went for about $400+ retail. We had about thirty six
          designs I frequently worked up. Some took as long as five days.

          Having made the jigs to set up that particular stool I could probably
          do three a day if I had to or possibly more with a thickness sander
          or more modern self feeding equipment.

          I was not including finishing in my production estimate for an
          ordinary shop. A shop I sub-contracted parts for once made oak
          furniture for ship deck chairs and they simply dipped everything in
          boiled linseed oil and let it drip over a welded steel sheet tank
          and cover.

          If you were to go back in the Medieval Encampments list you
          would find a post by me on how to do tenons very quickly by
          hand on a tablesaw. I did hundreds per day once by hand.

          You could also go the easier route and make the seats out of doweling
          for the parts other than the seats though. I have seen that done.
          A Drill Press, some drill & forstner bits, glue, and a bunch of 1x2"s
          cut to length and tapered where they hit the other leg struts.

          Of course if you did use dowels for the seat too you would get that
          lovely grill embossed look. I wonder what it does for cellulite?
          I mean if you can see panty lines - what's that got to look like? ;)

          The hard part is all the tenons and -mortises- which modern
          computer assisted machinery makes somewhat simple. At that point you
          only need machine operators and sanders/finishers which is where most
          labor is these days with one or two skilled machine set-up men in
          the U.S.A. at least. Finishing can be done, and is, on roller
          platform lines with up to thirty separate people doing specialised parts
          of it. If you are not doing high-end custom work you cannot compete
          with factory work. Chinese mainland labor is 1/8th of Taiwan's.

          Some of their products though are quite nice. For example I bought
          a fine hardwood (mahogany or something very similar) trestle table
          and matching trestle seats for about $450 two years ago at a
          World Market when they were on sale. I don't think I could buy
          the materials for much less than that here. No particle board anywhere
          and virtually flawless. Fingerjointed but very hard to see under
          the uniform finish. Not one knot in it. I think it came from Malaysia.

          The only happy converse of all this may be that some hardwoods may
          decrease or stabilize in cost as the demand lessens, although a whole
          lot of our hardwoods are shipped overseas now.

          For those who may never have heard of such things there are actual
          factory ships at sea for long times producing plywood which is then
          sent back to our markets made out of our trees.
          These are similar to the whaling ships/fishing ship canneries
          where everything is done off shore. Usually Japanese, but I
          imagine they have competition now. My source for this was Woodshop
          News I think a few years back.

          This is one reason why veneer is so thin on much of the hardwood
          plywood you see these days. It used to be about 1/40" thick but
          is thinning. I've seen some you could see the under-layers or glue
          through. You really have to be picky and do minimal sanding on this
          stuff. Some of it I have used had the lovedly scent of dog doo when
          you cut it too. I don't know what that is exactly they used. I hated
          it on the rare stuff we bought I encountered it on.

          If you rub three spread fingers over a sheet you can usually detect
          voids by ear or feel. Before you buy the clunker. I've sent whole
          shipments, or a good percentage of them right back to the suppliers.
          Reputation is everything. Especially when your average job runs into
          thousands of dollars.

          Incidentally, before you get caught in this one - most plywood
          suppliers guarantee squareness on only three corners. Mathematically
          it doesn't make sense, but sheets being out of square quite a lot
          are quite common. If you are doing cabinetry and you let one of
          these things into your cabinet in a central location - you're screwed
          trying to fix it after the fact. Use a square and compare measurements
          to oblique corners. I think you will be very surprised.

          Oversize sheets are not unknown either. This is a good reason to have
          a table saw that will cut half way through lengthwise [48"+].
          It's generally best to have your pieces cut between a fence and
          blade whenever possible. The most accurate tablesaws to have are
          -outside- or left tilting blades, if you are right handed. The
          reason is with a blade that tilts - towards the fence - any rise
          in the material while it is being cut is deducted from your piece.
          With a left tilt blade you can always press a bit harder down to
          make it lie flat with the table and true up the edge with a follow
          up cut.

          It also helps to have a good straight edge you can rout a square
          corner to begin with if you find yourself very much out of square.
          For myself I have long had two aluminum extrusions of about 4 and
          10 feet, and I have a set of tile setter's straight edges as well
          I can clamp on and rout to. There is a company called Joint-a-bility
          that sells these jigs as an alternative to jointing huge boards.
          It simply is a legged jig that clamps a straight edge down on top
          of your board and you use a router to run a straight edge or an
          angled one if you have the bits. Woodshop News generally sells them.

          Magnus
        • Conal O'hAirt Jim Hart
          If you were to go back in the Medieval Encampments list you would find a post by me on how to do tenons very quickly by hand on a tablesaw. I did hundreds per
          Message 4 of 16 , May 7, 2003
            If you were to go back in the Medieval Encampments
            list you would find a post by me on how to do tenons
            very quickly by hand on a tablesaw. I did hundreds per
            day once by hand.

            two questions...

            Medieval Encapments list? Where? How?

            and ( just in case I't something I haven't
            thought of ) how do 'you' do tenons on the
            table saw.

            I've done it a couple of differnt ways,
            I'm curious how you do it....



            =====
            Baron Conal O'hAirt / Jim Hart
            Aude Aliquid Dignum
            ' Dare Something Worthy '

            __________________________________
            Do you Yahoo!?
            The New Yahoo! Search - Faster. Easier. Bingo.
            http://search.yahoo.com
          • Scott Lane
            ... I was sure you were on it! It s only one of the best lists around! http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MedievalEncampments/ In Service, Lord Aodhfin Seibert
            Message 5 of 16 , May 7, 2003
              >Medieval Encapments list? Where? How?
              >Baron Conal O'hAirt / Jim Hart
              > Aude Aliquid Dignum
              > ' Dare Something Worthy '

              I was sure you were on it! It's only one of the best lists around!

              http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MedievalEncampments/

              In Service,
              Lord Aodhfin Seibert
            • Adam MacDonald
              Good evening, folks! That would be the Medieval Encampments Yahoo group - founded by Dame Mira Silverlock (of Medieval Pavilion Resources fame) and now run by
              Message 6 of 16 , May 7, 2003
                Good evening, folks!

                That would be the Medieval Encampments Yahoo group - founded by Dame Mira
                Silverlock (of Medieval Pavilion Resources fame) and now run by me - Sasha
                (Mykola Shlahetka). Here's some pertinent info for the group:

                Post message: MedievalEncampments@yahoogroups.com

                Shortcut URL to this page:
                http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MedievalEncampments/

                We're nearly 900 souls (and growing daily) - some of the worthies on *this*
                list also play over at mine (hi Magnus, hi Colin!). The focus is on
                improving the camp aesthetic (whatever that means for you) furniture,
                pavilions, packing strategies, weatherproofing, et cetera....

                Stop on by!

                Sasha
                Owner - Crescent Horde Tent Company - specializing in non-Mongol yurtas

                ----- Original Message -----
                From: Conal O'hAirt Jim Hart <baronconal@...>
                To: <medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com>
                Sent: Wednesday, May 07, 2003 1:47 PM
                Subject: Re: [medievalsawdust] X-chairs Cheap!!


                > If you were to go back in the Medieval Encampments
                > list you would find a post by me on how to do tenons
                > very quickly by hand on a tablesaw. I did hundreds per
                > day once by hand.
                >
                > two questions...
                >
                > Medieval Encapments list? Where? How?
                >
                > and ( just in case I't something I haven't
                > thought of ) how do 'you' do tenons on the
                > table saw.
                >
                > I've done it a couple of differnt ways,
                > I'm curious how you do it....
                >
                >
                >
                > =====
                > Baron Conal O'hAirt / Jim Hart
                > Aude Aliquid Dignum
                > ' Dare Something Worthy '
                >
                > __________________________________
                > Do you Yahoo!?
                > The New Yahoo! Search - Faster. Easier. Bingo.
                > http://search.yahoo.com
                >
                >
                > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                > medievalsawdust-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                >
                >
                >
                > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                >
                >
                >
              • stefan_of_kiel
                Hello Colin, I want to start by saying your web page has fantastic wood furniture. I ve made a few knockdown trestle tables using slots and datos but they get
                Message 7 of 16 , May 12, 2003
                  Hello Colin,

                  I want to start by saying your web page has fantastic wood furniture.

                  I've made a few knockdown trestle tables using slots and datos but
                  they get loose quickly and wobble. I believe you have a picture on
                  your webpage of a trestle where the cross piece is aligned up and
                  down and your pin passes through side to side. Last night I was
                  working on this wobble problem and cut a mortise for the pin to go
                  top to bottom. The way it holds over a larger area of the leg and
                  seems sturdier than the cross pin. The other thing I did was cut the
                  pin's mortise at an angel to match the pins angle. This gave a
                  larger area of contact inside the mortise and the leg stopped
                  wobbling. The material I'm using is 7/8" maple. The cross piece is
                  5" wide and the tenon is 3" wide x 4" long. I didn't cut a shoulder
                  for the tenon because I felt the material is too thin. Once the
                  mortise was cut in the leg, I then cut a 1/4" mortise in the tenon
                  from top to bottom. Having the mortise go straight through and using
                  an wedge shaped pin meant that only one small spot of the pin was
                  contacting the instide of the mortise. I then took out more material
                  to make the mortise angled and I recut my pin to match the angle and
                  keep it short enough to stay below the tabletop when in place. Now I
                  have a lot of contact in the mortise which puts pressure on the top
                  and bottom of the tennon. This removed most of the wobble. There is
                  still a little side to side wiggle, but I will probably glue small
                  blocks jsut below the base of the tenon to act as shoulders and that
                  should reduce that movement.

                  I'll try to post some pics on my webpage this evening.
                  http://www.dwarvenaxe.com The link will be in the Woodworks
                  section. Assuming this test works successfully, I'll be fixing or
                  replacing my existing trestles to this design.

                  If someone else tries this or sees an obvious issue this this design,
                  please let me know.

                  Stefan



                  --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, Tim Bray <tbray@m...> wrote:
                  >
                  > >Who has made the 'sawhorse' style trestle tables?
                  >
                  > I have made some, in a knockdown style.
                  >
                  > >What angles and sizes did you find worked best?
                  > >
                  > >Did you make 3 or 4 legged trestles?
                  >
                  > Mine are tripods. Both the front and back legs are angled, at
                  about 4 degrees.
                  >
                  > >I made a prototype legs from scrap plywood
                  > >( 3 legged )
                  > >and didn't like the way it came out.
                  >
                  > I'm not completely satisfied with mine, either. They look nice and
                  work
                  > well... up to a point. A couple of customers think they are too
                  > wobbly. This comes of making them knockdown.
                  >
                  > I don't think most of the medieval versions were made to come
                  apart. Most
                  > of them look like they have pretty thick legs, permanently joined
                  to the
                  > horizontal support. This would be a lot sturdier, but almost
                  impossible to
                  > pack for travel.
                  >
                  > I'm still trying to solve this problem: how to make trestles that
                  are
                  > sturdy and stable, but can be taken apart and packed flat.
                  Suggestions
                  > welcome!
                  >
                  > >( My wife found out that
                  > >only the poor didn't cover up their tables
                  > >with table clothes
                  >
                  > Yes, which makes documentation of these things extremely
                  difficult. 90% of
                  > the time, the trestles are hidden by the tablecloth. (Simliar
                  problem with
                  > beds, btw.) I do have a few details from paintings and
                  illuminations; maybe
                  > I'll try throwing them onto a Web page so we can all discuss them.
                  >
                  > Cheers,
                  > Colin
                  >
                  >
                  > Albion Works
                  > Furniture and Accessories
                  > For the Medievalist!
                  > www.albionworks.net
                  > www.albionworks.com
                • Tim Bray
                  Stefan, ... Thanks! Compliments are always nice, and those from other woodworkers are especially treasured. ... Yes. ... That s the way my tripod trestles
                  Message 8 of 16 , May 13, 2003
                    Stefan,

                    >I want to start by saying your web page has fantastic wood furniture.

                    Thanks! Compliments are always nice, and those from other woodworkers are
                    especially treasured.

                    >I've made a few knockdown trestle tables using slots and datos but
                    >they get loose quickly and wobble.

                    Yes.

                    > I believe you have a picture on
                    >your webpage of a trestle where the cross piece is aligned up and
                    >down and your pin passes through side to side.

                    That's the way my tripod trestles were made.

                    > Last night I was
                    >working on this wobble problem and cut a mortise for the pin to go
                    >top to bottom. The way it holds over a larger area of the leg and
                    >seems sturdier than the cross pin. The other thing I did was cut the
                    >pin's mortise at an angel to match the pins angle. This gave a
                    >larger area of contact inside the mortise and the leg stopped
                    >wobbling.

                    Yes, that's the way I make the bed rail-to-post joint. See the "beds" page
                    for a photo.

                    >The material I'm using is 7/8" maple. The cross piece is
                    >5" wide and the tenon is 3" wide x 4" long.

                    This is actually very close to the dimensions of the bed-rail joint! The
                    rails are about 7/8 thick, a little over 5" wide, the tenons are 3" wide,
                    and the posts are made from 8/4 stock so they are about 1-3/4" thick.

                    >I didn't cut a shoulder
                    >for the tenon because I felt the material is too thin.

                    (I think you mean you didn't cut _cheeks_; there are 1" shoulders on either
                    side of the tenon, right?) And it turns out to be unnecessary, I
                    think. With 7/8 wide stock the shoulders are sufficient, especially with
                    the power of that long wedge.

                    Basically what you describe is a very traditional way of making 'trestle
                    tables.' I've made them that way myself and it is definitely the best. I
                    think the vertically-wedged tenon is the strongest and best knockdown joint
                    there is.

                    However... the question is how to use that joint on the 'sawhorse' trestles
                    that we were originally discussing. (Apparently there is a terminology
                    problem; what we call a 'trestle table' does not use 'sawhorse trestles.' )

                    The problem I'm having with my tripod trestles isn't vertical wobbling,
                    it's side-to-side wobbling. Using a vertical wedge instead of a horizontal
                    pin might improve that a little; but I suspect a big part of my problem is
                    that the front pieces are only 1/2" thick, which means there isn't much
                    bearing surface between the tenon and the mortise. I'd like to rotate the
                    top stretcher, so it is flat/horizontal (which is the way the medieval ones
                    seem to have been done), but then there's no room for knockdown
                    joinery. (Maybe I need to post a photo showing the detail of this joint?)

                    What I think I need to do is make the front as an A-shape (two legs with a
                    horizontal stretcher) out of 6/4 stock so there is more depth to the
                    mortise, and maybe use 6/4 for the top stretcher as well so I can put wider
                    shoulders on the tenon. But all this drives the cost way up, and the
                    weight, too. I don't think I'd sell many of them.

                    Thanks for discussing this. Any more ideas?

                    Cheers,
                    Colin
                    Albion Works
                    Furniture and Accessories
                    For the Medievalist!
                    www.albionworks.net
                    www.albionworks.com
                  • Stefan von Kiel
                    Hello Colin, More thoughts on period style trestle tables... ... I agree. ... I ve been calling the sawhorse trestle a period tressle and the commonly seen
                    Message 9 of 16 , May 14, 2003
                      Hello Colin,

                      More thoughts on period style trestle tables...

                      >Basically what you describe is a very traditional way of making 'trestle
                      >tables.' I've made them that way myself and it is definitely the best. I
                      >think the vertically-wedged tenon is the strongest and best knockdown joint
                      >there is.

                      I agree.

                      >However... the question is how to use that joint on the 'sawhorse' trestles
                      >that we were originally discussing. (Apparently there is a terminology
                      >problem; what we call a 'trestle table' does not use 'sawhorse trestles.' )

                      I've been calling the "sawhorse trestle" a period tressle and the commonly
                      seen
                      trestle a standard trestle. I made a standard trestle out of 4/4 hickory
                      and use it
                      as a work table. It is heavy and very sturdy. If there is a better name
                      for the two
                      types of trestle tables, I'd like to know so I can call it by it's proper
                      name.

                      >The problem I'm having with my tripod trestles isn't vertical wobbling,
                      >it's side-to-side wobbling. Using a vertical wedge instead of a horizontal
                      >pin might improve that a little; but I suspect a big part of my problem is
                      >that the front pieces are only 1/2" thick, which means there isn't much
                      >bearing surface between the tenon and the mortise. I'd like to rotate the
                      >top stretcher, so it is flat/horizontal (which is the way the medieval ones
                      >seem to have been done), but then there's no room for knockdown joinery.
                      >(Maybe I need to post a photo showing the detail of this joint?)

                      I've seen drawings and illuminations with the horizontal stretcher but
                      couldn't
                      see a way to make it break down and be sturdy. Maybe if the legs had a
                      tenon
                      and went into a mortise in the horizontal stretcher, but no way to secure it
                      with a pin.

                      >What I think I need to do is make the front as an A-shape (two legs with a
                      >horizontal stretcher) out of 6/4 stock so there is more depth to the
                      >mortise, and maybe use 6/4 for the top stretcher as well so I can put wider
                      >shoulders on the tenon. But all this drives the cost way up, and the
                      >weight, too. I don't think I'd sell many of them.

                      For the front leg, I have tried using a triangle with the legs going up the
                      sides
                      and meeting at the top. I wasn't using a mortis/tenon joint but it would
                      have
                      worked well. Now I'm cutting a 15 degree angle on both parts of the leg for
                      a 30 degree spread. I don't make the top a point. I cut it back so the top
                      is
                      flat and about 2 " wide. I've used 30 degrees a few times and it seems
                      sturdy
                      enough.



                      Stefan von Kiel
                      Dwarven Axe Armoury
                      www.dwarvenaxe.com





                      ----Original Message Follows----
                      From: Tim Bray <tbray@...>
                      Reply-To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
                      To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: Re: [medievalsawdust] Re: 'sawhorse' trestle tables
                      Date: Tue, 13 May 2003 13:09:53 -0700

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