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Re: [medievalsawdust] X-chairs Cheap!!

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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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