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Comb-back chair spindles

#192843 by davebodner » Sun Aug 09, 2015 6:15 pm

About 20 years ago, my wife and I bought these comb-back chairs from a Rhode Island chair factory. They were a semi-custom variation on one of their standard models. Unfortunately, they've suffered from broken spindles from the get go.

left, right, and middle spindles.jpg
left, right, and middle spindles.jpg (78.59 KiB) Viewed 4230 times

You can see the left, right and middle spindles are lighter than the others. These are the ones I replaced. The originals broke where they were pinned into the top comb.

pinned joint (before trimming().jpg
pinned joint (before trimming().jpg (53.05 KiB) Viewed 4230 times

None of the other spindles broke because they're not pinned into the comb. They're loose in their holes.

I had 6 spindles to replace for my four chairs. Making the spindles was the challenge. I bought the straightest-grained ash I could find and roughed out octagonal blanks with the Shopsmith's table saw function. I chucked them into the Oneway lathe chuck, but, as many of you would predict, the spindle quickly got too whippy to turn without chattering. I made a quick attempt at a steady rest. The less said about that the better. :rolleyes:

Then I found this one online. http://www.novawoodturnersguild.com/docs/steadyrest.pdf. I mostly kept to the instructions, except instead of using rollerblade wheels, I used roller skate wheels, because that's what I already had in the back of the closet. The rollerblade wheels would've been better.

lathe steady.jpg
lathe steady.jpg (118.8 KiB) Viewed 4230 times

The steady rest worked as well enough to get the entire spindle down the largest finished diameter. But, I still got chatter while thinning out the upper half of the spindle. At that point, I finished up with a spokeshave using the Shopsmith as my shaving horse, turning the spindle by handle as needed. The lathe rest served as a backer to keep the spindle from bending away from the spokeshave.

Perhaps there were other solutions. I'm finished now, but I'm interested in what else I could've done.

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Re: Comb-back chair spindles

#192845 by charlese » Sun Aug 09, 2015 6:44 pm

Beautiful job, Dave :D !!!

Can't think of any other way to make these spindles. You did real good!!!

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Octogenarian's have an earned right to be a curmudgeon.
Chuck in Lancaster, CA

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Re: Comb-back chair spindles

#192846 by rjent » Sun Aug 09, 2015 6:51 pm

You guys amaze me. Outstanding solution and result! :cool:

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Dick

1965 Mark VII S/N 407684
1951 10 ER S/N ER 44570 -- Reborn 9/16/14
1950 10 ER S/N ER 33479 Reborn July 2016
1950 10 ER S/N ER 39671
1951 jigsaw
1951 !0 ER #3 in rebuild
500, Jointer, Bsaw, Bsander, Planer
2014 Mark 7 W/Lift assist - 14 4" Jointer - DC3300
And a plethora of small stuff .....


"The trouble with quotes on the Internet is that you can never know if they are genuine." - Benjamin Franklin

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Re: Comb-back chair spindles

#192847 by algale » Sun Aug 09, 2015 7:31 pm

Add me to the growing list of folks saying "great job"!

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Gale's Law: The bigger the woodworking project, the less the mistakes show in any photo taken far enough away to show the entire project!

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Re: Comb-back chair spindles

#192848 by BuckeyeDennis » Sun Aug 09, 2015 9:00 pm

I've never tried to turn anything so long and thin, but your post reminded me of a video I watched a while back. The presenter made wooden goblets with amazingly long thin stems. It's pretty slow to get going, but it just might have some techniques that would have made your job easier.

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Re: Comb-back chair spindles

#193010 by nuhobby » Sat Aug 15, 2015 4:14 am

This was an awesome thread, thanks for the ideas!

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Re: Comb-back chair spindles

#193016 by davebodner » Sat Aug 15, 2015 11:42 am

I enjoyed the video. He's a good demonstrator. And it's a good advertisement for the Easy Wood Tools, which are sold by Shopsmith.

I don't think his technique would scale to my problem, but I could be wrong. Thanks everyone for the feedback.

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Re: Comb-back chair spindles

#261277 by rpd » Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:36 am

davebodner wrote:Then I found this one online. http://www.novawoodturnersguild.com/docs/steadyrest.pdf. I mostly kept to the instructions, except instead of using rollerblade wheels, I used roller skate wheels, because that's what I already had in the back of the closet. The rollerblade wheels would've been better.



The link above no longer works, I guess they re organized their web page, but you can download the plans from this updated link. :)

http://www.novawoodturnersguild.com/hints/steadyrest.pdf

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Ron Dyck
==================================================================
10ER #23430, 10ER #84609, 10ER #94987,two SS A-34 jigsaws for 10ER.
1959 Mark 5 #356595 Greenie, SS Magna Jointer, SS planer, SS bandsaw, SS scroll saw (gray), DC3300,

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Re: Comb-back chair spindles

#261288 by masonsailor2 » Sun Jul 21, 2019 7:23 pm

I also have never tried turning anything that long and narrow. Very nice job on everything ! Those are really nice chairs.
Paul

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