A Sigh of Relief

I was finally ready this weekend to begin the undercarriage assembly for my chair. It was a bit nerve-wracking. There are several hours’ work in the leg and stretcher turnings, and I was in no mood to ruin them with a ham-fisted boring job.

It’s not at all intuitive to deduce the proper boring angles. There are four legs, three stretchers, and six joints that connect them all together. And there is precious little room for error. And even if you know the right angles, how do you ensure that you’re drilling at that precise angle?

It turns out that there is indeed a method to the apparent madness. I watched this video by Curtis Buchanan twice last week in preparation for this exercise.


At the heart of process is a very simple but very ingenious jig that holds your workpiece while you drill and lets you see the angle that you’re drilling with the help of a bevel gauge and a mirror.

Buchanan jig

I spent Saturday morning building my own version of the jig out of some cypress and poplar scraps.

Assembly 021

This is the view while you’re boring – you can just glance over to your left to line up your bit with the bevel gauge, which is set to the appropriate drilling angle.

Assembly 019

With the jig built, I was able to bore the legs quickly and accurately. When it was time for assembly, the joints went together snugly and without complaint.

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I wedged the legs through the top of the seat, trimmed them off, and finished scraping and sanding the seat.

Assembly 013

I did get a little overzealous while I was trimming the legs flush with a gouge – I ended up taking a chip out of the seat right beside the gutter! Luckily I was able to locate the miscreant chip and glue it back in place with a dab of superglue. The chip is just to the left of the leg-hole, but you’ll never see it again once this chair gets painted.

Assembly 018

The end is nigh.

Assembly 014


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