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Working On Rocking Chairs
The Steambending Process

The wood is placed in the steambox for between two and four hours depending on the species and the final use. In this case, the rocking chair back slats sit in a special support designed to allow steam circulation as well as a quick release when moving to the bending press. The intense heat and humidity soften the wood and make it pliable enough to form into a curve. The ultimate success depends on careful selection of the wood and experience in dealing with the varieties of wood grain. Depending on the wood species, in spite of all care and selection the percentage of breakage during the bending process can be quite high.

Quickly the pieces are removed from the steamer, placed in the press and are bent into shape. An old car jack provides the pressure.

Once the press has been fully tightened, the wood is left to set it's shape and dry for up to two weeks.

Shaping The Seats

After gluing grain matched planks and drilling the holes using a special template, the chair seats are cut to their rough shape on the bandsaw.

The initial carving of the seat begins using a small chainsaw. After this "roughing out" more traditional carving tools are used and finished by progressively finer grinding and sanding tools.

Turning Chair Legs On The Lathe

Working On The Back Slats

After first being cut to a rough outline on the bandsaw, parts are refined on the router using a template to ensure consistency.

Sanding is done as much as possible on a pneumatic drum sander. Each part will go through at least five stages of sanding and polishing before glue-up.

Final sorting is done to match the grain and
colour of the parts for a pleasing appearance.

View the finished product

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