Little chairs – part one.

Some time ago, the baker at work asked me to make litle chairs for knitted rats from Thailand. Yes, I know, so far so ordinary. It’s the sort of thing people ask all the time.

This is one of the rats in question –

knittedmouseNot easily stable so a stool wouldn’t work. It had to be a chair, with arms, and a means to lead the tail out of the back. I only have to make two. I didn’t promise a table with cards and ashtray and whisky bottle but I’ll make a table anyway. It just doesn’t need to be ready in time.

Time is less flexible than I thought it would be. I have to be away for a few days next week because of a reason so I have to finish these to hand over on Monday. That should not be a problem.

It does mean, however, that I won’t have the model for Lesia ready in time. So I’ll just tell you now. It’s a monster truck made by combining a Mercedes Actros chassis with… a Trabant. It will have smokers inside. Who wants to donate to Lesia and get it when it’s done? Biggest donation gets it, every donation gets a signed book. Random books, sorry, unless you have a wonky table and want a particular book thickness. Just let me know by email (contact page) how much you donated and an address for the book/model.

Note that I might not be able to post until the week after next.

Okay, back to the little chairs. Photos come variously from the garage or the indoor workshop depending on how cold it was. Here is the starting material, cut to manageable lengths.

1_chairsThe top is plum tree wood, two years aged. The lower bundle is red dogwood, similarly aged. I’ll put that aside for now. I have a plan for it later.

The plum wood has lots of little side shoots that need to be cut off I could have just planed them into little planks but that’s too easy. Besides, rat chairs wouldn’t look like they came from IKEA. I needed to work on ‘rustic’ as a theme.

Taking off the side shoots would probably best be done with some delicate tiny tool from my toolbox. A Dremel with a saw blade, perhaps. I used this:

2_chairsInjuries were surprisingly minor and soon healed. I also learned not to get too close to the top of the stick. There is more wood than I need for this job.

I didn’t want to take the bark off completely, just enough to be sure there’d be no flaking later on. So coarse sandpaper was good enough to get to where I wanted. And, apart from slightly shortening one finger, no injuries to report.

3_chairsI needed about 30 inches in total. all of similar diameter. Here they are, with extra because I knew I’d break some…

4_chairsWhen it came to cutting parts to length I almost magically had enough sense to not use the circular saw. I used a little hacksaw with a wood blade.

5_chairsThis is where things started to go wrong. And a tad painful. I had planned proper mortice and tenon joints but plum wood wasn’t playing. It holds and holds and then just lets go. Injuries were minor but too frequent.

Then Sensible Brain Cell spoke up. ‘They only have to hold up knitted rats. You don’t have to make them to support any tonnage’.Why that brain cell waited so long I’ll never know. Possibly because I don’t usually listen.

Now the joins will be simple. Filed curves in the ends of the pieces with gold-plated pins drilled and glued through.

So here are all the bits, filed and ready to start putting together.

6_chairsYes, the file is broken. I broke it trying to open a tin of paint. Files aren’t very good at that. It stiull works though.

So ends part one. Part two will see the bits being assembled into something that looks a bit like a chair.






22 thoughts on “Little chairs – part one.

  1. You are mad.

    In the nicest possible way….

    But you have given me ideas for a project I have been thinking of for a long time…..


  2. It’s lovely to be able to ignore H&S bollocks – at work I have to abide by crap rules designed by control freaks for the terminally stupid – at home, not. So today I was using a circular saw table without guards or PPE (whatever TF that is) – jobs take half the time and I still have (most of) my fingers.


    • I’m a carpenter, and I have the good fortune to work on my own. So most of my tools, from the sliding table saw down to my pillar drills are devoid of any of those extraneous covers and guards, so beloved of the terminally risk-averse, but which serve only to obscure what I’m trying to do. To be honest, although I’m working just inches away from whirring blades that could remove my arm in a split-second, I think that all the ‘safety’ measures are in fact a hazard. Sort of along the lines of the principal that if you replaced seat belts, air bags etc in a car with a large spike in the centre of the steering wheel, there would a lot less motor accidents.


      • Youre right everybody I know with a table saw tosses the guards away in fact never even installed. I had on accident in 30 years when a drawer bottom out of 1/4 inch plywood shotback in a bind and nailed my mid arm muscle the one you flex. It laid it in half and looked like my arm was broken but xray showed no break.
        Then about 6 weeks later the dent in the muscle was gone and back to normal.

        stupid things happen all the time but stupider is putting things in the way that will cause a jam to start with like a flyback lock over the blade………I have a delta unisaw commercial brand from the 1960s I changed over from 3 phase and I got all the play prettys for it too……….mortice and tenon cutter extended saw guard etc etc………then I bought the chisel mortise and a 24 inch 1200 pound planer.

        Ive used it once in the last 3 years! I got a house full of furniture now and no real need for it anymore,hell I don’t have much need for any of it anymore unless somebody has another baby then thatll be 24 oak baby cradles Ive made in 20 years…………..


    • It’s a good one. Sharp and heavy. Knocked off those side shoots in a flash.
      Although I learned not to go too far up the stick early on. Almost, but not quite, in time…


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