As long as we're talkin' chairs, grain orientation question.

Okay, Jeff, you also stole my spot as being the first chair related post of the day. Anyway, here's my question; I am making a set of chairs from some mildly figured 8/4 curly cherry. The leg blanks are supposed to be 43 x 4 inches, 1&1/2 inch thick. I could save some lumber if I alternately invert the legs so their angles nest within each other. Would this be a good approach or would you expect to see unusualor inconsistant grain patterns within any chair? I thought I could do this and when I match up the legs I could pair them off according to which direction they were cut. My stock is wide enough so I could "bookmatch" each pair of legs - original thought when I purchased the lumber - but this seems wastful. These are to be in my house, not a project for anyone else, so I'm (or to be precise, my Wife) is the only one I have to please with the chairs.
All comments are welcome- thanks in advance, Marc
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marc rosen wrote:

Given the usual mild taper of chair legs, would you really save that much?
I'd be tempted to go for the best visual appeal, and not worry about saving a small amount of wood. With the amount of time invested in a typical woodworking project, a bit more material cost is often a good investment in the long run.
Chris
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Chris Friesen wrote:

I'm with Chris.
If well made, a piece can be enjoyed for many years. The extra wood involved will be long forgotten. The cutoffs could always be used in hidden places, on other projects, or even for jigs, so in reality, not that much is truly wasted.
For front or "featured" legs, I like to look for rift sawn stock that has a 45 degree grain when viewed from the end. This allows all four sides of the leg to have similar figure.
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I'd have to see the wood but the fact that it's curly cherry makes me think you could get away with that. The fact that it's mildly figured makes me think maybe not. In the end, it's a judgment call. Personally, I find you can work with off-setting inconsistencies to great effect on a single chair. Sets of chairs are another matter. In the end, it's like a commercial. You Make The Call.
Cheers, Jeff
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"marc rosen" wrote

Nope ... it's _you_ that has to be pleased over time. If there is one thing I've kicked myself time and time again for is not putting in the extra effort/dollars to get the best grain match possible.
There will be no end to that nagging inner voice if you do otherwise, particularly with chairs.
When it comes to material and you own projects, if it's worth doing, it's worth it to:
"Take the time, and spend money".
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 12/14/07
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Then it's agreed. He should use that curly for something else and buy some quartersawn for this project ;-)
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Well, the deed is done. I got them all laid out book matched style. I decided to go with the better looking product than try to minimize my wood consumption. Too late for the quartersawn, but thanks for the suggestion, Jeff. It looks like I might be able to get most of the short legs from the same blank as the long legs too, so each chair will have similar traits. Thanks for the suggestions, I appreciated them.
Marc
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