A bandsaw is not crucial, but it is a big help. You can get by with a
smaller and less expensive saw than a $1000 14" saw (which is what I have).
The bandsaw makes short work of tenons and ripping materials.
Frank Klausz's video "Making Mortise and Tenon Joints" shows how to lay out
the joints and I think is excellent. He shows lofting and joints for a
chair. Jeff Millers book is a must have for a newbie chair maker.
I went to Homestead Heritage's School of Woodworking and took two of their
chairmaking classes (all hand work).
I have completed three rocking chairs using their techniques and have
started one for a daughter using tiger maple. I use both power and hand
tools for my chairs.
The wood can be expensive. The last chair was of quarter sawn white oak and
the wood cost over $400. The maple I bought for the current chair cost over
$500, but the chairs should last for generations.
I can post pictures if you want to see them. I don't do the Maloof style
chairs because it seems everyone making a chair does one.
Woodwork magazine ran a two issue article for a craftsman rocker (it is the
Waco chair). You can build the chair with their article.
My first major project was a dining room set. I had misgivings about making
the chairs, especially since I preferred lots of spindles and slats versus
simpler designs. I was mostly concerned about having the time and patience
to crank out two arm chairs and four side chairs. I'd recommend doing what I
did - make your table and buy the chairs. I bought some really nice chairs
from an unfinished furniture store at a reasonable price, then finished them
the same as the table. With the confidence and experience I gained from
making the table, I also made a buffet (with dovetailed drawers and raised
panel doors) and hutch in a much shorter time.
Always nice if you want to cut curves. But curves can be cut with
saber/jig saws too. They can also be bent in or laminated. Moreover,
chairs don't *have* to have curves.
Don't have to have slanted backs either. For example, the rear legs
can be vertical extending a few inches above the seat; the back can be
a separate slab or frame that is bolted to the rear legs so it can
swing using the rear of the seat as a stop. You could also use
leather/canvas/etc as a slingback ala director's chairs. Another way
is a fixed straight back upholstered to provide a slope.
So many ways, depends on what you want.
If in the end you find that you need to move more quickly into a new
set or you continue to be a little overwhelmed by chairmaking, and if
you want to make the table and if you like Queen Ann, you might
consider Adams Wood Products chair kits.
A close friend bought some Adams chair kits and they are well made,
very solid, and a savings over what you can buy in the store. You
also would be able to finish them the same as the table.
Not the same as making them but you do get to assemble, finish and the
results will be nice.
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