Another freezing cold (but sunny) morning here in Waltham, Vermont. I rode in with my wife and son when she drove him to school this morning so that I could walk the two miles back home. Making furniture is a fairly physical occupation but I still do not get enough exercise. The 100 foot walk to the shop is just not enough even though I do sometimes run the distance.
My signature work is building Windsor chairs and benches of my design. Chair-making is hard work but I find it to be low stress and always satisfying. It is very sculptural. Soft lines and curves are sprung together to form a whole that is a combination of flexibility and stiffness. Beauty, comfort and a long, strong life is the goal for each chair design. Hand-tools are a big part of why making chairs is satisfying. Shaping parts with a hand-plane or spoke-shave so that they look right to the eye is what I am doing most days.
One reason for the strength of a well built Windsor chair is the wedged tenon joint. When done correctly this joint will remain tight through years and years of seasonal changes and daily sitting. The video below shows the wedge being hammered into the tenon at the top rail of my 6′ settee. (Click the high quality setting (while it is playing) in the right corner of the video to get a clearer view of things.)
The video below shows the cleaning up of the top rail after the joints are wedged.