A Double Bow Windsor Chair – Part Five

All has not been running smoothly in the Lemon Studio of late. I recently reported on the making and fitting of the crinoline stretcher, the bending of which didn’t cost me a second thought. However, this past week I have been engaged in the Sisyphean task of trying to bend a 60″ x 1-1/4″ x 7/8″ (152cm x 3.2cm x 2.8cm) arm bow for my chair from the same lump of ash that the stretcher was cut.

The difference is that the stretcher was relatively short and suitable bending stock was easily sourced from the straight grained end of the ash board. The arm bow on the other hand begins as more than twice the length of the stretcher and the weathered old piece of ash at hand unavoidably incorporates some wavy grain. This attractive figure was put to excellent use in making the Mulberry Corner Cabinet, but isn’t sufficiently straight or flexuous to be bent into an arm bow – even with the aid of copious steam and a supportive steel strap.

Several of my attempts at forming the arm bow came tantalisingly close to fruition, but each bow went agley in the final moments (fig.1).

Fig. 1. Failure at the point the grain runs out.

The material, time and effort are not a total loss though as a couple of the failed bows will give up their scatheless bends for the two bent arm supports (fig. 2).

Fig. 2. Intact bend will be reused.

Jack Plane

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About Jack Plane

Formerly from the UK, Jack is a retired antiques dealer and self-taught woodworker, now living in Australia.
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2 Responses to A Double Bow Windsor Chair – Part Five

  1. Adam says:

    I use strapping on the outside of the bend in order to protect it somewhat. Theoretically it shouldn’t matter, but in practice it helps a lot. I use old bandsaw blades.

    Like

    • Jack Plane says:

      I wouldn’t normally use a strap if bending riven green wood, but it’s essential when bending dry sawn wood. The ash I have currently isn’t really suitable for bending, that’s the issue.

      JP

      Like

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