Monday, December 21, 2009

Busy busy busy... but not in the shop

So, I accepted some seasonal retail work as a short-term thing a few weeks ago. Then, a few days later, I got a call about a temp position working or a composite place in Woburn. The good news is that I have money coming in, and that the composite job is on the way to Lawrence, so it means I'll be spending time in the shop after work, once the retail thing dies off after Xmas.

The bad news? I've been working retail again. Sigh...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Chair 2, part 4

So, I went in the other day to work on the new chair, and got it more or less together, and I cut an improvised seat out of some plywood to see how the final result has come together. The verdict is, it's better than the last one, in some ways, but still not there.

I also did the chopping of the legs, and once again I cut too much off of the back legs. So, I had to block it up to a comfortable angle, and then cut the front legs. Not a major issue, but a hassle nonetheless. I also cut the tops of the back legs down, which helped, I think, but probably should have been done later. And, before I got in to do more final shaping, I made plugs, and plugged all of the screw holes. 

The placement of the back on this chair was overkill... I was going for "lower," went a bit too far. AND, the shape is all wrong.

The old chair (on the left) has a back that is concave on top. BUT, the back is too high. The new chair (on the right) has a convex back, that's too low. The essence of the problem is that I'm going for good lower back support, and not getting it. The back on the new chair does come up to support the back just under the rib cage, but because the top of the back is convex, only the top part really does any work. So, the back does get supported, but only on the spine itself, which isn't very comfortable. When I sat in the old chair, I was able to make a comparison, and get a better idea of what I'm going for. I want a wider area of contact that supports the back properly. So, chair 3 will have a back that's a compromise between chair 1 and 2. Here we go again.

Because I don't want to keep chasing this around ad nauseum, and turning wood willy nilly into one uncomfortable chair after the other, I'm altering the design, again, to make the back placement a little more adjustable in the next prototype. It took a little head-scratching to figure out how I would go about doing this, but one side benefit is that I think I've managed to conceive, in concept anyway, a sort of 'chair fitter,' that I could use, if and when I build it, to size people when I build custom chairs for them. My gut-level conjecture is that people vary more in leg and arm length than they do in torso length, and that there should be a design that will fit everyone, more or less. That said, I'm aware that I have no basis for this conjecture. So, the chair measuring thing, much like the foot size measuring thing at the shoe store, should be able to confirm the theory one way or another, and allow me to build chairs that will fit people better in the meantime... when I get to that stage of business development.

On the positive side, the splay of the arms is much more comfortable than the parallel arms on the last iteration. Sitting in the chair is pretty nice, even if leaning back in it is not.

So, for now, the remaining question is how far should I take this chair towards completion? As a prototype, it's taught me a lot. BUT, it's just a prototype, and it's not a very comfortable one, at that. I can sit in it, with the plywood seat.  The thinking for now is that I'll at least finish shaping it, and oil it up. But it's not good enough, I don't think, to spend the money making an upholstered cushion that won't add as much comfort as a supportive back would give.

But who knows... maybe I'll do it anyway, just for the practice.


In other good news, the lathe is back up and running again. I managed to finish the bowl I was working on, (with dubious results) and brought it home. I'm still not the greatest bowl maker, but it is nice to have small projects that are easily completed and fun to make.