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Phil Lowe

Woodworker and Friend



As most of us know PhiL Lowe was a longtime SAPFM member, 2005 Cartouche Award recipient, teacher to countless students, mentor and friend to many of us.

It is with great honor and privilege that the Board of Directors at SAPFM is announcing the support of preserving the Phil Lowe drawing library .

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American Period Furniture Throughout the Decades


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Article Index

5) Once I cut the tenon, I fit it and then confirmed the width of the housing, so that the entire base of the splat fit 3mm into the shoe. The housing needs to be snug. That makes the plants on the splat look like they are growing out of the chair rail, which is what we want.

6) Once satisfied with the fit, the first of the four sides of the chair back was done. The other three sides needed to be addressed, one at a time. Either the left or right leg needs to be fitted next. Do not try doing the crest rail second – there is no reference surface to get the alignment correct.

I chose the right leg. Fit the splat into the shoe and clamp it. Install the chair rail in the leg. It will need to sit a bit proud, since the splat will hit the leg and hold the rail away, <photo 7>. Notice the gap between the chair rail and the leg. That must be eliminated. Mark the contact location. This is where the mortise needs to be cut. My splat is ~22 mm thick since much of it will be carved away. The connection to the leg needs to be strong, but not 22 mm thick. I cut some thickness off of the front or back of the splat at each connection to get a 15 mm thick tenon. Also, consider how the splat will fit into the chair leg. Cut the splat shape so that it will slide squarely into the leg, and also respect the grain of the splat. The picture of the splat in photo 7 does not reflect those comments. The splat tenons into the crest rail in <photo 9> have been squared for better insertion and strength.

7) I drilled out the mortise then used chisels to cut the edges to shape. Cutting the mortise deep is OK. Test fit and adjust as necessary until the chair rail is flush against the leg, <photo 8>. Any increase in the gap between the chair rail and the chair leg than was there with no splat in indicates that the splat is holding the rail off the leg. This was fiddly, but fitting the first one on each chair was the hardest.

Heller Fitting Asymmetrical Splat Photo 07Photo 7Heller Fitting Asymmetrical Splat Photo 08Photo 8

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New Articles

  • Fitting an Asymmetrical Splat Into an Oval Chair Back

    BY DAVE HELLER April 1, 2021 Updated: April 1, 2021 This article discusses a specific aspect of making a set of not-yet-completed Bing-style Art Nouveau dining room chairs of my own design. I will write an article for SAPFM on...

  • A Standup Davenport Computer Desk

     BY JOE PARKER April 1, 2021 Updated: April 1, 2021 The name "Davenport" comes from a reference in the records of an 18th-19th century English furniture maker Gillows. The reference, in about 1795, gives the original design and...

  • Remembering Phil Lowe: Craftsman, Mentor, Friend

    BY MICKEY CALLAHAN April 1, 2021 Updated April 1, 2021 It’s with a heavy heart that I write of the passing of one of America’s master period furniture makers, Phil Lowe. I’ve known Phil for over 30 years and was privileged to have...

  • Luthier's Friend To Thickness Small Part

    BY JEFF THOMPSON April 1, 2021 Updated April 1, 2021 There are number of ways one can thickness stringing and bindings. I’ve used a couple methods myself like on a drum sander, but mine is in a shed out back behind my shop...

  • Mirka Hand Sanding System

    BY BOB LANG April 1, 2021 Updated April 1, 2021 I can develop a pretty smooth surface with a hand plane and/or a scraper, but before finishing I sand to ensure that all the surfaces of a project are consistent. Each hand...

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