American Armchair


Active member
All, I am starting work on building two American Armchairs that I found in a Lester Margon book about 18 years ago while I was building two chairs out of Furniture of the Pilgrim Century by Wallace Nutting.
I will hopefully attach the drawing and need to get some opinions about a few items.
The drawing says the chair is Maple and Ash.............I have already started with the front legs being of maple and will be moving on to the rear which will also be of maple. I am not sure about the remainder? Should all of the rest be Ash or would it only be the back of the seat?
I also need to find out what way some of you would split or flatten the turnings in the back rail?
I am thinking that I might be able to turn them about 1/8 inch bigger than required and then carefully run them thru the band saw thereby getting 8 out of four turnings.................any comments?


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Split turnings are usually done by putting paper in the center joint. when done turning the joint will separate along the paper. If you use hide glue it will wash off easily after separating. I would guess the turnings are maple and the flat bent parts are ash. Make a sample and try it.
You might want to use a brown paper bag or something similar. It holds well and separates well.  Elmer white glue also releases easily.
Thank you; I never would have thought of that. Are there any things I should look out for while turning wood that is glued with paper in the joint? The turnings will be 1.25 inches square and about 16 inches long. I am also wondering about the splitting process...........would I just line up a chisel at one end and tap it?
I would probably us a cup rather than a cone center to prevent splitting the joint apart while turning. I would also make sure the spurs of the drive center are not in line with the joint for the same reason. Just tap a chisel  in there to get it started. Make a sample.
Thank you, I did think about the location of the drive spurs; I did not however think about the cup center. I took it off many years ago and switched to a ball bearing cone center. It may be a little while before the rest is turned and I get to those turnings, however I think I'm on the right track ( I like to plan ahead).
Thank you again for sharing your knowledge.

Fast Forward.........I got a live cup center and have made up blanks with hide glue and brown paper. At this point I have turned three of the four and have been able to split them fairly quickly........nice.
I am wondering about cleaning off the paper and glue.
Do I scrap,sand or use stripper?
Thanks for all the help so far.
I should be finishing all of the turnings soon; please bear with me I don't get the shop time I wish for.
I am wondering which type of bit is favored for drilling the mortises for the spindles.
I used a Fostner bit many years ago when doing similar chairs but was wondering about a spade bit or brad point?