After finishing a prototype of what we had deemed the “hipster” coffee table- a three legged table of our own design, with a top the shape of a kidney bean (or deformed boomerang depending on who you asked)- we were feeling pretty good about our budding carpentry skills and were ready for our next challenge. Since we had just finished making a table, a chair seemed like the logical next step for us. Inspired by our recent success, we searched Yellawood for a design and quickly found the daytripper chair: a quirky, folding chair, with curved legs that didn’t didn't look overly complex, yet still difficult enough to pose a challenge. After successfully cutting out the curved design of our “hipster” table, we felt confident that we would be able to put our new curve cutting skills towards bringing a more complex design to life.
So without much planning, we dove head first into the project; armed with instructions and confidence, ready to take on a challenge. Little did we know that that confidence would soon be torn apart by the project’s surprising difficulty
It started off simple enough, once we had gotten all of the straight cuts out of the way, we timidly approached the curves. After carefully reading the instructions, We proceeded to make the great idea of not following them at all and improvising what would become, by far, the worst part of the project. While the instructions called for us to make the curves by bending a thin piece of wood between two nails, and then using a jig saw to cut along the curve, we decided to try things a different way.
We opted to use our class laser cutter to make perfect wooden templates. We laser cut out a piece that was the shape the legs were supposed to be. From there the plan was to trace the legs using the template we had cut, then cutting out the legs with a router, thinking it would give us greater precision than the other tools. The first roadblock came early in the process when we realized just how difficult it would be to cleanly route through such thick wood, so we were back to the jigsaw. And as if that wasn’t already bad enough, the little hope we had left began to dwindle when we noticed the jigsaw we were using-an old and abused piece of machinery that had definitely seen better days-was dying. There was another, better jigsaw we desperately wanted to use, but the battery that fit the better jigsaw was nowhere to be found. With the clock ticking we caved and used the lesser jigsaw, desperately cutting the rough outline that we had planned to shave down to perfection with the router.
After days of cutting with a tool that would make even the most jaded of safety inspectors cringe, we gave up on the jigsaw. The use of a burning hot saw that took our full body weight to push the across the wood had turned into a dangerous and trying process that we decided to just abandon. Infact, it’s was probably the best decision we had made so far. What we originally thought to be a precise, yet moderately challenging plan, had turned into a nightmare featuring a revolving door of different tools and saws. Even after discovering a working battery that and using the other jigsaw to complete our rough cut's, our legs were still blocky pieces of wood that hardly resembled the beautiful curves we had imagined. But we still had one glowing beacon of hope: the router. It would remove all the ugly wood that was defacing the legs we had poured our souls into, leaving us with beautiful legs that would make this all worth it.
Then, as our luck would have it, the router was no longer an option for us as we couldn’t find a bit to fit the machine or accommodate the odd dimensions of our wood. So with our plan now in complete ruins, we desperately searched for an alternative. And then it dawned on us. The band saw was what we needed all along, albeit if we had followed the instructions a working jigsaw could have foregone a lot of pain, but the band saw was exactly what we needed to save our week of work. So with a tangible plan in place we were finally able to move forward past our roadblock and on to the final stages of the design.
With our freshly cut chair legs and some rekindled hope, we began to furiously sand the legs until they were relatively proportional. At this point the frustrating process of working with a curved surface that slid all over the table while we attempted to measure and drill, felt like nothing compared to the troubles we already went through. With the end finally in sight, we drilled, screwed and glued all the pieces together. Even with our challenges apparent in our final design, the chips and misshapen edges really show the process behind our product. It may not be a perfect little chair, but hey, at least it has some character.