You may be wondering just when does the sculpting of this Sculpted Rocking Chair actually start? The answer is that is starts now!
Well, maybe after a quick commercial interruption…you’ll recall that in the last post I had glued the two perfectly good front legs together with a piece of two inch stock in between them. Well, of course they were not going to stay that way. So, I traced a curve onto the adder piece between the legs and then cut them apart on the band saw. The front legs will be cut and sculpted further at a later stage. Now that that was out of the way, I could turn my attention to the first efforts of sculpting on the chair – shaping the seat.
To start this process, I first layed out the outline of the seat area from my templates. Next, I carefully layed out the locations for some depth holes. I drilled these holes into the seat to help me judge when the sculpting had reached the desired depth. The rear holes were drilled at 3/4″, the center holes at 5/8″ and the two sets of front holes at 1/2″.
To do the rough shaping I used a coarse Kutzall donut-shaped disk in an angle grinder. This disk removed material very quickly and produced copious amounts of dust! However, if careful I was capable of fairly fine work with it. The key was to use slow, steady movements of the grinder in the direction against its rotation. I started the shaping at the rear of the seat, staying about 1/4″ away from my layout lines and gradually working toward the finished depth. When I was about 1/8″ away from the finished depth I moved to the front to work it to a similar level. The center keel of the seat had to be shaped manually as I went along. After I got the entire seat to within about 1/16″ of finished depth, I carefully used the grinder to shape up to my layout lines. The sequence of pictures below shows the process from start to finish.
The next step was to move on to sanding with the random orbit sander. I started this with 60 grit to even out the coarse surface left by the grinder and then moved on to 120 grit. I also used folded sandpaper and my thumb to ride the curved surface along the edge of the shaped seat leaving a crisp line along the top. In the picture, you can see how rough the surface was prior to sanding. A little more layout on the front of the seat, some filing and some sanding and I had contoured the front of the seat to allow the user’s legs to wrap nicely over the front edge of the seat.
Next up: Shaping the rear legs and arm rests