For shaping a seat, this router jig rocks
Dishing a chair seat is traditionally performed with specialized hand tools. But a router and shop-built jig achieve the same results without the steep learning curve. Make the jig out of 3⁄4" stock. (We used Baltic birch plywood.) It consists of two assemblies: a base and a router carriage that slides on it [Drawing]. Together, these enable the router to shape arcs in two axes, creating an oblong, uniform recess in the seat.
Clamp the jig to your workbench and place the seat (G) between the guide and cross rails. Equip your router with a 3⁄4"-diameter, top-bearing pattern bit, with a 1" cutting length. Extend the bit 11⁄4" beyond the router baseplate. Starting with the router at the far right end of the carriage, turn the router on and push the carriage forward on the guide rails until it contacts the stops. Slide the router over in the carriage 3⁄4" and make a second pass. Continue to work across the width of the seat blank, making slightly overlapping passes [Photo K], until the router reaches the left end of the carriage.
After the first series of passes, lower the bit to a final depth of 11⁄2" and make a second series of passes.
Have a seat
1 From 1"-thick stock, glue up and cut to size blanks for the chair seats (G) [Drawing 5]. Don’t round the front edge, taper the sides, or cut the notches yet.
2 Using a router and shop-built jig, dish the seat blanks [For shaping a seat, this router jig rocks]. Finish-sand the dished area.
3 Place each seat on a chair frame, centering it from side to side. Transfer the inside edges of the back legs onto the seats [Photo L]. Transfer the notch layout lines around the edge of the seats. When laying out the depth of the notch, note that it is a bevel cut to accept the angle of the back leg [Photos M, N].
4 Handsaw the waste from the notches in the corners of the seats, fitting each between the back legs.
1 Retrieve the splats (E) and crest rails (F) and dry-assemble them with loose tenons. Place the crest rail in the notches at the top of the back legs (A). Transfer the seat height to the edge of the splat [Photo N]. At the tablesaw, bevel the end of the splat and taper the edges [Exploded View].
2 Finish-sand the splat and crest rail and glue the two together with a loose tenon.
3 Lay out the tapers on the sides of the seat blank and the curve on the front [Drawing 5].
Bandsaw the seat to shape, sand it smooth, and round over the edges [Exploded View].
4 Cut the corner blocks (H) and glue and screw them into the corners of the chair frame [Exploded View].
5 Drill counterbored screw holes in the back legs (A) and glue and screw the crest rail/splat assembly to the chair [Exploded View]. Plug the screw holes.
6 Apply a finish to the seat and chair frame. (We used a dull-sheen, pre-catalyzed lacquer.) After the finish dries, attach the seat to the frame through the corner blocks. Drive screws at an angle through the bottom of the seat into the splat to secure it.
Make the table
1 From 11⁄2"-thick stock, cut the blanks for the table legs (I) [Materials List]. Make a full-size template of the leg including the hole [Drawing 6] and trace the leg profile onto the blanks.
2 Just as with the chair legs, bandsaw and flush-trim the table legs. Drill the hole through each one before removing the template [Photo O].
3 At the tablesaw, notch the inside edge of each leg while it rests on an angled support block [Drawing 6, Photo P].
4 Drill a hole through the center of the notch, connecting it to the larger hole [Table Exploded View]. Drill a shallow hole on the top of each leg for a figure-8 fastener. Finish-sand the legs and round over the outside edges and bottoms.
Lay out the yoke (J) on a piece of 11⁄2"thick
5 stock [Drawing 7]. Bandsaw it to shape and sand it smooth. Drill a centered pilot hole on the end of
6 each arm of the yoke and install hanger bolts [Exploded View]. Glue the legs to the yoke and secure them with washers and lock nuts.
7 Glue up a blank for the top (K) and bandsaw it to shape.
8 Sand the top smooth and round over the edges. Apply a finish to the top and base.
9 With the finish dry, attach the top to the base using figure-8 fasteners. Press metal snap-in plugs [Source] into the holes in the legs. Now slide the chairs up to the table and take a seat. You’ve earned it.