2 part form, 15 ply seat.

At this point in the bent plywood chair everything had been formed except for the seat. All of the other laminations had been done with cauls and clamps so I decided to forgo digging out the vacuum bag and clamp the seat panel as well. Pressed using 15 ply's of alternating grain maple veneer.



Time to strap

With the back legs / armrest and back of the chair pressed on the large original form it was time to sort out how to go about pressing the front legs. Faced with the same dilemma of trying to wrap veneer around the diameter of a pencil I looked for alternative ways to clamp around the curve from my original bends. The solution I came to was using a shim steel strap to create my clamping pressure around the outside of the tight radii. 


So as you can see above the shim steel strap is attached to my plywood clamping cauls. It wraps around the far end of the bordering cauls and into a bandsaw kerf which is then covered with a block to keep the strap from slipping.  

The 21 layers of veneer were cut to shape, the inside three layers were hot pipe bent around the bar of an F-clamp to prebend the tightest radii. 


So you can see in the pictures above the two clamps that are clamping down the length of the cauls on either side of the bend, these are tightened at the beginning of the glue up to pull the strap tight around the corners where the blocks don't cover the lamination.


Like most chairs it required a set of lefts and rights, so two forms with complimentary angles were needed. They turned out better than expected and I was amazed at how well the strap technique worked. On to the seat and then lots of clean up and shaping. 

It Lives

It's been close to year since I had to admit defeat with the Origami Chair. The time I had available to work on it had run out and there was a long list of previously designed commissioned work with fast approaching deadlines. 

I am fortunate to have very understanding clients and Jed is no exception. So, after a long delay, we are back Origami Chair, and we have come to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. 

That big form from last year did get used. We did attempt to press the back legs, back rest and arm rest as one complete panel, it didn't work. Maybe it was the expansion / contraction from the moisture in my glue with alternating grain, maybe it was a lack of pressure in certain parts of my form, the point of the matter is it failed. Love your experiments, calm your brain, move forward. 

Once back at the drawing board the decision was made to forgo the idea of a chair composed of just 2 panels (parts). A little bit of an adjustment to the original form and I was able to press the back legs, and arm rests separate from the larger back panel. Basically I would create what you see above in three pieces instead of just one. 

These are the parts I managed to make last year before having to move on. There was still a glimmer of hope that this could all work out. What came next was maybe the biggest personal wood bending breakthrough I have experienced. Laminating with a strap.