With all the parts now essentially completed it was time to sand them down ready for pre-finishing. On a project like this it is far easier to finish the components before final assembly. The finish I used for this project was a homemade oil/varnish concoction. Taking advice from various online sources I mixed boiled linseed oil, polyurethane varnish and white spirit (mineral spirits in the US) in equal parts.
The finish was wiped on with a lint free cloth and left for one hour before wiping off the excess. I left it to cure overnight before applying the second coat, and repeated the process for a third.
The glue up happened in three stages. First came the seat. The bridle joints were glued as were the laps of the slats, but the slats were not glued to the frame, rather they were left to float. I used some thin shims to centre them in the frame during clamping. While the seat was still in the clamps, as per the plans, I reinforced the bridle joints with dowels. After the clamps were removed I rounds the corners of the seat frames with a couple of saw cuts before paring down with a wide chisel. I then touched up with some more oil and left the assembly overnight.
Once everything was dried I was able to install the hardware into the seat frame before moving on to the second stage of the glue up. This involved glueing the front legs and stretcher assembly to the seat assembly. This too was clamped for about an hour and then the third and final stage was to glue the front leg and seat back assembly. With the glue up complete I reinforced all the other joinery with dowels and put my mark on the under side of the seat. Finally I touched up with some more oil/varnish and once again left it overnight.
A final buffing with a clean rag and the project is complete.
Like I said, despite being a challenge for me, this has been a very enjoyable exercise, and on the whole I’m quite pleased with the results. I can think of a couple of things I might do differently if I were to make another one of these chairs, which is just as well since goatgirl like it so much she wants me to build another one, and a chess table to go in between! I might leave it for a little while…