A Very Simple Jig for Boring Leg Holes in Windsor Chair Seats
Alright. All the really good guys use sliding bevels, mirrors, try-squares and any number of other arcane methods to help them bore holes in a Windsor seat plank. I’m a devotee of tradition. However, I’m not a slave to it. I’m working on a little Stick Windsor (practice chair) and decided that what was really important here was getting the thing put together with some semblance of accuracy. So I used the little boring jig pictured below. While I’d like to take credit for it, I cannot tell a lie. The idea came from Thomas Moser’s book, “Windsor Chairmaking”.
I actually put the entire assembly (with jig) in the vise, in a vertical position. This made boring the elm much easier. That said, I did work up more than a few beads of perspiration. Elm is tough. Of course that’s why it’s great for seat planks.
I decided to use cylindrical tenons turned on the lathe, for this chair. This means that I won’t need to do any taper reaming. If I were going to use a tapered type undercarriage on a “one off” project, I probably would not go to the bother of building the jigs (one front, one back). However, if I was doing multiples, the jigs would offer a significant advantage. The guide blocks are simply screwed to the supporting 2×4, so the same jig could be used for varying seat widths.
Two other thoughts in closing: First, If I were going to use the jig in a production basis, I’d make the guide blocks from something harder than Douglas Fir, hard maple or even Elm would hold up much better. (But the “DougFir” was here.) If I decided to become a complete “sell-out”, this same set up could be used with a drill motor and long stem spade bits by simply putting an appropriately sized spacer underneath the jig, leaving adequate clearance for the spade. Did I just say that? This is supposed to be a blog about working wood by hand! Well, I said it and I’m not going to take it back. You’ll see what I mean when you start cranking that brace and the bit starts to bite into that elm! Whew, is it tough!