Bannister back chair – preliminaries I
Call me cautious, but before I jump into a new project, I like to practice the skills and techniques that are going to be used, if they’re not routine.
The Bannister back chair gets it name from the “halved” balusters, used as splats. These are usually made by “split” turning. When prepping stock for split turning, most turners will glue sections (half of the finished section thickness) together, separating them with “brown” or craft paper. Upon completion, the work piece is rived, yielding two finished “halves”. This process works well for items that are to be used as surface decorations. However, it is not unusual for some grain tearout to occur (especially with modern glues). This is not a problem if the inner surface won’t be exposed in its final use, but the inner surface is the “show” surface on bannister back chairs. Smoothing the show surface after riving will reduce the detail diameters, literally changing the shape of the baluster.
Another method is to cut the lengths somewhat longer than required and fasten them together using screws.
Care should be taken to insure that the inner faces are in complete contact (any minor warp to the inside). The drive spur should be positioned so it will not act as a wedge and a “cup” type center will be very helpful. The additional length may make dealing with deflection a bit more challenging, but the final product should be well worth the effort, especially in this application.
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