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Customizing and Custom Work
 

The Crest Rails

The crests are the hardest parts to find in the stock.  It is remarkable how little wood will meet the specifications for this part.  We look for them first and rarely find more crest rails in a quantity of wood than the number of chairs such a quantity will make.

We select the crest rails so that the growth rings are symmetrical to a horizontal centerline.

we select the crest rails so that the growth rings are symmetrical to a vertical centerline

Like most chair parts, the crest is rough cut at the bandsaw.

the crest is rough cut at the bandsaw
we laminate the crest rails  

We laminate the crest to obtain the necessary curvature. The crest rails of most chairs are too flat for comfort.

We have built many jigs, fixtures, and machines to facilitate the work on the crests.  Some examples:

We use a jig and the router to "true" the curves.

we use a jig and the router to "true" the curves
we use a jig to cut the mortises in the crest rail  

We use a jig to cut the mortises in the crest rail.  These curved surfaces and mortises are precisely produced so that the mortises lie along the curve equidistant from the edge  (within a tolerance of .010").

we use a machine we built to sand the concave curves  

We use a machine we built to sand the concave curves of the crest rail and other parts.  I thought I had invented it, but later found out that such machines are common in areas where furniture has traditionally been manufactured.  It's called, appropriately, a chair back sander. Note the "end protectors" on the crest.

The crest rail is further — much further — shaped, sculpted, and sanded.


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