Making a Conoid style chair.


My interpretation of George Nakashimas

iconic Conoid chair.

This chair is my interpretation of the Iconic and famous “Conoid” chair by the great George Nakashima.

Pic 1 is the first Conoid interpretation i made and the new parts for this project.

Pic 2  Is the seat dressed, jointed, Dominoed (homemade Blackwood) and ready for clamping.

Note, the timber is already tapered.

Pic 3– the bridal joins, marked out for the bottom of the legs and feet.

Pic- 4 shows the 12 deg rebate on the feet. The angle is set using the scrap pinned to the table saw sled.

Pic- 5 Shows the back leg on the cross cut sled ready to cut, I do not have a dado blade, so i use the side stops that are just pinned on.

Pic- 6 Shows the finished bridle join. It has to be very snug.

Pic- 7 shows the glued up seat. It has just had a quick belt sand, and is now ready to cut the housing for the bridle join, to attach to the legs

Pic- 8 Shows angled scrap pinned to the cross cut sled, thats used to cut the housing of the leg for the leg/seat bridle joint. Not the blade set to the correct height.

Pic- 9 Shows the completed cut.

Pic- 10 Shows my home made Domino gauge, marking the seat housing position.

Pic 11– Shows the seat up against the leg to mark the depth of the housing.

Pic- 12 Shows the seat up against the cross cut sled fence with the gauge setting the angle of the housing bottom (because of the 12deg leg angle, the seat is then parallel to the ground)
Behind the gauge shows the timber stop, to be positioned flush against the seat, keeping the angle snug for the cut.

Pic- 13 Shows the stop for the above cut being pinned. I use the digital gauge to make sure the stop is parallel to the fence.

The feet, and seat bridle joints are crucial to be a good, clean and reasonably tight fit.

This chair must be rigid and stable enough to sit in it safely when its only dry fitted without clamps or glue.

Pic- 14 Shows the seat snug againset the stop, and the blade raised for the accurate height setting.

Pic-15 Shows the completed cut.

Pic- 16 Shows the very snug (not to tight) seat/leg joint

Pic-17 Shows the completed housing on the seat. Also, the back of the seat has been cut to 12deg to follow the angle of the leg.

The tapered feet were bandsawn, and cleaned up with my Grandfathers trusty, and razor sharp No 5 Stanley :)

Pic- 18 Shows the top of the leg tenon. Its quicker to hand cut them than muck around with the table saw.

Pic- 19 Dry fit… So far so good:)

Pic- 20 Shows the top rail sitting on the tenons ready for a scribe around for the mortise.

Pic- 21 Shows the scribed line transferred to the top, then a 12mm hole drilled through ready to be clean up with the chisel.

The mortise will be a wedged through mortise, so it will be slightly over-cut at the top (angled) and about 1 – 1.5mm wider (just on the front is fine by me)

Pic- 22 Shows the top rail with mortise cut and dry fitted before shaping.

Pic- 23 Shows the shaped rail.

Note the small gap at the front of the tenon for expansion when the wedges are in.

Pic- 24 Shows the seat upside down, and the “top leg rail” clamped underneath.
The spacing for the 5 dowel rails are marked, and drilled with a 2mm bit.

When its un-clamped, the small hole on the seat and rail are the reference for the 12mm holes for the dowel slats. This is just a quick way to make sure the both holes are exactly positioned.

The first chair pictured, i used 10mm Jarrah dowel. This one i will use 12mm Tas-Oak and stain it, as sadly, my Jarrah dowel stock is all gone

Pic 25 After a lot of looking and re-positioning of a bit of scrap for the bottom rail (between the two bottom feet) I have settled with this position. The Original Conoid had the seat around 350mm from the ground and didnt need it but visually i prefer one. The angle is set, so the top of the rail and the back foot taper is the same.

Pic- 28 Shows the feet/legs glued up. I will then mortise into them for the rail that i have tenoned on the table saw. That will make it an incredibly strong join

Now shaping the seat.

Pic- 29 This is the template Im making to rout a crisp profile using a 12mm core bit, it shows the pencil outline on the seat that I then transferred via tracing paper to an off cut of chipboard.

Pic- 30 Shows a 74mm line parallel to the original pencil line (The distance between the edge of the router fence, and outside of the core bit on my Elu MOF 177e ( all routers will then have a different measurement) Then its carefully jig-sawed out, and spoke shaved and sanded smooth.

Its crucial NO lumps or bumps are on the template, as your router will follow them resulting in a wobbly routed cove cut.

Pic- 31 Shows the template on top of the seat with edges and stops in place. Note the rise at the front of the seat on the template, thats so the routed groove comes up out of the seat at the front.

Pic- 32 Shows the finished groove, Now its just a matter of removing the waste smoothly to the bottom of the grove, and contour the remainder so it has a slight tractor seat appearance.

Pic- 33 Shows the seat after being rough carved using the Arbortech, and smoothed using (my favorite) the sensational Festool 150/3 random orbital sander

Pic- 34 Shows the underside of the seat with a carved small V ready for smooth sanding.

Pic – 35 Shows the seat on a crate, so i can sit on it and feel for lumps and unevenness to sand/scrape out.

Pic – 36 Dry fit with two dowel splats so i know the leg/top rail mortise and tenon fits.

Note the bottom rail has been fitted. Everything is nice, so now its only the final glue up to take place.

Finished Chair,

Note the tenons protruding out of the leg/top rail, and are chamfered. It’s just a nice small visual touch, and also one dowel pin on the side of the seat into the leg.


 Posted by at 12:26 pm