furniture making

Indispensable Gragg Chair Tools – Detail Saws

While not necessarily unique to making Gragg chairs a variety of detail saws are certainly part of several processes in the making of one.

Probably the most peculiar of these is cutting the curved dadoes in the rear seat rail to accept the bentwood seat/back slat elements.  While I know that making the curved bottom configuration of the dado can be achieved in multiple ways perhaps my favorite is to use a Japanese veneer saw, which with its deeply curved cutting edge is very well suited for the task.  One problem I have encountered recently is that I cannot seem to find  source for the saw, so I will probably attempt to make some myself.

One option I have tried is to employ a Japanese mortising saw, with some success.  The problem with this saw is the exceedingly long neck which causes some flopping around of the head.  I’ll probably order another saw and move the handle up next to the head.

Without having the saw in the tool kit it is possible to cut the margins of the dado with a small Japanese detail saw and then excavate the curved bottom of the groove with a bevel-down bench chisel.  Actually I find myself reaching for the Irwin and Shark saws far more often than I first expected.  Clearly, this Irwin has had a tough life in my carpentry kit, I need to re-cut teeth on it.


Elsewhere on the chair there is the need to cut the shoulders of the half blind dovetails on both the front and rear seat rails,

and the tenons on the ends of the back slats to insert their tops into the underside of the crest rail, and to cut the tenons on the ends of the rungs.  For these tasks pretty much any fine back saw will work, I go back and forth between my custom specced Bad Axe (now in their inventory), my treasured old Sears backsaw I bought new in about 1970, and my Japanese dovetail saw.  My habit is to cut the half blind dovetails with the Japanese dovetail saw and all the teeny tenons with the Bad Axe.

Next time – rasps.