Aster sofa delivered to upholstery! Also, frame construction, part 2

Aster Sofa in Tacoma

Aster takes a luxury ride via Zipcar to the upholstery studio

Earlier this week, I finished the walnut frame construction for Aster and delivered the assembled sofa for upholstery work. Trying out different foam samples got me very excited about how comfortable she’s going to be.

I’ll use the rest of this post to roughly document the frame build, but first a couple more pre-upholstery shots:

Aster sofa ready for upholstery

Aster sofa, just after pulling the clamps off from gluing

Aster sofa sits in the shop just after pulling the clamps off from gluing

The Aster frame is constructed from 3″ american black walnut, and assembled with a combination of mortise/tenon joints and finger joints. Previously, I posted about fitting the pieces that interface with the sheetmetal. Next, I mocked up the rest of the leg sections:

Aster arm mock up

Rough mock up of Aster sofa's left arm

Then it was time to start cutting some tenons. Last time, the photo showed me cutting a tenon on a homemade crosscut sled. That method was unfortunately necessary for the long cross-pieces due to the ceiling height in my shop. For the shorter arm and leg pieces, I was able to cut the tenons vertically using a table saw tenoning jig in combination with an 8″ dado blade:

cutting tenons

Using a dado set and tenoning jig for the Aster sofa frame

As before, I chiseled the mortises to size by hand after starting the hole with a spade bit. Many hours of chiseling later:

Aster sofa mortise and tenon joints

The rear leg meets arm rest and cross pieces with mortise and tenon joints

Fortunately, this series of joints came together very nicely.

Most of the rest of the joints in the sofa are finger joints. I also cut the fingers with the table saw tenoning jig.

armrest finger joints

First test fit of the armrest finger joints

Of course, some final hand work was required. Many hours of chiseling later:

legs test fit

Aster sits upside down with the frame joinery nearly complete

Two final mortise and tenons joints later, the bottom cross-piece was in place for a first, complete, dry test assembly:

just add sheetmetal

Aster walnut frame looking rather naked without her sheetmetal

That's better

Ahh, that's better

Finally, although the dry assembly was very sturdy due to the tight fitup of the joints, I thought it best to add some glue.

All clamped up

Aster frame, glued and clamped with sheetmetal attached for perfect fitup

Once the glue cured, I delivered the complete assembly to the upholstery studio. When they’ve finished their work, I’ll take the frame back into the shop for final sanding and finishing. In the meantime, it’s on to the next prototype!


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Fixed Future

Fixed is going to ICFF! I'll be posting here to document prototype construction and just generally getting to the show.

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