This tutorial will show you how to make a set of spindle back chairs and table. You will need:
One standard length of 3mm thick bass wood;
One standard length of 1mm thick bass wood;
Wood glue or PVA craft glue and Revell plastics glue;
Standard craft blade & assorted small carving blades;
Black hobby spray paint (for a fine finish) or black acrylic paint;
Three lengths of polystyrene plastic dowel (diameter 3/64” - 1.2 mm) found in hobby shops.
Custom stain - made of a mixture of teak wood stain, shellac and methylated spirits.
**Note: the measurements given below are for 1:24 scale. If you would like to make the table and chairs in 1:12, double the measurements (including the wood and dowel thicknesses).
Begin by cutting the pieces you will need for the table. These will include:
Table top from 3mm bass wood (56mm x 36mm).
Four table legs from 3mm bass wood (29mm long). Sand these round with a tapering end.
Two short edging pieces from 1mm bass wood (5mm x 30mm).
Two long edging pieces from 1mm bass wood (5mm x 49mm).
Sand all of these pieces well.
You can now stain all of the pieces. I use a mixture of shellac dissolved in methylated spirits and mixed with teak wood stain to get a deeper colour.
You will probably need to give the pieces about four coats. For a smoother finish you can sand between application of coats (always wait until the wood is totally dry before sanding).
Note: it is important to stain before assembly. This is because the wet stain will dissolve glue.
Once the pieces have dried thoroughly, and you are happy with the finish, glue them together with PVA wood glue, taking care to remove excess glue.
Be sure the table stands flat and secure. Sand the base of the legs if it a little bit wobbly, and you are done.
Spindle back chairs
Begin by cutting out the base of the chair from 3mm bass wood. Start with a square 20mm x 20mm. You will then need to sand the corners round and give it some contours as shown in the images.
You will then need to cut out and shape the back piece from 3mm basswood. This piece should measure 14mm x 3mm. It will need to be sanded to curve, and should be about 1mm thick when you are finished sanding it. If you feel confident, you can cut the back piece from 1mm thick and steam it to curve, but I find sanding is easier.
Once you have done this, cut seven pieces of plastic dowel to 28mm in length. attach the dowel to the back piece using a the plastics glue.
Attach the back and spindles to the base using plastics glue. This is tricky, but the plastics glue is fairly forgiving so you will be able to wiggle each spindle into the right place.
Cut and sand four legs so they taper at the bottom. These legs should be 18mm in length. Glue these in place using PVA glue.
Once you are happy with the shape and finish of the first chair you can go on and make the other three using the same process.
Tip: Make the first chair completely first before making the others. You will iron out the issues with the first chair and won’t waste time or materials.
Now you can spray paint your chairs black (or any colour you want!). I chose black because it is a common way these mid century chairs were finished.
Let the chairs dry thoroughly, and you’re done!