this prototype’s been sitting around my shop for about a year now, intended to eventually be a companion showpiece to some of those inlaid coffee tables posted earlier but I just couldn’t get the back to work right. It didn’t seem like a weak design compared to the doweled backs on the chairs that have been sitting around our, and before us my wife’s grandparents’, kitchen for decades just fine, but when you leaned back something was definitely moving too much for comfort. Examined it while I and others were sitting in it and couldn’t see where the joints were giving, the wood wasn’t bowing, but something was wrong. Shoved a fistful of screws in and near doubled the weight of the thing putting those big chunky reinforcement ribs over every possible weak point, one by one, no dice.

Couple days ago pulled it out of the junk pile and sat in it one more time for good measure – the only part I’d never thought to check was the plank with that big sliding dovetail in the seat, which was flexing so slightly you couldn’t see or feel it except where the movement translated to the top back. Slap a stretcher on the bottom and it’s rock solid. Now to work out a more artful version of that central joint and get rid of those stupid back ribs and we’re in business.

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