Sunday, August 17, 2014

Chairs, Skin on Frame and Lashed

One of my readers sent me some photos of chairs made in Mexico by traditional means.
Full view of the chair.
Lashed construction holds the parts together
Lashings hold uprights to the bottom ring.

He writes in part,
I recently got back from a trip to Mexico visiting my wife's family. When down there we saw a style of furniture construction which reminded me of skin on frame, in that it involves multiple relatively poor quality pieces of lumber lashed together in a way that makes it both strong enough to do it's job and is also very resilient to impacts. It seems to me that this chair and SOF (bicycle wheels as well) are so strong is because loads and impacts are dissipated by transferred them to multiple small, relatively weak, parts instead of concentrating them on one part that must be thus very strong. The type of furniture is called Equipale and was very common in the state of Jalisco. (I do not know if it is a regional style or a national one).
And I'm adding some photos of two chairs of ours that were falling apart because the glue was coming undone. These were chairs where the parts were held together with glued dowels.  The glue failed and the dowels pulled out of their mortises one evening at dinner while a friend of ours was sitting on one of these chairs.  The dowels were still stuck on one end and drilling them out would have been tricky so I just reassembled the parts and lashed around the joints.  The chairs now have some movement in them since the lashings don't make completely rigid joints, but overall, they are hanging together.
This isn't skin on frame technology, but it is lashed and doweled construction where lashings take the place of glue or screws  to hold parts together.
Here I reenforced each doweled joint with a lashing.  Even if the glue fails, the joints will not pull apart.  The string lashings function like ligaments in animal joints.
Here, my lashings pull all the legs toward the center.  This approach is less work than lashing each joint individually. Now that I look at this photo, I'm thinking that I should paint the lashing some color other than white.
Postscript: I first saw these two chairs at a neighbor's yard sale.  I didn't care enough for them to buy them but picked up some lamps.  Next morning the chairs sat out in the alley next to his dumpster so I grabbed them.  Painted one red and the other one blue and reupholstered the seats in yellow vinyl. Subsequently painted the blue chair orange.  I believe the chairs now have a few more decades of life in them.

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