By

Building the Reitveld Deck Chair

Rietveld chairs on Swarthmore Campus

Rietveld chairs on Swarthmore Campus

My family fell in love with Reitveld chairs while my brother and his family were living in Swarthmore in Philly.  They were literally a block away from the wonderful Swarthmore College campus which features an exceptional arboretum and an entire campus filled with both beautiful and cool trees and plants.  It also features numerous cedar Reitveld chairs scattered around the campus which being in left in natural finish don’t stand out nearly as much as their collection of aderondac/mascoka chairs – including a giant one – on their main lawn.  But, while not as flashy as their aderondac cousins the Reitveld chairs are incredibly seductive once you allow your body to settle into the contours.  It just works with the human body – big or small, male or female it feel awesome.  It practically begs to have you settle down with a beverage – coffee, wine, beer or maybe a homemade soda – but certainly not a superficial store bought soda – and a book or in a circle of friends for reflecting or lively discussion.

Yet in-spite of how wonderfully this chair fits it is a wonderfully simple design – and that makes it a comparatively easy project to undertake and build.  That’s just what I did – that siren sound to the body was too much to resist!  Follow along over the next couple of posts and I’ll share with you how easy it is to build.

By

The small chainsaw – sized right for many jobs

The small chainsaw - sized right for many jobs

The small chainsaw – sized right for many jobs

Bigger is better right, well sorta but what guy doesn’t have a Tim the Tool Man Taylor prejudice to some extent?  After-all, we buy tools for CAPABILITY not cuteness.

Now when it comes to chainsaws you can get some pretty big and really nice saws.  I’ve got a couple of bigger chainsaws, but a few years ago some friends were packing up and moving to the west coast to retire and were selling most of their kit.  Among the stuff on offer was a 12″ Homelite chainsaw, an LX-30 Bandit – it was the smallest gas chainsaw the wife could find when her husband insisted on getting a saw after the Ice Storm.  It was rather telling that she didn’t get the appropriate protective gear including a really good set of chaps since a 12″ saw is still plenty powerful to cut your leg off, nor did she get a saw with a chain brake.  .In all fairness the chain brake probably isn’t all that necessary on a saw this light – especially since it is furnished with a low profile – low kickback chain.

It hadn’t been abused – or really even seen much use – and I was able to pick it up for a good price once I assured them that I wouldn’t become an accident statistic due to them selling me the saw.  Part of the good price was because I didn’t particularly think I would use a saw that small while they didn’t want to give the saw to anyone that might then behave irresponsibly with it.

If I’d know then just how much I would end up using the small chainsaw I might have been willing to pay more.

017This saw is at the front of the line of all of my chainsaws and is used maybe 90% of the time I reach for a saw partially because it is so easy to use such a light saw and partly because it sees so much use I am pretty sure it is gassed and oiled.

Now, granted if I am going to be dropping trees I am going to be reaching for a bigger saw.  But that is more the exception than the rule.  Most of the trees I have dropped recently have been at my brother’s place or at the cottage not at my home.   I do end up bucking up a lot of wood that folks have tossed to the curb – everything from six to eight inch diameter trunk sections to loads of smaller branches and limbs.  All of which are quickly cut to length for drying and then use in the wood fired pizza oven.

The saw also gets employed a fair amount as a cordless circular saw for rough carpentry work, for some things it is much more suited to the task – like cutting 6x6s but for others it is often simply more convenient to grab the saw and the chaps than it is to fetch the circular saw and then get the extension cords.

I wouldn’t want to have this as my only chainsaw – when the job calls for it there is really limited alternatives to power and bar length – but added to the set of tools available it stands our wonderfully.  So if the opportunity comes along for you to add one to you tool collection consider picking one up, for most folks I imagine that it will become a valuable addition to your tool mix.

 

 

By

Building the Wood Fired Pizza Oven – Laying out the material

With a stack of flattened stainless steel sheets my next task was to figure out dimensions for the pizza oven.

I started with dimensions for the commercial units I liked which was 27″ x 27″ for the interior dimension.  Recall that as an insulated stainless steel unit there is both an inner and outer. shell.

Laying out the template for the wood fired pizza oven.

Laying out the template for the wood fired pizza oven.

The standard fire bricks I am using are 9″ x 4 1/2″.  So three bricks placed long way wide gives 27″  and six bricks deep makes 27″.

To get a handle on what I could accomplish using the materials at hand I labeled each piece of stainless steel and measured them up and then set about with a pencil and pad of paper figuring out designs.

The oven shape is simple enough- half circles.  The formula for the circumference of a circle is 2 x 3.14 x radius, so the half circle shape amounted to half that or 3.14 x radius.

So, long story short,  the material I had to work with dictated that the inner shell have a diameter of 27″ wide by 22 1/2″ deep.

The outer shell would have a radius 3″ greater to provide a gap for insulation between the inner and outer shell.

Getting ready to cut out the templates with the jigsaw

Getting ready to cut out the templates with the jigsaw

To make layout work a bit easier I grabbed a piece of 3/4″ thick plywood to make a master pattern with.  To draw the half circle I picked a piece of aluminum flat from my scrap pile and drilled a bunch of 1/8″ holes in it.  The first near the end would serve as the pivot point – when placed over a finishing nail tapped into the plywood – and other holes were drilled 13.5″ and 16.5″ further out from this point – the inner and outer curves respectively.

I used a jigsaw to cut the plywood curve out.  This then served as the template for laying out the back inner wall, the back outer wall, and the front curved piece.  One thing to take not of is that I marked out the initial curve described by the template but then added another inch to use to make tabs to bend over to provide additional structural support as well as give a place to spot weld the backs and fronts to the flat outer pieces…

Stay tuned for the next steps as we work towards a  really cool pizza oven made from stainless steel scrap.