This is my gargoyle chair. I love it. It is easily my favourite build for years. It lives in my workshop and I regularly just sit in it and laugh because it is so freaking satisfyingly weird :)
I made this it because I like weird stuff and it's kind of cool to chill out seated on your own creepy beastly throne. Everyone wants that, right? I love this chair so much.
Made from thrown away, scavenged and abandoned stuff
The best thing is that it was made entirely from discarded, scrapped and waste materials The main chair structure is made entirely from reclaimed oak, by rough jointing heavy baulks of wood together then carving it into the gargoyle figure you see. It's very solid.
The very comfortable padded leather upholstery is based on the shape of a crocodile's belly and all the leather and internal padding came from a thrown away sofa.
The total project budget was a very modest of about £20 ($25) for a few bits and pieces from my shed like a few screws and glue and I did buy French polish. The rest was scavenged and reclaimed form trashed and discarded stuff.
I like this sort of extreme recycling. I am always amazed at the quality of raw materials that are thrown away. Here's what you can do with it if you keep an eye out for good stuff in the rubbish.
What is covered here, that you might find useful
If, like me, you like weird, creepy or any other generally absurd stuff and you want to build something similar in wood, there's probably some technique in here that will be worth considering. I've tried to include as much depth of detail as possible for each method used so you should be able to recreate it or build upon it. Some steps are about simpler techniques than others, but none are especially difficult. This was a lengthy build. It required patience more than anything.
I've split the different processes into self-contained steps as far as possible, so if you only want to figure out one technique, you can see it all in one place. Roughly speaking these things are covered:
How to get excellent quality raw materials for free, from stuff people throw away...
- where to find quality scrap wood that can be salvaged and reclaimed for free
- how to disassemble a sofa to reclaim materials such as leather, foam, fluffy filler and wadding
How to work out the practical construction plan for a complex irregular design
- conceptualising and working up a structural design for a carved form
- sketching in 2D using drawing and 3D using rough DIY physical prototyping
Practically building a complex chair frame using standard and non-standard jointing methods
- heavy mortice and tenon joinery to create a base structure from which to carve the final shape
- connecting complicated shapes using custom pin and glue joint
- how to join up multiple blocks and layers of wood when making irregular forms
How to adapt carving techniques to tackle complicated forms in wood
- roughing out with hand rasps, power saws, power planers and sanders
- traditional hand-carving using chisels and gouges
- power carving using rotary rasp in the hand-held router and Dremel
Rough upholstery on a complex frame
- building up decorative panelling for the chair back and seat
- using old carpet off-cuts for strengthening the inside of the upholstery
- stuffing with recycled polyester fibre
- fitting irregular stuffed edge piping
- reinforcing the seat base with plywood and screws
- traditional home-made iron and vinegar wood staining for antiquing oak
- filling using wood plugs, and glue-and-sawdust paste
- progressive sanding passes from power sanders and to fine finishing using steel wool
- French Polishing