Bespoke corner pew seat - rake/angle problems/nightmares!

Wood working questions and answers in here please

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8daveyboy8
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Bespoke corner pew seat - rake/angle problems/nightmares!

Post by 8daveyboy8 » Mon Jan 07, 2019 3:33 pm

Hello everyone - I welcome anyone's assistance with a problem that is causing me massive amounts of brain ache!

We have just renovated our home (an old vicarage) and as a play to that theme, I wanted to have some pew seating around 3 walls of our hexagonal shaped dining room (see attached picture/sketch). Consequently I bought some salvaged pitch pine pew ends from a Baptist church, and contacted my local joiner, Steve, who said confidently "I know what to do"...

Promptly Steve, started pulling the pews apart and marking it up, and confidently took a Festool to them... With my help, we carted the first two pews into the dining room to see how they lined up, and then I realised he had made a massive mistake - he had forgotten to allow for the rake of the seat and the recline in the back of the pew, so consequently when offering up the 2 pews, the respective pew backs (and seat to an extent) did not meet. Steve had chopped up the pews as though the seat and seat back were at right angles with one another. When he realised the error of his ways he shrugged, scratched his head and was lost for the solution, so now I've been left with 3 pews in lots of pieces in my garage!

Now I turn to the internet for help, and if you can assist I will be forever in your debt!

I recognise it may not be straight forward (fitting the pew round 3 walls), but there must be a way to calculate the required cutting angle, taking into account the recline/rake of the back and seat - does anyone know? As I say, I will forever be in your debt, if you can give me a steer! Thank you in advance, and please do not hesitate to ask any questions? Cheers - Dave
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Re: Bespoke corner pew seat - rake/angle problems/nightmares

Post by dewaltdisney » Mon Jan 07, 2019 3:53 pm

I can understand the issue as it is compound mitres that have to take in three planes, the corners, the seat rake and the seat flat. I am sure this can be worked out by trigonometry and the individual parts cut to marry up. God knows how you do it though. Sorry for stating the bleedin' obvious.

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Re: Bespoke corner pew seat - rake/angle problems/nightmares

Post by Dave54 » Mon Jan 07, 2019 4:10 pm

There are lots of online calculators.
Just Google "compound mitre angle calculator" or similar.
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Re: Bespoke corner pew seat - rake/angle problems/nightmares

Post by Job and Knock » Mon Jan 07, 2019 4:28 pm

Either that or draw it out in 1/2 or 1/4 scale on cartridge paper the same way we used to do sheet metal projections in technical drawing. If you think about it you don't actually need all the angles (at least not if you intend to use a Festool and saw to make your cuts), what you need is the actual measurements. Do this sort of thing on site from time to time and never had to calculate an angle yet. BTW, it's always a bit tongue in right cheek with this sort of thing as angles on this old stuff tend to vary a degree or two leading to the need for minor adjustments
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Re: Bespoke corner pew seat - rake/angle problems/nightmares

Post by Grendel » Mon Jan 07, 2019 8:55 pm

One very crude way of getting the angles is to use hardboard templates and just mark and cut and recut if necessary until it fits . Crude as in that it doesn't involve scaling or complicated maths or even actually knowing what the angle is. Simple but effective . We always used templates , a few quids worth of ply or hardboard rather than chopping up expensive timbers orr whatever.
Iff I'm understanding this correctly the problem now is that the centre section has the wrong angles and if recut will be too short . The two end sections can in effect be shortened without problem. Simplest method could be to build a boxing behind the seats moving them off the wall a tad allowing the centre section to be recut.
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Re: Bespoke corner pew seat - rake/angle problems/nightmares

Post by 8daveyboy8 » Tue Jan 08, 2019 4:14 pm

Guys - massive thank you's all round:

dewaltdisney: spot on in your deductions - compound mitres all round!

Dave54: I will give this a proper go tonight, but my initial Google worries me that I am simply not technically competent enough to work it out!

Job and Knock: re "tongue in right cheek" you're absolutely right. These pews though good, well aged, wood (the sort you can't get any more), inevitably means it ain't going to be straight and inevitably will need some fettling, even if I were to get all the angles bob on...

Grendel: Last but not least - I think you have it. I can use the existing pew ends (which the seat and seat back ends slot into) as my profile for the ply/hardboard for each side, and then somehow work out the middle section (which may end up being a bit of a "bodge". But as you say, better to be bodging with ply, vs bodging with what remains of my pews!

Since I know the angle at which I need to cut the seat top at (i.e. half the angle between the two walls the seat is going to sit against), I had thought about using an angle rule, to project this seat angle, up onto the back of the pew. I think this would get close, but I don't think it'd be accurate as any tilt on the ruler would mean the projection would be out (possibly wildly out) so i think template is the only way to get close without taking a big risk and ending up with a load of firewood!

Thanks guys - really appreciate running through this with you all.
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Re: Bespoke corner pew seat - rake/angle problems/nightmares

Post by keithu » Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:26 pm

If you know the rake angle of the seat and the inclination of the back I'll have a go at working this out for you :scratch:
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Re: Bespoke corner pew seat - rake/angle problems/nightmares

Post by Dave54 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 6:19 pm

J & K and Grendel are right with their methods from a practical POV.
I've tried measuring angles, and while it helps sometimes knowing what the angle should be, you inevitably end up making adjustments.
While it's easy to say "This should be umpteen point six seven three degrees" ( :-P ) having the instruments to set that accurately, and getting the saw set to the same are a very different thing.
Forget about the scales marked on machines. The parallax error alone on most will be more than a degree.
Saws aren't really that accurate either, and I've ended up cutting pieces slightly over in the past, and then fitting with a very finely set, and freshly sharpened plane.
I wouldn't recommend this without experience though.
I used to make furniture, and I rarely found cuts off the saw good enough for anything.
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Re: Bespoke corner pew seat - rake/angle problems/nightmares

Post by Hitch » Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:47 pm

Have you got a verticle laser liner?

Stand the seats up as if they were sat against the wall, then project the line at the mitre angle (as if it were a normal flat mitre on a horizontal seat- i guess this is the angle Steve cut them at.)

The laser will project the cut line onto the angled portions in a straight plane. A bit of carfull sawing and a trim with a plane, and youll be away.

Bit of a cheat, but works. I use this method quite a bit for marking odd angles around awkward shapes. :thumbright:


Sounds like a bit of a nightmare job to get spot on though!
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Re: Bespoke corner pew seat - rake/angle problems/nightmares

Post by big-all » Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:24 am

i dont know what the problem is :dunno:
all you need is mitre saw with a perhaps 40" deep and 40" high capacity and cut at 22.5 or what ever degrees gives you a good fit :lol: :huray:
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