“The Kerf Chair”

February 7, 2014

Is using a CNC machine in a woodshop cheating? I guess that depends on your definition of cheating when it comes to woodworking? After all some woodworkers would insist anything with a power cord definitely is cheating!

While all of you debate this topic, I thought I’d share this recent video I found on the Toolstoday YouTube channel. It’s titled “Kerf Chair, Designed by Boris Goldberg”.

According to the details:
“…the chair was CNC routed into 1/2″ Maple Plywood. The chair legs were routed from plywood using the nesting technique with an Amana Solid Carbide Spiral Flute Plunge Downcut Router Bit. Once the legs were glued together, the seat of the chair was created with a Solid Carbide Spiral Compression Router Bit, a Carbide Tipped Plunging Round-Over Router Bit and a Solid Carbide Mini Spiral Compression Router Bit.”

All I know is, I’m starting to think it’s time for Samantha to give up the other side of the basement so I can fit something like this into the workshop!

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  1. Kevin says:

    This goes to what I always say about most cnc guys, they see everything as a cnc problem. It would have been faster to do those kerfs on the table saw. Setting up the height of a roundover bit is so much easier in a free hand router. And if you’re doing all that just cut the shape out with a jig saw then. I guess after they’ve spent $25-$100k on the cnc you’re damn right they are going to use it for everything. Mine was $3k so I guess I’m immune to the effect.

    I would think all those exposed little sections between the kerfs would be really fragile (well, I know they are) and would be prone to breaking. Not to mention they wouldn’t be very comfortable to lean on. I like the thinking of taking something that is usually something that you hide and make it a feature, but it doesn’t seem suited to the application. Maybe they could make wedges from a contrasting wood that would fill the voids but still highlight the process. But that would be a pain to do, and you couldn’t really do that with the cnc so they would recoil in horror at the thought 😉

    • Matt says:

      I watched the video and was thinking how I could go about making the piece without a CNC. My first thought was to cut the kerfs on a tablesaw also and then go from there. I think you’re right, if you own a big expensive CNC, you want to use it for EVERYTHING!

  2. Bruce Garland says:

    Hi Matt, this is probably furniture design but not specially woodworking. At least in my opinion. I don’t currently own a CNC machine but plan one for this year. My plans for it are centered around engraving and lettering. I don’t see it as a dimensioning machine but rather art or decorative.


  3. Nik Brown says:

    Yea a CNC build is high on my list of shop projects to do this year. It will be handy for all sorts of things but even such things as batching out an entire set of dinning room chair legs will make the build worth it.

  4. Brian says:

    I see using a CNC as the next evolution of woodworking. I can’t imagine that 75 years ago, people would have looked at the circular saw and accepted it as a woodworking tool. I look at woodworking as the art of taking wood from its truest form (a tree) and making something (hopefully useful) out of it. If technology makes this easier by providing another tool in the CNC, then so be it.
    That said, I don’t think that I would ever own one because with the woodworking that I like to do, it is not needed.

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