July: Chair Repairs and a Bad Back

We had our usual family holiday in the first week of July. It was an active holiday in Morzine and was great – until I jarred my back on the last day when e-mountain biking. Whilst my back was sore, I was still able to get into the workshop and the following week was spent repairing three chairs which had variously broken spindles and generally shoogly joints.

Taking them apart was more difficult than hoped because a previous repairer had decided to pin all of the joints to strengthen them. Pinning does make the joint less likely to come apart completely, but it does not stop them wiggling!

So, the joints were separated and cleaned and re-glued. I turned new spindles on the lathe from some of my own beech wood to match the shape of the broken spindles. My beech wood had some lovely grain and light spalting which, when given a finish with Osmo raw oil, was a good match to the colour of the original ‘lime-washed’ finish of the chairs.

At the end of that week, with the chairs finished, I decided to do some stretches to try to ease my sore back but I think it made things worse because on the next day I had the worst pain I have ever experienced – sciatica! – in my left leg. I was unable to walk for a week and then slowly over the next few weeks I was able to walk a little further each day.

(It would eventually prove to be eight weeks before I could walk pain-free in my leg but my planned summer of hill-walking was ruined. Last year it was ruined because of Covid in the summer holidays, so I am hoping that 2024 will be a much better year for hill-walking.)

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