Shop Stool (Finished)

March 3, 2014 § 2 Comments

87-SS 004

More than a month ago now (January 25) Chris Wong organized a frenzied woodworking exercise of building a shop stool in a day (or two). Or in my case – a month. It didn’t actually take a month to build, but after realizing it wasn’t going to happen after about a day and a half I set it aside and just picked at it here and there while other things took precedent. I have nothing but respect for professional woodworkers who can stay focused and disciplined to complete projects in a timely manner. I suppose putting bread on the table is ample motivation. I actually tweeted during my build on that weekend. something I had never done before with a build. Tweeting is far quicker than live blogging because you can’t really write that much. Snap a photo, write a sentence, and keep going. You can check out the posts by going to my twitter feed here, (scroll down to January 25 and 26 for the stool tweets) and you can also see how I tend to neglect this form of social media. Then again, I have a grand total of 9 followers.

Anyway, as I said the stool is now done. There are loads of little mistakes, but it’s going to live in the shop so I’m the only one who will ever see them. There was a large loose knot on one of the upper stretchers that I decided to just knock out and make a hole. I have to say, I like the look. The seat and step are both cherry, everything else is CVG Douglas-fir. I think the two look nice together. The cherry pieces had some dark streaking that I oriented on the edges of both the seat and the step. No real fancy joinery here, just nails and some glue per the inspiration for the piece.

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87-SS 001

The top was a bit of an adventure. I wanted to have a saddle seat, but I lack the appropriate chairmaker’s tools to do that effectively. So I just took a big gouge and started to wail away. I sawed a few cross grain relief cuts with a handsaw to serve as depth guides. I sawed the middle one a little deep, so it *ahem* became a design detail. I wanted the seat to be textured and not glass smooth, so I continued to hit it with a gouge and a gooseneck scraper. For the most part it came out how I wanted. I went a little too deep in a few spots, and there is some ugly tearout here and there, but the seat is nice and comfortable. For a finish I just slapped on a few light coats of an oil/varnish blend and called it good.

87-SS 003

I’ve built a number of these little Chinese-inspired stools now, and each of them have used Tremont cut nails to join things together. I like cut nails for their look and holding power, but I’m starting to learn a few things about the different styles. I’ll try to compile my observations for a future post.

I want to thank Chris Wong for organizing this event. It grew larger and larger as more and more people decided to participate. He stepped up and organized sponsors, judges, prizes – it must have been a tremendous outlay of time on his part. For those who did finish their stool that weekend (obviously they all cheated), you can see a gallery of work here. And congrats to all the winners, including Neil Cronk, who took home the top prize. The winners can be seen here.


§ 2 Responses to Shop Stool (Finished)

  • As I was looking at this, the thought occured to me that you could put a drawer beneath the seat. This looks like it would a comfortable all day sit and work kind of seat.

    • Eric Bushèe says:

      Hi Ralph,

      Yes, you could put a drawer there. It would add some weight, though. The one thing about this design is that it makes a heavier stool than if just three or four skinny legs are used. Not unbearably heavy, but it takes a little more effort to move it around. I’ve built these out of walnut, oak, Douglas-fir, and cherry. I’m now starting to wonder if alder would be the appropriate wood to keep the weight down. The original ones from the museum were all made of pine. I think that wood was chosen mostly because it was readily available in that part of Oregon but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s lighter weight was also a consideration.


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