Handy Stool For You

I designed a new one to embrace more modern concepts and unite them with the hand tools I use which of course are those I’ve relied on for well over half a century. I actually made three of them in quick succession to perfect the ideas for you to follow. Oak, ash, pine and sycamore came in to play too. The concept is simple but the twists are different and so we can all learn together for free online with woodworkingmasterclasses.com. You will need to sign in but it is so well worth it and if you really like it then please get your friends on board and join us here

Aside from the valleyed seat, wane to the edges, the gap and the handle scallops, the legs are tapered octagonals that pass through an undercarriage bearer into and through the seat itself. It’s maybe a days work but the exciting aspect are the bent and laminated cross-ply bearers. Super strong of course but more than that, you can use up skinny slim offcuts to make them as they are so small or of course you can rip them, plane them and enjoy the exercise.

If this is indeed a first lamination project for you it is a great starter piece. Once you have laminated the bearers, left them overnight for the glue to fully dry and cure, turn them over, pinnacle point uppermost and stand on the point. You’ll be surprised at the resilience of the lamination. I know, some will say why not just cut the vee on the bandsaw. That’s for the unadventuresome. Leave them to their own and join us a laminating adventure. Think white water rafting!

21 thoughts on “Handy Stool For You”

  1. Do you see any reason not to cut a vee out of the top and bottom of the caul to do both pieces at once?

  2. Thanks Paul. I’m looking forward to this series. I watched the first episode over the weekend and enjoyed it.

    I’m curious about the tapered octagons and how you will be making them. I recall reading on the internet that one can make a simple marking jig with two pins and two dowels affixed (certain relative distances are required) that allows one to quickly scribe octagon lines. Or, if there is some simple divider trick one can do on the end.

    Either way, it will be a fun series to watch and do. One can always find uses for stools in the home and shop.

    1. Yes, tapered masts are made this way. You use a Spar Gauge. Two pegs, in a short batten, set the thickness of the (initially square section) mast at its widest apart, and a pair of sharp pins (or pencil stubs) between them set equal to the widest facet to be marked. (The ratio between the width of the facet and the part of the square from which it is planed is 1.41:1). Then with the pegs and batten straddling the mast you draw the batten down the taper, twisting the batten to keep the pegs against the mast. This automatically tapers the marked facet. As Paul suggests, not really worth doing for 14″. 14 feet or more is another matter.

  3. I think that may be the two “V´s” won´t come out exactly the same and the two bearers will be different from each other…

    1. So, I think what you are saying is that I am perhaps advising people to make something using a flawed concept resulting in two mismatched components. Is that right?

  4. Hi Paul,

    I think Carlo commented on Bob‘s initial question if it was possible to do both laminations at once. He wasn‘t questioning your approach.

  5. Paul, do you see any problem turning the legs rather than shaping them with a Spokeshave (looking for an excuse to use my lathe…:)).

    Once again, you’ve made something that make me want to do to the Shed and see what I can do. Lovely stuff.

  6. I was asking because I have a 3″x6′ piece of wood for the caul and thought there is plenty of wood to do both at the same time. I just don’t know if I am missing something.

  7. Just watching Paul’s glue up slip and slide I think I would stick to doing one lamination in each caul clamping. Paul handled it with ease but It made me nervous just watching it. Aligning 6 layers of lamination and 3 caul pieces doesn’t seem worth the risk for what time it would save.

  8. I glued up the two laminations at the same time and I won’t do that again. It took a tremendous clamping force and was very stressful to get everything lined up before the glue started to set. I can cut the block in half and do them separately. Live and learn.

  9. Carlo, what do you mean by “exactly the same”?
    You ‘ll never have to replace one with the other, they don’t need to be interchangeable.
    As long as they seem to be the same it won’t affect the stool integrity, functionality and look.

    1. Whereas that is true, a ‘straw man‘ if you will, they actually do come out exactly the same with no noticeable difference.

  10. I bet we do 1 wider lamination and rip it lengthwise, thus insuring uniform and matching pieces… but I guess we will just have to wait and see! Love little practical projects like this.

  11. I am pretty sure one can achieve very tight tolerance with wood lamination.
    It depends of the material used and of the gluing jig. You certainly have made your cuts for the jig the same on each side. But every one of us don’t have the same skill as yours. Then flipping one side of the caul might make a difference if it is not symmetrical.
    If you search for a video named : “Building the Chris Maene Straight Strung Concert Grand Piano – ENG” you will see the lamination of the outside rim of a concert grand piano (2.83 m long). So the lamination must be about 8 m long.
    Taking into account the price of such a piano (200 000 – 300 000 EUR or more ?) it must certainly be made with tight tolerances.

  12. I absolutely LOVE this design, THANK YOU. I am in need of a shop stool and had your earlier one on my to do list. Though it says a day’s work, I’m guessing for me its more like a couple weekends. I have a question though, would this be adaptable to make bar height? Need a couple nicer ones for my kitchen counter top eating area, currently have some cheap metal ones as anything nice were way too expensive.

  13. Thanks for the video series Paul. I enjoyed making the stool and it sits proudly on my deck. I know that you said it was a garden bench but it looks so nice, it will be Spring before I can even think about getting it out into the dirt.
    I stained the legs of my version a dark ebony using the old formula of vinegar and iron filings.

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