Shop Stool

I made a stool for my shop with a piano style screw height adjustment. The basic plan was published  in Woodsmith #201. I made a few changes which I will describe in the post.

I made a stool for my shop with a piano style screw height adjustment. The basic plan was published in Woodsmith #201. I made a few changes which I will describe in the post.

I started on the legs. I changed the leg pattern to make a broader foot and a wider top where it attaches to the hub to increase the strength. I laid all four legs on a single piece of 5/4 red oak - nesting them to reduce waste, and allowing the dado that accepts the hub spline to be cut along one side of the board to be cut simultaneously for all four legs. I then detached the legs from the board one at a time on the bandsaw by just cutting along the outer side of the leg.

I started on the legs. I changed the leg pattern to make a broader foot and a wider top where it attaches to the hub to increase the strength. I laid all four legs on a single piece of 5/4 red oak – nesting them to reduce waste, and allowing the dado that accepts the hub spline to be cut along one side of the board to be cut simultaneously for all four legs. I then detached the legs from the board one at a time on the bandsaw.

After detaching a leg I immediately drilled a half 1-1/8 inch hole on the back side of the leg for the foot rest recess, then a 1/4 inch pilot hole was centered in the recess for attachment of the footrest ring. This hole had to be drilled before the finished leg shape could be completed on the bandsaw to allow the hole to drilled at the correct angle.

After detaching a leg I immediately drilled a 1/4 inch pilot hole for attachment of the footrest ring. This hole had to be drilled before the finished leg shape could be completed on the bandsaw to all the hole to drilled at the correct angle.

Splines are used in the stool to attach the legs to the hub and strengthen the segments of the 8 sided footrest blank. I used walnut to provide contrast with the oak. I resawed the walnut to end up with a 5/16 thick spline for both the Hub and the ring. If I make another, I will use a tougher wood - probably brazilian cherry or cocobollo.

Splines are used in the stool to attach the legs to the hub and strengthen the segments of the 8 sided footrest blank. I used walnut to provide contrast with the oak. I resawed the walnut to end up with a 5/16 thick spline for both the Hub and the ring. If I make another, I will use a tougher wood – probably brazilian cherry or cocobollo.

Here is what the footrail looks like after the glueup. You can see where the walnut splines stick through the dado cut in each end of the 8 segments, each angled at 22 1/2 degrees. I made the ring and legs thicker than specified in the plans (1 1/4 inches) to allow me to use a thicker spline.

Here is what the footrail looks like after the glueup. You can see where the walnut splines stick through the dado cut in each end of the 8 segments, each angled at 22 1/2 degrees. I made the ring and legs thicker than specified in the plans (1 1/4 inches) to allow me to use a thicker spline.

Here is the Hub with the walnut splines already glued in. The Hub is 4 inch x 4 inch - made of laminated red oak. The hole through the middle was drilled before cutting the dados for the splines. I drilled the hole from the top all the way through to ensure that any drift wouldn't adversely affect the two part screw mechanism. Being as careful as I could (checking square on the drill press table), I still ended up with about 1/8 inch of drift from top to bottom. That would have been too great an error if I had tried to drill from each side and meet in the middle.

Here is the Hub with the walnut splines already glued in. The Hub is 4 inch x 4 inch – made of laminated red oak. The hole through the middle was drilled before cutting the dados for the splines. I drilled the hole from the top all the way through to ensure that any drift wouldn’t adversely affect the two part screw mechanism. Being as careful as I could (checking square on the drill press table), I still ended up with about 1/8 inch of drift from top to bottom. That would have been too great an error if I had tried to drill from each side and meet in the middle.

I made the seat thicker than specified - 1-1/4 instead of 1 inch. Since it would be dished out in the center I wanted a little extra thickness for attachment to the top of the screw plate. I also didn't glue up a square but rather figured the lengths I would need to extend just past the perimeter of a 14 inch circle.

I made the seat thicker than specified – 1-1/4 instead of 1 inch. Since it would be dished out in the center I wanted a little extra thickness for attachment to the top of the screw plate. I also didn’t glue up a square but rather figured the lengths I would need to extend just past the perimeter of a 14 inch circle.

The plans called for making plywood 12 inch plywood rings and then attach veneer to the face of the plywood. Rather than do that, I just used leftover 5/4 oak scraps to construct  a beefier version with a square center large enough to accommodate  the seat plate on the top of the screw mechanism.

The plans called for making plywood 12 inch plywood rings and then attach veneer to the face of the plywood. Rather than do that, I just used leftover 5/4 oak scraps to construct a beefier version with a square center large enough to accommodate the seat plate on the top of the screw mechanism.

I then used my bandsaw circle cutting jig to cut the circles in the seat and sub-ring. I made a square hub that fit inside the sub-ring and the foot rest ring to allow the hollow rings to pivot on the center pin on the jig.

I then used my bandsaw circle cutting jig to cut the circles in the seat and sub-ring. I made a square hub that fit inside the sub-ring and the foot rest ring to allow the hollow rings to pivot on the jig.

I just my router table with a 1/2" round-over bit to shape the outside edges of the legs and to give the footrest ring its final shape. I finish sanded to 220 grit.

I just my router table with a 1/2″ round-over bit to shape the outside edges of the legs and to give the footrest ring its final shape. I finish sanded to 220 grit.

With the base pieces all sanded, I did some assembly. Applying glue to the dados in the legs, and clamping the footrest ring to the mating half round drilled to accept it in the leg. After the glue set up, I used the pilot holes pre-drilled in the legs to drill through the foot-ring and installed 1/4 inch carriage bolts. I had a bit of trouble during assembly with the glue setting up quickly on the Hub splines. If I do it again, I will glue each leg in 4 separate operations.  Allowing an hour of dry time between. I would clamp the leg to be glued in the vise and set the hub spline into the dado. Then use a shaped clamping caul that allows a bar clamp to exert adequate force to hold the joint together.

With the base pieces all sanded, I did some assembly. Applying glue to the dados in the legs, and clamping the footrest ring to the mating half round drilled to accept it in the leg. After the glue set up, I used the pilot holes pre-drilled in the legs to drill through the foot-ring and installed 1/4 inch carriage bolts. I had a bit of trouble during assembly with the glue setting up quickly on the Hub splines. If I do it again, I will glue each leg in 4 separate operations. Allowing an hour of dry time between. I would clamp the leg to be glued in the vise and set the hub spline into the dado. Then use a shaped clamping caul that allows a bar clamp to exert adequate force to hold the joint together.

Next it was time to do the seat sculpting. I used my portable circular saw to cut 1/4 inch deep kerfs in the center of the seat. Always aligning the blade to run through the center of seat, and keeps the rear and front edge of blade at least four inches from the perimeter of the seat. This gave me a depth gauge to go by when using a sweep gouge and mallet to remove the majority of the material. My orbital sander with 60 grit paper removed the gouge marks quickly. I then sanded with 80, 120, and 220 grit discs.

Next it was time to do the seat sculpting. I used my portable circular saw to cut 1/4 inch deep kerfs in the center of the seat. Always aligning the blade to run through the center of seat, and keeps the rear and front edge of blade at least four inches from the perimeter of the seat. This gave me a depth gauge to go by when using a sweep gouge and mallet to remove the majority of the material. My orbital sander with 60 grit paper removed the gouge marks quickly. I then sanded with 80, 120, and 220 grit discs.

I then applied Watco Danish Oil Finish. I find that the fruitwood shade really brings out the red hues in oak and doesn't affect the walnut color at all.

I then applied Watco Danish Oil Finish. I find that the fruitwood shade really brings out the red hues in oak and doesn’t affect the walnut color at all.

Now I just need to attach the steel nut flange to hub, and the screw base to the bottom of the seat. The stool has an adjustable height from 24 to 30 inches.

Now I just needed to attach the steel nut flange to hub, and the screw base to the bottom of the seat. The stool has an adjustable height from 24 to 30 inches.

Counter Stool

Finished Counter Stool made from 2x8 Yellow Pine construction lumber.

The sides are made from 2 x 8 yellow pine, planed to 1 1/8 inches thick and 28 inches long. The tenons at the top are 1 1/8 inch square, and 2 1/2 inches long. Two boards were edge jointed with two #20 biscuits aligned between the cutout sections. The finished sides are 14 inches wide at the bottom and 8 inches wide at the top before the tenons are made.

After sanding the sides, a design was drawn freehand on the outside of each side, and then a router with a V-bit was used to remove stock. Transtint dye mixed with denatured alcohol was used to color the design. After allowing to dry for two days, natural Watco Danish Oil was applied to protect the colors.

The top was made from two lengths of 2 x 10 yellow pine, planed and glued to a final size of 9 inches x 18 inches x 2 1/8 inch thick. The waste removed from the sides were used as a template to angle the sides to the bottom of the seat (about 5 degrees). The size and location of the bandsaw formed tenons on the sides was transferred to the bottom of the seat to locate the seat mortises. Notice the notches cut in angled templates to allow clamping to the seat.

The same side waste templates are placed under the seat when drilling a 1 1/8 inch hole in the seat with a forstner bit. Take care starting the bit, as the angled surface makes proper positioning a bit tricky.

A chisel guide, also created from another of the side waste pieces, is used to maintain the correct angle when chiseling out the waste around the round mortise hole to create the required square mortise.

The bottoms of the sides, and the top of the sides must be angled at about 5 degrees to allow the seat and feet to sit flat. This should be measured with bevel when the seat is first fitted on the sides. I used my scroll saw to remove the waste. Make sure you remove it from the correct surface of the side!
After ensuring that the seat mortise and tenons fit nicely, the top of the seat can be shaped to accommodate the derriere. I made a series of saw kerfs with a circular saw. The deepest spanning 2 inches at the center were 1/2 inch deep, followed by a 2 inch section on either side at 3/8 inch, then additional 1 inch spans at 1/4 inch, and finally 1/8 inch.

The saw kerfs provide visual reference when removing the waste with a bench chisel. The initial paring begins even with the outside of the mortises and continues toward the center until the saw kerfs disappear.

I next assembled the top and sides to layout the location of the cuts in the sides for the stretchers on each side. The top of the stretcher was position 17 inches down from the top of the stool. After marking this dimension, I used a straight edge that spanned both sides to mark the horizontal top of the stretcher. The shape of the end of the stretch locks the sides in place. It is created by measuring down the width of the stretcher stock less 1/4 inch on the outside of side and the width of the stretcher stock less 1/2 inches on the inside surface of the same side. Join the 2 marks with an angled line to complete the profile. Extend the lines on the face at right angles back along the sides to the thickness of the stretcher stock. I used my scroll saw to remove the waste from the sides.

After the stretcher cutouts were made with the scrollsaw, I reassembled the stool, and then positioned the stretcher blank over the cutouts on each side, and scribed their location on the blank. I then used the bandsaw to remove the waste. This method allows a more accurate fit, since it is easier to make precise cuts on the smaller stretcher stock, than on the more unwieldy sides.

The glue-up is the final assembly step. I first partially inserted the seat onto the sides, then glued and inserted the side stretchers. I then removed the top seat (the side stretchers hold the sides in place), and placed glue in the bottom half of the seat mortises, and around the tenons. I then reinserted the seat and used pipe clamps to draw it down snugly against the top of the sides. Note that it is much easier to use pipe clamps to do this with a tight fit, than trying to use bar clamps. After the seat is drawn down tight, I removed the pipe clamps and used bar clamps to prevent movement while using small bar clamps to pull the stretchers tightly into the side cutouts.

After letting the glue dry for a couple of hours, I used my Japanese pull saw to cut off the top of the tenons flush with the surface of the seat. I then used my random orbit sander to smooth the seat surface, starting at 80 grit and working up to 220. Take care to relieve the sides of the seat as well to facilitate easy getting on and off. I finished the seat with Watco Danish Oil Fruitwood. This gives an almost pinkish tone to finely sanded yellow pine.