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.

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