# Shop Stool Build Off.. Part 1

If you follow me on Twitter then you may already know..

A few weeks ago Chris Wong who is a wonderful woodworker from Vancouver, Canada..and I follow on Twitter. Asked if anyone was interested in building a stool for their workshop. He needed a new one and after a couple hours, I think there were three of us who had said "yeah great lets go for it.."

The idea was to have a Build Off, I think Chris had done this before with other projects. Design an item, then make it in a period of time, a weekend. When every type of professional to hobby woodworker could have a go..The weekend for the stool. 25~26 January 2014..

There was a prize.. someone would be the winner. I thought that just taking part and maybe I might be in with a chance of winning..Now that was fine for me just to be called the winner, and there are only a handful of guy's doing this..so yeah I'm in with a chance..(if I did win of course..much chance?..read on).

I then suggested we put up our own prizes, like a side bet as Chris calls it.. A tool from our own collection that is sent to the winner of the competition. Remember at this point there were only a handful of people doing it..

So..over the weeks some people have been posting blog entries about stool designs, the thought process behind height, width and loads of much more complicated things that I can remember and the build up to the weekend. Others have have been putting images of their stool on Twitter..Some are being drawn up on 3D CAD to get everything perfect..

Today is the Sunday before the event, so six days to go until next Saturday..There are now 75 people taking part in this build off..and over $2000 worth of sponsored prizes..Yes it's got that big..

So, to my stool.

I wanted to make a stool that looked cool, no waste of materials, with some sexy curves..I like some of the industrial early twentieth century stools and chairs used in factories, and offices.. but want a stool that would look cool in a modern kitchen or office, as I plan to make a short run of these beautiful stools..

Here is some of my inspiration,

Of the Four above, you can see lots of metal..where you see metal.. 
I will be making all of these parts in wood..

These are from one source click here 

This one is probably the the closest to what I will be making.

The timber of choice is..American White Oak..why ? because I have some in stock, it is straight grained, strong, used in a lot over here..

The last thing I want to show is a little more modern..but has some of the detail and the necessary parts to make my stool..

IKEA "Sveneiik" Piano Stool

As I type this..the first leg is laminated..and I'll be laminating the other two on the Friday before the 
the weekend..

I welcome your comments..and you can follow me on Twitter to see the progress.

All the best



Day one..

I knew that I had pushed some of the boundaries for me..and this was never going to be an easy build..

The legs are out of 1" White Oak planks, cut into thin strips to enable me to bend them to fit my former or mould. The first thing I had to do today was get the 3rd leg out of the cramps and run the three of them through the planer.. down to just over 20 mm, and that went great, they are starting to look really cool..

The next thing to do was to set up my big router in the router table, with my latest huge 1/2" Thumb Mould cutter

I wont be using it as shown, I'll be using it without the shoulders
on all four faces to create an ellipse

The stool is going to be viewed from all round, and I want it to perform as a shop stool but also create a talking point for visitors and clients.

So it's important to me that as you walk around it the section looks fluid..and it will.

Routing the Thumb Mould was a real pain, after I had cut the edge of one side it removed the area I needed to get the second cut, so i had to follow the bearing by eye, taking it down in a few cuts to stop it tearing out, the inner lower leg radius is down to 5" ..I lost a lot of time on this..with the couple of repairs. but hey ho..

Here's some of the de-lamination, whilst routing the Thumb Moulding on.

I then made the pattern for the two center boss's ..These are again in White Oak. around 5" diameter, they weren't too bad to make. Three notches around the outside, hole through the middle to be threaded and one to have a slight flat on the end grain to take my stamp.
The top Boss was made, this has a thread through it's centre, it will screwed to the underside of the seat and the threaded Beech spindle will be bonded into it.. It has the same Thumb mould around the underside and looks pretty cool already..

Marking up the boss' to make a pattern

There's a flat on one of the boss', just for my stamp..


I'm using an old table leg in Beech for the centre spindle. It's on the lathe now but I'll turn it first thing in the morning..

Two of the six joints in the legs to the Boss's are cut and I'll be doing the others tomorrow in the daylight.

Thanks for looking,



Day Two..

A bit of a late start today, got into the workshop around 9 am.. later than I wanted, but I had time to think about what was sorted, and what I needed to get done.
The first thing to do was to get the joints of the boss' all done and get them glued up to the legs. I had already got two done, so only four more to do. But there was one thing that I needed to check out..

I knew that I couldn't just put two boss's any old distance apart..they were both going to be joined by the threaded spindle. So when the positions were marked on the legs I had to ensure that the boss' were on the threaded spindle then around the correct distance apart. I chose around 125 mm, this is 25 mm more than an Ikea piano stool shown in Part 1. I wanted this extra 25 mm so that the threaded spindle would have less play, one of the issues with that stool..

So then I just had to mark on each leg from a datum already taken from the former. I'm sure engineers know what I'm up to and there's probably all sorts of theory and practice stuff behind it. But what I do know, is that if I hadn't done this, then I would have been in all sorts of trouble..

Here you can see my last 'dry fit'

Each leg could now be bonded into the boss' and I chose to do them one at a time. with a couple of shop made jigs..

Next.. to turn the spindle for the threaded part.. and it started  really well. I turned the old Beech table leg down to 32 mm (11/4"), took it off the lathe cut some thread, then put it back on the lathe if it needed just a little more off, which it did on a couple of occasions. But the 'fun' started half way down, I hit a patch of knots, only very small, tiny in fact..but it was enough to start the grain ripping out..after that I couldn't get it back on track...so now all I could do was use my sample piece that was being used for cramping up the legs and boss'.. I did expect problems.. but not with the things I've done lots of times before... oh well.

This meant that I could get on with turning the seat.

I had two choices with the seat, Sweet Chestnut that would compliment the White Oak or..A turning blank of Purpleheart that I had had for over 20 years, that I've been hanging on to until the time was right.. The sweet Chestnut was over 2" thick and I didn't want to waste just under half of this thickness.. whereas the Purpleheart was the correct diameter and thickness, even with Its couple of flaws. So onto the lathe it went...I didn't take much off, just rounded the edges and dished the top to around 6 mm (1/4"). That was enough.

Then it was just a case of getting the top boss, (made the day before) fixing it to the underside of the seat with three lovely old GKN  11/4" countersunk slotted screws. After assembling all the parts I gave it a coat of Danish Oil with an extra additive that accelerates the drying.

And here we have my stool.

It was fun at times, quiet stressful. The de-lamination was a pain and I now know why it happened, and would build my new understanding of why into my process of laminating, I'll try it out and if it makes all the difference then It was a great lesson learnt.

Gluing up seventeen strips in one go was mad, I did expect the de-lam to be much worse than it was, so I wasn't far off.

The threading..I'll have to look into it. But the tap box isn't very happy..after hitting those knots, might just be a sharpen up.

Contrasting colours look great..

There will be a Part 4..look out for it..there may even be parts 5,6 and 7..but for the minute..

I'm done

Hope you enjoyed

All the best


The voting has started

And you can have your say..

Over 40 stools to look at.. all different types..wonderful..

Voting has now closed

Here is a preview of the stools with there respected number..

If you single click on the pictures they will enlarge to view in one single row

So there you have them..

I'll be perfectly honest with you, there are 5 that I would welcome in my home..

All the best




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