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Thread: Three-sided stools

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    Perth, Australia
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    Three-sided stools

    For the past 25 years, we have lived with these Ikea bench stools in our kitchen ...





    We do not eat much at the bench, but they get used. More recently Lynndy suggested that we replace them, and I thought that this would be a good excuse to build something inspired by Wharton Escherick, whose stools are just so organic and profound in their simplicity.





    The design was also influenced by a point made by Lynndy that a fixed-height footrest does not fit everyone. I thought about this and it occurred to me that the stretchers on the Escherick stools could form the basis of a slightly different design - make the seat three-sided, and one could choose the stretcher height to suit.


    The last requirement was that the wood must be Hard Maple, to match the kitchen I built a few years ago. I would have preferred a contrasting top, say in Walnut, but She Who Must Be Obeyed vetoed this. So ...








    I did manage to get contrasting wedges for the tenons passed her





    The stretchers ....





    One last one ...





    I'll am happy to post build photos if there is interest.


    Regards from Perth


    Derek

  2. #2
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    Very nice work. I like how the grain looks on the middle one in photo #4.
    Lee Schierer
    Captain USNR(Ret)

    My advice, comments and suggestions are free, but it costs money to run the site. If you found something of value here please give a little something back by becoming a contributor! Please Contribute

  3. #3
    Really like those Derek. Nice work!
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  4. #4
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    very nice work, like the simplicity and lines ot the cabinetry along with the contrast of the counter
    really like the minimal size of the kitchen, it would never fly in this house way too small per SWMBO
    Ron

  5. #5
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    Very nice. Those are outstandingly executed and perfect for the space and intended use!

    I'm also glad you posted an image of the Esherick example with the through-holes for the stretchers. While I see you didn't take that path for yours, it gives me something to think about for a small side table I'm working on and struggling with the angles for stretchers.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  6. #6
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    Jim, I have done through-mortices before. Lynndy wanted these stools clean-looking. I even sanded out the tool marks (although they remain underneath ). Stopped-mortices were the result.

    What are you planning for the side table?

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    Cincinnati, OH
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    Very nice shape and proportions and excellent craftmanship as usual.
    Rustic? Well, no. That was not my intention!

  8. #8
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    Nicely done. I like the look of them in the space better too ;-)
    I always forget . . . Is it the letter "S" or the letter "C" that is silent in the word scent?
    - Glenn (the second "N" is silent) Bradley

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Cohen View Post
    J
    What are you planning for the side table?
    Brian suggested the stepped stretchers and I like the look. I'm really struggling with the angles to-date for stopped mortises/holes, however. I have a way that will hopefully help me work that out. If it does, I'm golden. If not I may just do a tee-design for the stretchers and be done with it. I have very limited amount of the chestnut material and if I screw up...well... But that's a story for another thread which I will eventually post.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    First, love the stools. Thanks for posting.

    Second, the Esherick museum (aka, his home/studio) is 15 minutes from my house. Last year for Father's Day, my wife and kids surprised me with an appointment for a guided tour. It was a wonderful experience.

    Locals to PA... go.

    Derek... if you ever come over from AU, I'll treat :-) (PS - my current client work with CSL Behring has me talking to folks in Australia all the time, so I feel like I'm getting a little bit of a feel for the culture etc.)
    - Bob R.
    Collegeville PA (30 minutes west of Philly)

  11. #11
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    I've not made a large number of these stools, more like a half dozen, and so I hardly count as an expert here. There are others on the forums with so much more relevant experience.

    Past stools have used a scorp, pull shave and travishers to shape seats, and the legs were drilled with a brace and auger bit. Tenons and mortices were tapered with shop made reamers and tenon makers ...



    For this build I decided to go a different route, and combine power and hand tools. One reason was that the wood chosen was Hard Maple, which is a little more work to excavate than, say, a softwood such as Radiata Pine.

    The boards for the seats needed to be glued from two sections as the seats were 14" across, and the maximum I had was 12". I was reasonably successful in disguising this with two of the seats. The thickness of 1 1/2" could have been 1 1/4" and saved some shaving.

    The stools ended up 27 1/2" high, and the legs were shaped from 1 1/2" square x 31" long sections.

    Below are seats cut and the template used for both the outline and marking the position of the legs ...



    I made a simple fixture for production ripping the legs on the slider ...



    Later, I built a version of this with an adjustable parallel guide fence. This will rip any width and also taper legs.



    The plan was to drill the mortices on the drill press using a 24mm WoodOwl auger for this purpose (no leading screw). These are to be parallel-, not tapered mortices ...



    The legs are a 10 degree rake and, being three legs and arranged around essentially a circle, the resultant angle is simply a line to the centre.





    Not a lot of skill required here.

    More machine work, but some hand working coming in ...

    The seats were turned on the lathe. Just a shallow hollow required. The reason for doing it this way was to create an even hollow in what is a three-corned, but round seat ...



    While at it, rough turned the legs ..



    Finally, the hand tools take over. First it is the drawknife to rough out the tapers on the outside edges ...



    Then I had a fun time using different spokeshaves (I had not had a chance to use any in some months, so this was making up for lost time) ..



    The Stanley #84 and #85 is an amazing shave (Jim, I believe that you gave me these). These work on the same principle as a travisher: the toe has a slight (2-3 degree) taper, which enables the depth of cut to be altered with the angle it is held to the work piece. The shaving done here is largely end grain, and the other shave to shine was the Veritas LA.

    The hollowed seats were further shaped and smoothed with a travisher ...


  12. #12
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    Then back to shaves for shaping the sides. The HNT Gordon can shave into the grain, while the lower angle of the LN leaves a finer finish ...



    I smoothed the surfaces with a scraper ...



    ... however Lynndy disapproved and wanted a sanded finish, which is how it ended.

    There are a few gaps in the photos collected, such as the shaping of the legs. Not a lot here other than they taper from 25mm at the base, to 38mm at the swell, and then down to 30mm at the start of the tenon. The tenon is 24mm.

    Here is a shot of the three stools with legs inserted ...



    ... and another with one set of stretchers in place ...



    If anything, it is the fitting of the stretchers that was one of the more exacting parts of this build.

    Over-length stretchers. These are 25mm at the centre and will have 5/8" tenons ..



    The steps in fitting the stretchers were ..

    Firstly, I created a template for the positions of the legs, drawing these onto a sheet of MDF ...



    The lines joining the legs provided a guide for drilling.

    The height of the legs were marked. These were at 160mm, 190mm and 220mm. It is advisable to do these one set at a time, that is, drill the mortices, and insert the stretcher for one set of legs, then move to the next height. The reason: it is a little like fitting mitres - three corners are easy, but the last might require a little massaging. Insert the stretchers for two sets of legs, and then the last set can be marked accurately.





    Once the mortices are drilled (halfway), then the stretchers are measured for length. The ends of the stretchers can be turned exactly to 5/8". A great tool for this is the Sorby Sizing Tool Set (photo from Elia Bizzarri) ...



    When glueing up, the stretchers-into-legs must be inserted first. Only then is it possible to do the leg tenons-into-seat mortices. Once the seat goes on, the structure is triangulated, and it becomes incredibly rigid. The stretchers would be impossibly be come out unless the seat is removed.

    The last task is to level the legs ...



    .. and saw them off ...



    The stools were finished in one coat of Ubeaut Hard Shellac (for a little amber), and then three coats of General Finishes water-based poly were rubbed on. This finish is hard-wearing and does not yellow.



    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  13. #13
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    Oct 2008
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    Excellent work Derek! I love the ingenuity in offering multiple heights for the footrest snd having it drive design of the seat.

    I'm thinking this might get known as the Cohen stool...

    Edit: also deeply appreciate the detailed build documentation. I learn so much from you and others that provide this.
    Brian

    "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger or more complicated...it takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." - E.F. Schumacher

  14. #14
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    Interestingly, I drew up a jig like you show last week to hold the legs in position so I can work to measure properly for stepped stretchers....and then cut it on the CNC. The recesses work very nicely to hold things in place. Now I just have to do the deed after turning the real legs, etc., for my small table project. I'm glad to see that my mind is heading in the correct direction!
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  15. #15
    Very nice explanation of the build process. FWWs podcast (#237) mentioned Esherick, which got me thinking about building a version of his stool. Its very helpful to find your process and dimensions. The finished stools look great!

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