Esherick Three Legged Stool

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Blog series by Tom updated 10-02-2020 01:52 PM 5 parts 4242 reads 8 comments total

Part 1: A Little Background on Esherick

09-27-2020 04:26 PM by Tom | 1 comment »

For those who are unfamiliar, Wharton Esherick was a sculptor who worked primarily in wood. As an artist, he started out as a painter, but eventually moved into wood sculpture. He applied he sculpting sentiment to the design of various furniture pieces. His ideas were quite novel at the time, working in the mid 20th century and many of his pieces can be considered mid-century modern. His home and workshop are located in the Philadelphia area and have been turned into a museum. During b...

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Part 2: Dimensions and Techniques

09-28-2020 11:17 AM by Tom | 1 comment »

Since I do not have a plan with dimensions and angles I decided to make a rough prototype. Prior to reading the article on the Esherick stool and Armstrong Linoleum, I was not sure about the height. I was also not sure about the leg angles, overall seat width or foot base. I am shooting for a tall version (about 26”) and I based a lot of the initial detalls of an example from an auction site:

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Part 3: Leg Turning and Seat Mortising

09-28-2020 07:10 PM by Tom | 2 comments »

Esherick often used contrasting woods for the leg assemblies and the seat. I will do the same on mine. For the legs and stretchers, I am using oak turning blanks from the home center. Yes, they are pricey, but they are clear, straight grain and you don’t need much wood for this project. For the seat, I am using a piece of wood that is a little bit special to me. When my uncle passed away, I found what appeared to me to be a 2” thick, large square blank of walnut in his work...

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Part 4: Stretchers Design and Joinery

09-30-2020 12:43 PM by Tom | 0 comments »

The Esherick stool has a simple stretcher shape that is easily turned on the lathe. They are joined into the legs at three different heights to avoid interference of the through mortises. Many of the regular stools that I studied used stop mortises on the stretchers, but most of the pictures for the Esherick stool seem to have through mortises with wedged tenons, so that is how I did mine. I checked the distance between the legs at the stretcher height and decided that I would turn them ...

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Part 5: Shaping the Seat and Assembly

10-02-2020 01:52 PM by Tom | 4 comments »

If you look at pictures of Esherick stools, you will notice that the seats have a graceful, organic shape. They also have the appearance of thinness. I am starting with a fairly thick seat blank, so I will try to thin it down a little bit and work the top and bottom to give a more thin appearance. Also, in general, Esherick’s stools appear to have some light hollowing of the seat area, but it is subtle. I start off by hollowing the seat area while I can clamp the seat in the bench...

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