Greek inspired shop stool - (from travels to Greece).

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Blog entry by mafe posted 03-26-2019 01:03 PM 449 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Greek inspired stool
from travels to Greece

Here you see the little simple stool in use, it has become my favorite work stool, since it is small and light and yet sturdy. (On this picture I use it while restoring the windows at my workshop).

I was still a teenager, the first time I visited Greece, or to be more precise one of the Greek islands, Samos is the islands name. Later I have traveled several times to the Greek islands and visited a handful, some of them more than once. Besides the wonderful weather, beautiful ocean to dive in, excellent food, especially fresh sea food, these islands also have beautiful architecture, most of them the one we know from the postcards, with the white houses and blue doors. But there are also one more thing that always caught my eyes, the Greek chairs, today you often see them painted blue at the restaurants, but I consider that a sin, since they are so beautiful, when they are just out of the carpenters workshop, in lightly sanded wood. At one of my first travels, I had the pleasure to see the local carpenter making these chairs, I think he enjoyed this young boy, who was curious and made drawings of every detail he could see. At least he allowed me to hang around a few hours and see what he was doing and he was putting the chairs together on this day, a hole bunch of them. What fascinated me besides the beauty of the chair, due to it’s simplicity, was, that it was just put together loosely and then with metal wire it was all tied up and sturdy held together. Like this the chairs he made was quite thin in dimensions.

Found this picture online of a traditional chair, it’s the one on the right, where the one on left is a less lucky copy…
Notice how elegantly the back legs curves on the old chair, so they meet up with the curve of the back. Also the metal wire, that hold it together and allow for tightening it up after years of use.
Picture from web.

The chairs was different from island to island, each carpenter had his way, his detail for the back and how to make the seat. Most of the versions you see today are quite heavy and with a straw seat.
(Picture from web).

Let’s start at the beginning…
Some time ago, I found some pallet wood, from a kitchen a neighbor got delivered and brought it to the shop.
One day looking at this, the idea of a three legged Greek chair came up, since I needed a low shop stool.
So I cut of a piece of this inch board and draw a circle to the edge.

Cut it at the band saw.
(Yes I took a rough piece, since I wanted a rough chair).

Had some old studs left over from a partition wall, then set the table saw to the smaller side.

And squared them up.

Then cut on the diagonal, by setting the saw to 45° and turning them.

Less is plenty…

Drew a circle and divided it into three.
(Making sure the points will not be at the crack).

Time for honing up the beautiful old taper.

It will never be a new one, and I will leave the chip off.

But sharp it is now – so we will see…

Time to power up the drill with some beer or coffee.
I love to use these old tools and imagine the hands that have used them before.

Ok, I should have sharpened the drill bit also, but it’s fair and I had decided it should be a rough prototype, so this it will be. ;-D

I also took some of the thickness of the sides, with a spoke shave and a draw knife, just to make it look more elegant.

Tapered the legs by hand, with a draw knife, I do like this Swedish double handled knife, they are simple and you have a lot of control.

Finishing up with a spoke shave.

Then sawing a slid at the tapered end.

And banging in the legs with a hammer.

Made some wedges of contrasting hard wood, to be able to give them a good beating and also for showing how it’s made. (Gave them a wee glue, but regretted after, since I had decided on no glue).

Sawing the leg ends off.

Finally we are at the fun part, making the steel wire reinforcement. This is the principal from the Greek chairs that I wanted to use. Like this the wire will hold the legs together, when they are under pressure and so the seat can be quite thin and the chair still strong.
I just drilled two holes in each leg and ran the wire through.

Simple and unsharp…


Now it’s just to tighten up the ends.

Ok, that could have been done more elegant…

But it works!

Branded and named it…

Tadaaaaaaa… we got a chair!
I might call it the Ugly Duckling instead, but I think it’s kind of sweet and since it has become my favorite work shop chair, I think it has already shown i’s worth. ;-)

This is where I always use it – by the forge, when I’m blacksmithing tolls.
It has the perfect height and are easy to pull with my feet, when I need to reposition also the three leg design makes the legs easy to grip and out of the way.

So here it is, after a few years use, as I remember it, I made it in 2015 and had the photos in my folder of non posted projects.

I think it deserves to be posted now, ugly or not, it’s my favorite and so it has earned it’s right.

Hope it can be to some inspiration, perhaps even a sibling…_

Best thoughts,


-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

13 comments so far

View Dave Polaschek's profile (online now)

Dave Polaschek

3559 posts in 912 days

#1 posted 03-26-2019 02:48 PM

A very useful stool. Is it a little under 50cm high?

-- Dave - Minneapolis

View shipwright's profile


8273 posts in 3128 days

#2 posted 03-26-2019 02:51 PM

Great journey my friend!

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View socrbent's profile


816 posts in 2599 days

#3 posted 03-26-2019 02:53 PM

I really appreciate your sharing this stool, its background and construction. This post deserves a Stefang Award of Merit :)

-- socrbent Ohio

View Chris's profile


442 posts in 4416 days

#4 posted 03-26-2019 03:37 PM

Cool Mafe. I too have some creative inspires stored away in my mental collection from some of my traveling. When I went to Malta..the history and culture there were really cool. What I found to be so intriguing on that side of the pond is the quaintness and welcoming environments of their compact coffee shops, unique shops and eateries. All of which were fitted with the most neatest and quite often adorable tables, cabinetry and furniture.

Everything in america has to either be really big or really big. Tractors, trucks, campers, furniture…houses we will not even talk about…you name it..its ridiculous. I’m so excited because very soon Im going to delve into that mental collect and pump out some awesome stuff…lol. Can’t wait. You’ve nudged me a little today Mafe. Thank you sir.

-- Chris Harrell - custom callmaker "Quacky Calls" Eastern NC.

View mafe's profile


11857 posts in 3419 days

#5 posted 03-26-2019 03:58 PM

Great blog. Like the simplicity and the wire leg stringers.
Thanks for sharing.
—Tyvekboy—Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View mafe's profile


11857 posts in 3419 days

#6 posted 03-26-2019 03:59 PM

Nice addition to the shop. I can imagine it in 20 to 30 years well worn an used.
—We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life – James Krenov

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View mafe's profile


11857 posts in 3419 days

#7 posted 03-26-2019 03:59 PM

Simplicity coupled with function has it’s own beauty and this stool is no exception. Well done Mads and another interesting build blog too.
—Mike, an American living in Norway.

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View mafe's profile


11857 posts in 3419 days

#8 posted 03-26-2019 04:00 PM

Combo Prof
Πολύ καλή δουλειά
June of 1999 was the only time I was in Greece and by coincidence it was the island Samos, the birthplace of Pythagoras. It was lovely.
—Don K, (Holland, Michigan)

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View mafe's profile


11857 posts in 3419 days

#9 posted 03-26-2019 04:00 PM

Good to hear from you again, my friend!!
Love that design. Around here they call thet style a “Milking Stool”. It will set level any where in the barn.
—Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe’s finest custom rolling pins.

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View mafe's profile


11857 posts in 3419 days

#10 posted 03-26-2019 06:01 PM

Sorry guys I had to move the comments from the other blog, I some how posted a duble again.
But they are here now, so your words are not wasted, thanks.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10522 posts in 4382 days

#11 posted 03-26-2019 06:45 PM


I like the wire leg supports! Super COOL.

Thank you!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View Druid's profile


2039 posts in 3125 days

#12 posted 03-27-2019 07:23 AM

Interesting project, and the history behind this stool really brings it alive.
Thanks for posting this. ;)

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View Brit's profile


7672 posts in 3172 days

#13 posted 03-29-2019 10:12 PM

What a wonderful story and simple design. I love it! So nice to see how it looks after a few years of use.

Do you still have that three-legged pine stool that I saw when I visited you. The one with the beatifully sculpted seat. I still remember it’s lovely patina.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

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