Tabouret Foot Stool

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Project by brianl posted 01-03-2010 05:29 PM 3928 views 13 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I recently completed work on a tabouret foot stool. I based the design on the old Popular Mechanics book “Mission Furniture: How to make it”. You can find the Tabouret section at ( I altered the dimensions to make the piece to make it 13 inches tall and 11 inches across at the top.

This was my first “real” furniture-making project and it was very rewarding. I made a LOT of mistakes along the way but hopefully the craftsman nature of the piece allows that to add personality and charm.

The piece was made with red oak puchased at my local home center. As I had never worked with hardwoods before, the density and weight of oak compared to pine were quite a shock. I made all the cuts using either a circular saw or a jigsaw as I do not have a table saw. I clamped a straight edge to my worktable and used that to guide the saw.

This was also the first time I did motise and tennon work. While doing so I learned that the cheap set of chisels I bought were not very sharp. During this project I also learned how to use a rasp and a block plane.

If I had been more accurate in my planning or in my tool use I would have liked to have calculated out the angles properly. I did not do this so all of my mortises are custom fit to their particular tennon. There was a lot of “aw shucks it doesn’t fit, where’s that chisel again?”

I had picked up some screws at my home center to use in fastening the cross-braces to the top of the stool. I predrilled the hole and used a #6 screw which quickly decided to shear off while I was putting it in. I learned then and there that the little boxes/bags of screws sold at home centers are very soft and quick to snap. In the future I plan on using square-drive screws.

The mortise and tennon joints were done by first drilling a series of holes then using a coping saw and a chisel to create the opening. A rasp was also occassionally used to fine tune the slot.

The finish was chosen to match existing furniture. Three coats of stain worked out pretty well. I then applied three coats of satin polycrylic to it. In doing so I learned that my sanding was incomplete – the grain popped right through the polyurethane. Next time I’ll have to make sure to sand it more completely. I read about wiping down the surface with water (to raise the grain) and then sanding so I’ll have to try that out.

-- Brian - Belmont, Massachusetts

11 comments so far

View leighty6's profile


34 posts in 4563 days

#1 posted 01-03-2010 08:00 PM

Thanks, I have been wanting to build a stool. This has given me some new ideas.

-- Greg Leighty

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3725 days

#2 posted 01-03-2010 10:23 PM

It´s not bad at all
thank´s for sharing


View Don's profile


517 posts in 3683 days

#3 posted 01-03-2010 11:47 PM

Great job! Thanks for posting. I’ve never seen legs angled that way before.

-- Don - I wood work if I could. Redmond WA.

View woody57's profile


650 posts in 4037 days

#4 posted 01-04-2010 01:11 AM

Great job! What is great is that you did it with limited tools and you did it well. That shows what a good talent you have. I can’t wait to see what you do once you have good tools and a little more experience.

-- Emmett, from Georgia

View Monty Queen's profile

Monty Queen

1594 posts in 3862 days

#5 posted 01-04-2010 02:20 AM

I love that stool looks awesome.

-- Monty Q, Columbia, South Carolina.

View ChrisinOttawa's profile


45 posts in 3721 days

#6 posted 01-04-2010 02:43 AM

Looks good to me! Careful you’re on a slippery slope! Before you know it you’ll be shopping for a good quality No. 4 hand plane so you won’t need to sand much and make dust. Then on to water stones and on and on…

-- Chirs in Ottawa

View stefang's profile


17039 posts in 3944 days

#7 posted 01-04-2010 03:49 AM

You got a great result and you can be proud of your workmanship. A lot of craftsmen in the old days managed to make a lot of good stuff without the aid of modern measuring devices accurate calculation and and marking for angles and such. They did it a lot like you described custom fitting each joint along with some trial and error. Angle work is always a lot more complex than the rectilinear stuff. This stool design is very nice and it looks really sturdy too, so you will probably get a lot of good use out of it and it will should last for a lifetime or more.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View okwoodshop's profile


448 posts in 3785 days

#8 posted 01-04-2010 03:51 AM

This stool looks great… the history of this table/stool is that it could be disassembled and shipped in a flat box,with easy assembly for the customer. I made a table version fifteen years ago and it still sits between two rockers on my front porch. Never fell over, even in high winds. P.S. don’t know how you make it with out a table saw???? good job!

View David65's profile


190 posts in 3895 days

#9 posted 01-04-2010 05:26 AM

well done thanks for the posting…

-- David '65

View Dusty56's profile


11856 posts in 4298 days

#10 posted 01-23-2010 09:01 PM

I’ll take two of them please : ) Very nice stool : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View clieb91's profile


3701 posts in 4545 days

#11 posted 02-25-2010 03:59 PM

A great looking stool. I know the book as I have a copy on my shelf. You did a really good job of recreating the piece. I have yet to try anything out of the book directly.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

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