Staked shop stool

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Project by Dave Polaschek posted 02-15-2017 01:51 AM 1422 views 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I needed a new stool for my shop. The one I mostly use is 18” high, which is too low for my new titanium knees (they’ll get better), so I decided to make a new, taller stool.

I took a piece of 3 inch wide 4/4 maple that was just under six feet long, ripped it in half, then crosscut it in half, giving me four 1½ x 1 legs, about three feet long, but one had a knot in it, so I decided to make a three legged stool. Using a jig and my jackplane, I changed them from rectangles to octagons.

Meanwhile, I cut two 18” pieces off a 4/4×8 inch (one edge rough) elm board, planed up the edges using the jackplane, and glued them together. My aim was a 15×18 roundish seat for the stool. After some cutting with various saws, I finished rounding the seat with a spokeshave, and was amazed at how pretty the grain was. Chamfered the top edge ¼” in and down (so 45°︎) and the bottom edge ¼” down and 1” in using a spokeshave. Use the jackplane to smooth the top of the seat (I had a few toolmarks left, but for my first stool, it’s not bad).

Drill three holes in the seat, eyeballing the angle on the first, but then using a bevel gauge to make them all the same. Taper the ends of the legs, and bore tapered holes. Apply some glue and bang them together, adding (walnut, for contrast) wedges to lock the legs in place. Saw off the bits of leg sticking through the seat and plane everything smooth. Say bad words when I had a little chatter with the plane which left marks behind just when I thought I was done.

Three coats of BLO and a coat of paste wax. Then finally cut the legs so the seat is level, and done! It sits pretty well, but I should have put the legs a little closer to the edge of the seat.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

8 comments so far

View bubbaw's profile


84 posts in 2526 days

#1 posted 02-15-2017 02:01 PM

That is great hand tool work.

-- Isaiah 40:31

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 1528 days

#2 posted 02-15-2017 02:10 PM

Good job! Did you find the legs to be substantial?

View Woodchuck2010's profile


745 posts in 1739 days

#3 posted 02-15-2017 02:17 PM

Great tool work. That would be a table for me. lol

-- Chuck, Michigan,

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

5987 posts in 1463 days

#4 posted 02-15-2017 05:07 PM

Thanks guys!

Ron, the legs are a little light for me, but I weigh 280#. I think they’d be fine if they were oak or rock maple, but they’re one of the softer maples instead. I did make sure they’re relatively straight grain, and I tossed out the one piece that wasn’t, so they’re fine if I don’t twist or turn on the stool, but when I make my next one I’ll probably use oak, and this one will get cut down shorter for my sweetie to use.

There was a TON of 4/4 and 5/4 red oak in the bargain bins last time I hit the lumber yard, so I’ll probably be digging through that this weekend looking for potential legs.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View anthm27's profile


1766 posts in 1991 days

#5 posted 03-19-2017 12:40 AM

Hi Dave,
I was wondering how you got the tops of the stools round?
Very nice job

-- There is no hope for any of us if we keep apologizing for telling the truth.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

5987 posts in 1463 days

#6 posted 03-19-2017 12:59 AM

I drew two circles of 15” diameter, with their centers 3” apart (making an oval 15” by 18”) on the 15×18 board. Then I used a coping saw with a new blade to remove most of the waste outside the circles, followed by a spokeshave to cut down to the circles.

Also used a spokeshave to chamfer the edges once the seat was round. All hand-tools on this one. That may not be a traditional use of a spokeshave, but it works pretty well for me.

The spokeshave was a Kunz #53 adjustable mouth spokeshave. I really like it for working edges, as I can close the mouth down to avoid tear-out or chattering on tricky grain, and elm can be tricky grain.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View a1Jim's profile


118142 posts in 4458 days

#7 posted 03-19-2017 02:51 AM

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

5987 posts in 1463 days

#8 posted 07-31-2017 12:11 PM

Note, the legs in this weren’t solid enough for my 280 pounds, and I ended up snapping one.

I revisited the project with much sturdier construction and have been very happy with the result.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

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