"Antique" German Stool

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Project by KnotCurser posted 11-19-2010 02:38 AM 2543 views 7 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a commissioned piece.

While visiting Germany, a co-worker of mine and her friend fell in love with a stool they discovered in a bar. The stool was very used and very old. I was asked if I could duplicate the one she remembered. “Sure, why not?” She wants to give the stool as a surprise gift to her friend over the Holidays.

I started with a solid block of white oak around 10×19 inches and over 2 1/2 inches thick for the seat. The legs are around 1 1/2 inches square and solid white oak as well. This is one HEAVY stool!

I used through mortise and tenon joinery and also inserted walnut wedges into every tenon. Together with the wood glue this thing will NEVER come apart!

The legs are angled at five degrees and are around 17 inches long.

The entire stool stands 19 inches tall and is very comfy sitting in as well as getting up from.

Then I was forced to do the unspeakable – DAMAGE my work to make it look antique and worn! Oh the HORROR! I used many implements of torture until I got it to look really worn and many, many years old. Then I used various stains and even some ebonizing formula to get the various shades you see.

A few coats of paste wax and there you have it! I think it passes for a turn-of-the-last-century piece – what do you think???

Oh yeah – the last picture I was going to crop and then I noticed I caught my cat in mid-yawn! It looks like she is laughing her butt off over my stool!! ;-)

Comments welcomed!


-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: [email protected] /

14 comments so far

View dbhost's profile


5772 posts in 3744 days

#1 posted 11-19-2010 03:06 AM

I was about to ask what my wifes cat was doing at your house… Seriously those are cool cats…

Oh yeah, nice stool too…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View RWJones's profile


127 posts in 3389 days

#2 posted 11-19-2010 03:15 AM

Very nice job on both the construction and the distressing. Looks like you got it just right. Good looking cat too!

View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 3619 days

#3 posted 11-19-2010 03:47 AM

Fooled me. I thought it was the real thing and you just refinished it, so I read your story. I must say, it looks even better. Great job. Do you have a cherry picker to help handle the thing? lol
I learning all I can about mortise & tenons, and usually look at them before I read. I like the wedges.

View Ken90712's profile


17745 posts in 3701 days

#4 posted 11-19-2010 11:37 AM

Very Nice stool. like there color of this as well.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View TheGravedigger's profile


963 posts in 4536 days

#5 posted 11-19-2010 02:09 PM

Very good look. Of course, nothing will age it like having a few thousand behinds polish it, but that just takes time. As for cats, you should try to work in my shop – six barn cats running around! I couldn’t even photograph one project without their help:

-- Robert - Visit my woodworking blog:

View rivergirl's profile


3201 posts in 3350 days

#6 posted 11-19-2010 02:37 PM

This is a wonderful, incredible stool! I LOVE IT! Oak makes a terrific and yes, very heavy stool. I will have to make one of these. Did you hand cut the mortises?

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

View KnotCurser's profile


2032 posts in 3580 days

#7 posted 11-19-2010 03:10 PM


Far too many angles to worry about to hand cut – I used my Incra-jig on my table saw for the tenons and did most of the mortise work with my dedicated mortise machine. I did have to do a LOT of hand tuning due to the 5 degree angles of the legs.

Good learning experience! :-)

I hand cut the slices in the tenons for the wedges – does that count? ;-)


-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: [email protected] /

View cwdance1's profile


1160 posts in 3771 days

#8 posted 11-19-2010 10:57 PM

Very nice looking project. Great job.

View Vicki's profile


1118 posts in 3856 days

#9 posted 11-20-2010 04:37 AM

Looks like the real thing. Great job. Can you share some of the distressing techniques you used on the top? I’m gonna make a couple of 5 board benches and want to distress them.

-- Vicki on the Eastern Shore of MD

View KnotCurser's profile


2032 posts in 3580 days

#10 posted 11-20-2010 05:13 PM


As far as distressing, I have found the number one tip I can give is to NOT over-do it! A little goes a long way.

The first tool I use is my drill with a sanding pad attachment – an angle grinder would work as well. I use a 40 grit pad which takes a LOT of wood out at a time. I hit all the corners and the areas where the furniture would naturally wear down from use.

Then I have a dog lead chain in which I tied a knot in one end. I cut a few of the links and bent them outwards. I also threaded some bolts and nails in the knot. It looks like it would really hurt if it hit you! ;-0

I pummel the top with this – it causes random patterns of marks and scrapes. After that I basically get creative. For this one I even took a wood screw and layed it down on the top and hit it with a hammer – it left a pattern of the threads in the seat. I used a screwdriver, an awl, a large nail.

On a past project, I left the piece fall onto my gravel driveway over and over – that left some rather interesting marks on the face of it. This was a mantel shelf, so I wanted it to look like things were dragged across it for decades.

I still pains me to take nicely grained wood like this and damage it for an effect, but in the end it’s worth it! ;-)

Then comes the stain – I started this piece with a full coating of darker danish oil. I sanded some of it off on the edges and then took a toothbrush and spatter-painted on darker stains. I wiped them all down and let everything dry overnight. Then I put on a couple of coats of paste wax and hand-buffed out the finish with each coat.

It’s a lot of work, but it does get your aggressions out and from the comments I have received from others, it looks like an antique! :-)

Good luck!


-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: [email protected] /

View Vicki's profile


1118 posts in 3856 days

#11 posted 11-20-2010 06:33 PM

Thanks so much Bob! I’m like you, don’t really want to ‘mess up’ new wood. But I think the antique thing looks awesome too and suits certain projects. I think I’ll make something like you did and then practice on an old board first.

-- Vicki on the Eastern Shore of MD

View Mike Fritz's profile

Mike Fritz

49 posts in 3335 days

#12 posted 11-21-2010 10:33 PM

Bob, I know the work and time that went into this bench It looks great. I would have kept it. great job.

-- Mike Fritz, Cinnaminson, NJ

View Lotidus's profile


110 posts in 3185 days

#13 posted 05-11-2011 04:10 AM

I dont think the cat approves. I think it looks great, and thanks for taking pictures of the underside of the joinery it makes it easier for those who might want to reproduce what you did.

-- Lotidus

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4405 days

#14 posted 05-11-2011 04:22 AM

thats a big statement “NEVER” break

looks really nice

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

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