Mahogany Kitchen Stool Project #2: Begin Rough Cutting

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Blog entry by sras posted 02-09-2010 07:19 AM 7367 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Mahogany Kitchen Stool Project Part 2 of Mahogany Kitchen Stool Project series Part 3: Preparing Lamination Strips »

Back in early November, I went to my favorite lumber yard and started looking at what kind of wood to use. I was interested in mahogany, but wanted to check out my options. They had some very nice ribbon mahogany. I went home and gave it some more thought. The next weekend, I made the plunge.

Bringing Lumber home

I had only one problem, I kept seeing pieces that looked too nice to pass up! I ended up with way more than I needed for this project. I can rationalize it that I saved gas by not making an extra trip ;) You can see 3 fir 2×4’s on top of the stack. They ended up being the material for my prototype.

Even though I had plenty of material, I took it as a challenge to try to get the most use out of each and every board foot. I spent way too much time on this, but I packed in the pieces in the most compact cut layout I could. Here is the result after 3 or 4 iterations on my CAD system.

Board Layout

I’m hopeful I will end up with only small blocks of scrap and a big pile of sawdust!

Fast forward to last weekend. I finally was able to start cutting the legs. Here is where I ended up.

Legs cut to shape

I got the width and thickness rough cut and then ran them through my planer. I learned something about my dial calipers. I bought a nice one with resolution down to 0.001 inches. The resolution makes it nice to know exactly what dimension I am at. On the other hand, I don’t need to worry about being off by 0.001 or 0.002 inches. If I can’t see the difference when I hold two pieces up to each other, I am happy.

Current time log:
Cutting rough stock: 2 hrs
Cutting legs to width and thickness: 4 hrs 20 min
Cutting thin stock for seat back laminations: 3 hrs 15 min
Prepping laminations: 15 min

Total so far: 9 hrs 50 min

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

10 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118163 posts in 4738 days

#1 posted 02-09-2010 07:25 AM

View OutPutter's profile


1199 posts in 5151 days

#2 posted 02-09-2010 08:28 AM

Hey Steve, you’ve got a good start there. I just love working with mahogany don’t you. Can you explain your time log a little bit? Does it really mean that you were standing at the table saw pushing legs through for over 4 hours or, is that the elapsed time from when you began working on the legs and you finished? Either way I’m really looking forward to seeing your progress.


-- Jim

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4495 days

#3 posted 02-09-2010 11:20 AM

Very nice wood Steve. I also buy Mahogany planks and it is a joy to work with. It seems to have most of the attributes one is looking for in wood. Beauty, stable, easy to work, easy to finish and probably others I forgot. Your chairs are going to be first rate. I’m especially interested in the seeing how you will be laminating the back supports (slats).

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View ellen35's profile


2750 posts in 4593 days

#4 posted 02-09-2010 01:44 PM

Nice wood and I love the time it took to get it ready.
I think it will be work every minute in the end.

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View sras's profile


6255 posts in 4290 days

#5 posted 02-09-2010 04:41 PM

Hi Jim,
The time log is elapsed time. In the cutting legs case, that is just under 50 minutes a piece for each of 6 sets of legs. Since the cutting also sets me up for making other pieces, the division of time is not all that precise.
I do take my time… It includes time studying each piece to figure out how to orient the grain. Several pieces have wavy grain that can nicely match the curve of the back legs.
I do not have a jointer so I place a straight board along my rough timber. I also am trying to minimize waste at the early stages. That means I check each piece to find which side bows out and then set the fence to remove a little as possible.
I also broke the milling of the legs up into two sessions. A few of the timbers had built in stresses and the pieces bowed after making the initial cuts. I cut everything oversize by ~1/8”. After the wood relaxes for a day or so, I go through the straightening process again. Then it gets planed down to final width and thickness.

As to working with mahogany, this is my first time. This wood is really nice! It cuts well and leaves a crisp edge (more on that later). When I have a piece that is changing shape as I cut it, the blade scorches and it smells like hot butter!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View CaptainSkully's profile


1615 posts in 4719 days

#6 posted 02-09-2010 06:15 PM

That is going to be one heckuva set of chairs. The prototyping is really paying off. I love to work with mahogany. It’s cool seeing the red layer between the white oak layers in the dust collector bag. Great blog!

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View jimp's profile


208 posts in 4921 days

#7 posted 02-09-2010 09:06 PM

Steve – I really like the design of your bar stools. I can’t wait to see how they turn out. What do you plan on doing for the seat? Also, since we both live in the same area, what is your favorite lumber yard, if you don’t mind me asking?

-- - Jim, Carroll, OH

View sras's profile


6255 posts in 4290 days

#8 posted 02-09-2010 09:40 PM

Hi Jim,

We plan on using an upholstered seats. The idea is we will change the fabric on the kitchen chairs at the same time. I would like to try a wood seat, but these stools are going to see a lot of use and I think the wood would get scratched pretty quickly.

My favorite lumber yard is Moxon Hardwoods – just across the 205 bridge. They are my favorite when it comes to hardwoods.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4833 days

#9 posted 02-12-2010 04:27 PM

I love Mahogany wood.

View jimp's profile


208 posts in 4921 days

#10 posted 02-12-2010 08:54 PM

Steve – Thanks for the information about Moxon Hardwoods. I have heard good things about them, but I haven’t had a chance to check them out.

-- - Jim, Carroll, OH

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