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3-legged Stool build

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  • 3-legged Stool build

    I first came across the description to build this stool back in 2009, from an article in Popular Woodworking magazine. These utilitarian stools were made by the thousands in China dating back centuries. Fine woodworking they were not, but very functional and almost indestructible. Youtube has a few videos on constructing them, and I’m sure some of you may have built one. There’s even an example of “one” that made it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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    I have made 2 of these before, so I thought I would share my third build here. I chose teak, mainly because I just had enough on hand to make one. The height of the stool is up to you and so is the width of the seat. This one is 12” across, which is more than the usual 11” the plan calls for. The main components are the seat, 3 legs, and 3 arms that make up the stretcher. There are 9 mortise and tenon joints all together, all done by hand.

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    The tenon that fits into the leg is a compound angle. It’s cut once the 3 pieces of the stretcher is assembled and glued together. 15* for the slope of the leg and 8.7* to account for the offset angle the stretcher meets the leg at. Its easy to screw this up, not so much in cutting the tenon, but in the lay out. It’s easy to get the stretcher flipped around and layout the tenon going in the wrong direction and then there’s no fixing it. You have to make another. I know, because I’ve had to do that ..... fortunately only one time.

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    Each mortise and tenon joint is test fitted and labeled to know which tenon goes where. When they have all been made, it’s time to put the stool together for a test fit. This, in my experience is the “ah ha” moment. Having a bit of the perfectionist in me does not help, because you find out that no matter how precisely each mortise and tenon fit individually, putting them all together shows up as misalignments and joint gaps for all the slight inaccuracies of achieving 15* and 8.7* cuts.


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    To compensate, tenon shoulders are trimmed and mortises shaved, resulting in a looser fit on some joints. Wedges are the saviour during glue up and gets one back to sanity.

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    The finished piece. A deceptively simple project is actually quite challenging to do as fine woodworking. At least, for me.



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    Attached Files
    Last edited by Kunzwerks; 05-23-2020, 08:14 PM.
    KenL, Darrell and 6 others like this.
    Measure twice, cut once ... and if that doesn't work try again
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  • #2

    Re: 3-legged Stool build

    Looks real good!
    What did you finish it with to bring out the grain like that?

    Paul

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    • #3

      Re: 3-legged Stool build

      Originally posted by Paul O in Paris View Post
      Looks real good!
      What did you finish it with to bring out the grain like that?

      Paul
      Odie’s Dark Oil. Only took about half a teaspoon.
      Measure twice, cut once ... and if that doesn't work try again

      Comment


      • #4

        Re: 3-legged Stool build

        Yup, it sure pops.
        Nice.
        Noel

        "Being so impressed with the beauty of nature, I never cease to be amazed at how the
        'touch of the human hand' can transform it into another kind of beauty that is so uniquely human.
        "

        John Snow, Outdoorsman and Retired Teacher

        Comment


        • #5

          Re: 3-legged Stool build

          Very nice.

          I made a three legger from some cherry and elm scraps to serve as my shop stool. It was indeed very challenging to get the angles right. One thing I learned that I did not like about this design is that, depending how you sit on it, there is not always a cross member to rest your foot on. On the plus side, it NEVER wobbles no matter how uneven the floor.
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          Cheers
          Randy

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          • #6

            Re: 3-legged Stool build

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            Attached Files
            Egon
            from
            The South Shore, Nova Scotia

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