Test Stool Two

The thread of building stools went dormant in May as the second test stool, having almost exactly the characteristics of the target stool, proved to be something of a failure.  The seat was a little bit like a surfboard, one could lean it a few degrees in any direction, and while that was cool it was not really a characteristic one wants in a stool.  It was asking to fail more profoundly and to this one must say ‘No’.

Initial version

S2 A S2 B

The cause of this wobbliness was that the mortises dug to accept the tops of the legs were too wide.  This, abetted by the fact that the four 3/8 inch dowels pinning the legs  through the seat really had no mechanical advantage, allowed the wobble.

Too wide mortises shown:

S2 C S2 D


The solution?  Epoxy-resin, perhaps overkill at 2500 psi.  Pouring that into the space where there was but an air joint really changed the performance of the joint.  It’s rock solid now, no wobble, no fail.  This is proof of concept that I’ll be able to go forward with the original idea – even though the original idea contains the same flaw, the over-wide mortises, because this remediation covers it.

S2 E

Stool 1 – Test Stool

This did not come about until mid-May, by which time I had almost ten boxes made and a feeling of some competence.  I’d started chiseling out the mortises for stool 0 at full width (as big as the leg diameter, albeit square) and stopped just because I did not want to get past the point of no return on stool 0 if failure was a possibility.

I had an old piece of wide fir lying around, and some scraps from the dump that I’d also used as Octobox pillars (I love getting the re-use) that I could easily rip into legs and cross braces.  I started chiseling out again full width mortises but halfway through that said heck, this is a test, gimme that router.  Then I niced up the edges and poof, I had four rectangles 1 inch+ deep and the shape of the legs.

IMAG0164 IMAG0165


I cut dados in the legs, pinned them through with 3/8 inch dowels, did the same between the braces with another cross brace, and came in from the corner with dowels through the side of the seat to keep the legs affixed.

It came out really strong, I was surprised.  I had avoided most of the real technical challenges.  A very short stool at 20 inches, legs perpendicular so no splaying, a triumph of simplicity and a confidence builder but not really proving much, methinks, so Test Stool 2 enters the picture – see subsequent post.

Stool 0 – an idea

Stool Zero is an idea based on a nice piece of wood.



It’s a piece of redwood burl 19 x 9 x 2 3/4.  I think it would polish up lovely so mentally I designed a stool for which this could be a seat.



I even designed the joining methods and built test joints to evaluate them.

IMAG0036 IMAG0040


I did not have a very clear vision though of the best way to attach the top of the legs into the seat or if the cross braces were sufficient or if I had the skill to execute the project – this was early, February of 2013.

Not wanting to screw up with such a nice piece I decided that some tests were in order