You Will Need:
- Staple gun and staples
- Utility knife
- 1/4 inch dowel pins
- Dowel jig (not necessary, but very handy!)
- Drill and 1/4 inch bit
- Tape measure
- Wood glue
- Tung Oil
- Optional: stain
- 2 oak 2×2’s, 3 feet long
- 1 oak 1×2, 11 feet long
- 2’x2′ square sheet of 1/2 inch plywood
I’ve been spending a lot of time in my shop lately, working on a number of projects simultaneously, primarily a guitar that I will be excited to unveil in between one or months from now. However, I have to be working on multiple projects at once so that when I run into a roadblock with one, or just get frustrated with it, I can shift gears and work on something else for a while. I also try to complete a few smaller projects while working on the big ones so that I never go very long without the oh-so-wonderful feeling of actually finishing something. This is important, as it keeps me going back out to my shop, cold evening after cold evening.
I initially was going to just imitate his project exactly, but a trip to Tandy Leather reminded me just how expensive leather is, and I decided to hold back and instead use an Albanian sheepskin that I got for a birthday present years ago. It has gone to boarding school in Hungary with me, followed me to college, and even temporarily served as a dog bed, although that was very short-lived because the dog quickly discovered the similarities between a sheepskin and a rawhide chew. I’ve never had a very good use for the sheepskin, however, so I thought that if I was going to lug it around the world, I should at least put it to good use, so I decided to replace the leather in Matt’s design with a woolly seat!
The construction of the stool is very simple. I first cut the wood into the appropriate lengths. I wanted a stool that was roughly 18 inches by 12 inches, and 15 inches tall. That means I needed the following boards cut to length:
- 4 2×2 boards, 15 inches long
- 4 1×2 boards, 12 inches long
- 4 1×2 boards, 18 inches long
Here they are; cut, sanded, and stacked neatly for your enjoyment. It’s important to use your square to mark your boards so that you get square cuts, otherwise your stool will wobble, and worse yet, annoy you.
I sanded the boards so that they were smooth and not splintery at all, and I took the hard edge off the corners so that it would be more comfortable. Oak is hard, and a sharp edge–while not dangerous–can be very uncomfortable.
Next, I stained all the boards. It’s best–and easiest–to do this before assembly. I wanted to match the stool to an oak desk that I already have, so I stained them. This is entirely optional. After the stain dried, I oiled the wood with a tung oil finish. Wipe on, wipe off–it’s that easy. It gives the wood a nice shine and “lightly finished” look.
Once all the pieces were stained, oiled, and dry enough to handle, I used my dowel jig and drill (with the 1/4 inch drill bit) to drill holes for the cross-braces. Two quarter-inch dowel pins will be glued in place on each end of each board and will hold the frame together. The important thing is to make sure that all your holes are drilled in the same place on every board. The smallest deviations will make a big difference when it comes time to sit on your now wobbly and weak stool.
Once I drilled the holes for the pins, I put together the pieces without glue just to see if everything fit right.
It did. I took it all apart, glued the pins, then reassembled it for real this time.
Now it’s on to the seat!
I laid the plywood on my work table, then set the frame on it, upside down. This makes it easy to trace the outline of the stool onto the plywood, so that you have a perfect fit. I cut out the penciled-in rectangle with my bandsaw, but you can use a hand saw if you must, but it won’t be very fun. Then I notched the corners to fit around the stool legs (again, use the tracing method to make it fit perfectly) and laid my new, smaller piece of plywood on the sheepskin.
I used a staple gun to staple the sheepskin to the edge of the plywood, then trimmed off the excess with a utility knife, like so:
All that was left was to set the seat on the frame. I did not fasten it with anything other than gravity because I want the option of changing it someday if it tickles my fancy. For now, it looks good, feels better, and matches my desk a lot better than the old white kitchen chair that used to be there did!