Little Elm Stool

Teaching chair making is a fairly involved business; most courses are five days or longer. I’ve been looking for a post and rung or ladder back project that I can teach over a weekend or three days. Windsor chair makers have the simple three legged stick stool that can be knocked together in a morning. Add a bit of seat saddling and it’s a day long course. Put some stretchers on it and maybe a fourth leg and it’s a weekend.

But I want students to get the chance to do some weaving and make the piece their own. I’ve made a number of square stools that are a lot of fun to build and have basic, right angle joinery that’s ideal for an introductory course. But there’s a lot of weaving there! Plenty of opportunities to go wrong and a workout for inexperienced hands.

Probably the most useful design I’ve built but a lot of weaving for beginner.

So I drew this little stool with three goals in mind: you should be proud to take it home with you, you should enjoy a range of skills while building it and you should be able to do it in a weekend (perhaps a bank holiday weekend?). I think it’s quite pretty as a small stool but it would easily grow into a bar stool; longer legs with less angle and stretchers at different heights to accommodate different leg lengths would turn it into something really useful at a kitchen counter.

This is the first version. The next will have a narrower seat frame and a bigger seat. That will make it more comfortable but take a bit longer to weave. That won’t be a great hardship; it took less than an hour to weave this little seat. The tenons aren’t quite where I want them and the

Construction is fairly foolproof and uses a couple of simple jigs. More on those in a future post. I’m using socketed tenons for the leg to seat frame joints. Again, these deserve their own post but suffice to say I’m very happy with them.

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