Three Legged Stool

So, I should be working on my workbench project.  But I’m putting off dimensioning the stretchers, which is the next step.  I really like working with hand tools, but when it comes to mundane stock dimensioning I think I might like to go power.  Scandalous, I know.

I have some odds and ends of wood that I’ve collected with a few specific projects in mind.  In particular I have two short pieces of 8/4 mahogany from the off-cuts bin at the local wood store.  My plan is to make a small three-legged “milk stool” as shown in Paul Sellers’ book.  This has a couple of good things that I need to practice.  First, using a gouge to hollow out the seat.  Second, using a plane or spokeshave to make round tapered legs.

First things first, I cross cut, edge planed and glued up one of the scraps to make the seat.

Glue Up The Seat Blank

Glue Up The Seat Blank

Flattening the first side was easy, but for some reason I really struggled with getting the second side flat after I’d thicknessed it.  I did just what you’d expect – scribed a thickness line and planed down to it.  That took about two minutes.  Then I spent another ten minutes chasing out highs and lows so it would lay flat on the bench.

Scribe a Thickness Line to Plane To

Scribe a Thickness Line to Plane To

...And Then Chase "Flat" Until it Gives Up

…And Then Chase “Flat” Until it Gives Up

Then I made a fancy pattern for the seat shape.  I have using corrugated cardboard for patterns, but it was all I had on hand.

Make a Pattern

Make a Pattern

I cut off the excess with my band saw.  I don’t have a good hand tool for cutting curves, I want to make a turning saw one day soon.  Maybe I’ll do that before my workbench stretchers…


Bandsawed, Spokeshaved and Sanded into Submission

I laid out and drilled three angled 1″ holes (using my bit and brace, thank you very much).  Kolya was using it to make his tool rack, and it turned out my bit was really dull.  I sharpened the spurs and cutters with a small file and it cuts like gangbusters now.  Then I got out my gouges and started hogging off material.

Using My Deepest Gouge

Using My Deepest Gouge

I had some problems with tear out in the deepest section, where the curve is the tightest.  Lighter cuts, and rolling the gouge through the cuts seemed to help with that.

Both Sides Roughed In

Both Sides Roughed In

I switched to a flatter gouge and used lighter cuts to clean things up.

Flatter Gouge

Flatter Gouge

And then a flatter gouge still, followed by 120 grit sandpaper.  The contour is OK, but it’s not as even as it should be around the periphery.  I’ll work more on “even” next time I get into the shop.  And make some legs for it.

And Then Sandpaper

And Then Sandpaper

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3 thoughts on “Three Legged Stool

  1. Looks like an interesting project. Looking forward to seeing it setting on it’s legs.

  2. Looking good. I admire how you just dive into a project. I tend to overanalyze and research too much before doing certain jobs. Especially ones that I have never done before.
    Seat looks comfortable. I really want to build a windsor chair and this seat is obviously along those lines. What angle did you drill your holes at?

    • Thanks Jamie, I’m busy over-analyzing dimensioning the stretchers for my workbench and trying not to think about them by working on a different project. I should rename my blog to “McGlynn on Dysfunctionality”.

      The splay angle is “two inches above horizontal”. I clamped the seat in my vise, set my brace on the mark as if to drill a straight hole through it, then lifted the tail about two inches, then drilled the hole – which is how Paul Sellers described it in the book.

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