A few years ago I decided to make myself a stool for the garage so that when I was doing intricate work at my bench I could sit down and relax while concentrating. I’d never made a piece of actual furniture before, I’d made a few small pieces like a basic shelving unit or a workbench, but nothing that resembled actual furniture. So I looked online and bought some books to decide on the best way to do it. After far too much thinking and no practice I decided that a mortice and tenon jointed stool would be the strongest to do, not the easiest, but the best I had seen so far.
So I bought some lengths of pine, cut it to size and proceeded to make my stool. Little did I know how accurate you had to be to make a joint like that by hand or machine for that matter! It took me hours and hours to make all of the joints, I thought I was being very precise with my marking out and cutting, hammering and chiselling.
Upon fitting it together I realised how untrue that was and how ridiculous the joints looked. All of them where lose and ill-fitting with big gaps and spaces and unsquared tenons. But I wasn’t going to scrap what I had started as it took me so long to do and also wood is not cheap, especially if you buy it from any of the high street DIY stores! So I went ahead regardless and glued it together, clamped it up and left it to dry. The following day I cut a small piece of MDF scrap for the seat and glued that in place too.
By the way, this was all way before I discovered YouTube and the various how to guides that people produce – I think you can find 20 different ones on a stools using varying degrees of skill and finesse! Some of them actually look quite good and fun to build.
Needless to say my stool is not the prettiest thing you’ll ever see, but it does work – it’s very strong (mainly because I filled all of the gaps with massive amounts of glue and sawdust!)
That was a few years ago now – I still use that stool, I decided not to make another one for two reasons;
- It works, it’s functional and does what I want it to
- I keep it to remind me of my first project and how much I have developed my skills and progressed from that ugly, chunky thing I call a stool.
From small acorns grow mighty oaks? Or from crappy stools grows a small woodworking business…