Making a 3 legged stool is not only a fun project but it will give you the very basics into a craft that is a true art form, chair making. This project is made from a simple 2 x 12 board that can be picked up at any big box store or lumber yard. This can be done with just hand tools, but to help with time, I used both power and hand tools.
Begin by crosscutting your 2 x12 board to 24″ in length. Then rip the board forming 3, 1 ½” square legs. Draw a 1” or 1 ¼” circle on the end.
Use a drawknife and shaving horse to trim the leg making it round and shave down to the circle drawn on the end. To test the fit, use a scrap piece of wood with the hole size already drilled in it. Test the scrap over the leg until a nice fit is achieved.
With the three legs done, glue two sections of the 2×12 together to form what will be the seat. With the two halves dry, draw a circle about 13″ in diameter. draw another line about 2” in from the first circle. Then using dividers, measure out 3 equal spacing for where the legs will go.
Drilling from what will be the top of the seat, set a bevel to 8 degrees and drill holes all the way through the seat.
If you desire the seat to be dished, use a scorps and then a carver’s spoon plane to soften the rough edges.
Cut the seat out with a bandsaw or you can use a bow saw. Follow up by easing the edges of the seat either with a spokeshave, rasp, or sandpaper.
Measure up approx. 11″ from the bottom of the legs for where the placement of the stretchers will go. Using the bevel at the same 8 degrees, drill a ¾” hole through the leg.
Place the legs back in the seat and measure what the length of the stretchers should be. Make the stretchers using the same procedure as the method used to make the legs.
On the ends of the legs, cut a slot approximately and 1”-1 ¼” down the middle to add a wedge after glue up.
With all the pieces made, test fit everything with a dry fit. Make sure to label and mark where all the part are. Disassemble and apply glue to the parts.
Reassemble the stool and add glue to the wedges on the top of the seat. Trim the wedges flush then you are ready to sand and finish the stool.
Now I made a HUGE mistake making this stool. I didn’t make my parts and in doing so I put the seat on in the wrong orientation of the kerf cuts on the legs. The picture on the left shows the wedges going WITH the grain of the seat. This is WRONG because when the wedge is tapped in, it could split the seat.
The wedges should go perpendicular to the grain of the seat.
I hope you try to make this stool. I think you will really enjoy the process of beginning your journey to the art of chair building. It’s a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon in your shop. Best of all, when you are done dancin’ you now have a place to sit and rest.