Pooping: you're doin' it wrong! Apparently "squatting [is] a more natural position that opens the anal sphincter, moves the body's plumbing into proper alignment, and allows us to evacuate more freely." Considering billions of people in Asia still do it this way, and all human beings did it for all most all of our existence, it seems like a good argument. Just look at the sciency diagram!
Instead of buying one of the molded plastic ones that look like a cheap medical industry product, I decided to make something out of hard wood that I might actually want to look at. If it's going in my house, it better be classy.
Step 1: Design
As usual I'm using Fusion 360 for this project because you can easily work simultaneously in 2D and 3D, and the parametric features really help when you're going through a lot of design iterations. Fusion has a free 30 day trial after which you can choose to continue as an "Enthusiast" with a free non-commercial license for 1 year. After that, it's $40 a month for a professional license, which is absurdly cheap for a design program this powerful.
I based the dimensions of this stool (no pun intended) on a friend's off-the-shelf version. The foot holds are at about a 5º angle, and it measures about 20"W X 9"H X 12"D. There's a u-shaped cut-out on the top so that you can store it against the toilet when it's not being used, and I added arcs to the bottoms of the side boards to act as feet.
There's a "beam" along the front for lateral stability. I filleted the corners because I wanted to keep the arc motif that you see in the rest of the piece.
If you want to save $10 on the large format printing, you can print and tile the 8.5 X 14 PDF file on a desktop printer using Legal sized paper. NOTE: all printing must be done at 100% scale. Do not use any kind of scaling, such as "fit to page size", when you're printing the templates, no matter what kind of warning your program gives you.
Step 2: Tools & Materials
I used 3/4" poplar for this project because it's a hardwood and it's easy to find at any hardware store. It will sand to a fine finish, which is important for ease of cleaning, and it will make for a sturdy finished product.
First, I edge-glued two 10" wide planks to make a monolithic panel. I cut out the parts on our Water Jet because it's fast and accurate (and we have one), but you could easily cut out these parts with a jigsaw using the Digital Fabrication by Hand technique in my previous instructable.
After the parts are cut out, all you need is a palm sander, clamps, wood filler, and some wood glue. I chose to finish mine using several coats of butcher block oil, but using a high gloss polyurethane or some other slick finish would probably be a good idea- the key here is that it should be easy to clean!
Step 3: Glue & Clamp
First, I clamped the legs onto the foot board. Corner clamps are great for ensuring that you get consistent right angles, and I added a pressure clamp in the center to make sure there was solid contact between the surfaces.
You could use biscuits or dowels in this step, but it didn't seem necessary to me because there's no end-grain gluing.
Once the sides were cured, I added the beam with the filleted ends to the center of the font edge. This is here to add a bit more stability to the foot board and keep it from bending.
Next, I added come 3/4" X 3/4" scrap pieces to the inside corners on the sides to help keep the stool from flexing sideways.
Step 4: Finishing
Once all the glue was cured, I filled in the handful of cracks with stainable wood filler. Once that cured, I sanded the whole piece down to about 220 grit. This left a smooth surface that is easy to clean- no rough spots or splinters to snag the cleaning cloth.
When the sanding was done, I applied 3 coats of butcher block oil with several hours between each coat.
Step 5: Finished Product
I won't go into the intimate medical details, but it's safe to say I'm never going back to pooping the wrong way.