Japanese Inspired Retro Stool

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Introduction: Japanese Inspired Retro Stool

About: I like to use Instructables to be creative especially when there are external negative forces that are annoying me

I had some maple and walnut pieces which I wanted to make a stool for our cottage. Inspired by some pictures I saw on pinterest, I decide to have a version of my own. This stool has a couple of mitre angles as well as some joints that make it interesting. Note that this instructable does not use any screws or hardware, its all made of wood, glue and joints. I hope you enjoy this instructable

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Materials for the stool

- 1 inch thick hard maple

  • two 5 x 17" - top
  • four 5 x 18.5" - legs

- 3/4 inch Walnut

  • three 2 x 2.25" (4 shown in picture just in case I mess one up on the band saw) - keys
  • eight - 3/8 inch thick 1/2 inch wide 1.5 inch long walnut splines

- 1/2 inch live edge walnut approximately 24 inches long. Since it is live edge, the width varied from 2-3 inches.

Jigs Used

  • angle clamping legs to the stool
  • biscuit jointer spline jig

Tools Used

  • Table saw
  • band saw
  • mitre saw
  • bench planer
  • belt and mulit-tool sander
  • wood chisels
  • 1/2 inch forstner bit
  • wooden mallet (preferably DIY :-))
  • wood glue
  • pipe and bar clamps
  • screw driver
  • mitre tool for table saw
  • biscuit joiner with #10 biscuits
  • table jointer
  • Tilt Box II Digital Inclinometer
  • 1.5 inch hole saw
  • flush cut hand saw
  • buffing pad, wax paper
  • 80, 120, 150, 180 and 220 grit sanding paper
  • sanding block
  • tack cloth
  • tung oil

Step 2: Prepare the Legs and Top to Be Glued

After preparing all six pieces (2 for the top and 4 legs) I started working on the angles on the legs and top.

The angles on the stool that I used were 42.5 deg on each of the legs and the top to give a slight slope to the legs. You could use other angles but I found these to be suitable. I used the Tilt Box II Digital Inclinometer to set the tablesaw blade to 42.5 deg. I then used a 90 deg. mitre tool to hold each piece and run it through the tablesaw. For the top you need both edges to be mitered, while for the legs you need one side to mitered to 42.5 deg and the other side to 5 deg so that it is leveled with the ground. See the drawings for better understanding

Next I used my biscuit jointer used #10 biscuit setting to cut 2 biscuits on each edge of the top and leg. sorry, I forgot to snap some pictures

The next step was to glue the legs to the top. Since the edge where the top and leg meet is at a 95 deg. angle, I needed to build a simple clamping jig with the top to be 15 inches , i.e. the width of the inner dimension of stool length and at an angle of 5 deg. I did this on my miter saw after I squared the 2x4 on the jointer. I also made two holes with 1.5 inch diameter for the bar clamp heads to be inserted.

I glued the biscuits to the legs and used the clamping jig to clamp the legs to the top. See pictures. I first clamped the jig to the two legs and then attached the top. It was slightly tricky but with the biscuits, it kept the legs aligned. I did not use too much clamping pressure. With one jig and being low on clamps, I let the first leg/top combo dry and did the second leg/top combo after an hour of clamping. I used wax paper in the corner between the jig and the legs as I didn't want to get it stuck. I noticed that while aligning I clamped some of the wax paper in to the corner joint. I sanded it out later on.

Step 3: Splines and Keys

After 24 hours of the glue drying, I decided to give some splines to where the legs connected to the top. I used the spline jig that I built for the biscuit joiner. There are lots of different jigs for this on the web. You can also use the table saw for making these splines. I glued the splines and let it dry overnight then cut the extra with a flush trim saw.

I sanded the insides of the legs as it would be easier to do so at this point then after the two legs are joined.

I cut 3 keys on the bandsaw with the dimensions shown in the figure. Make sure the grain of the key pieces is running parallel to the 2" side of the walnut piece for better fit and rigidity. I also labeled each one of them to make sure I assigned each key to the specific mortise that I was going to cut. I first outlined one of the keys on the legs 9 inches from the top of the stool. I used a 1/2 inch forstner bit to take out most of the material by measuring the depth of the bit to go 1/2 inch deep. I cleaned up the mortise with a chisel and got a real nice tight fit between the legs. I dry fit the key into the mortise and started working on the other side. I did the top of the stool last. Once everything was dry fitting well I glued the keys in to the corresponding mortises. I didn't use any clamps as the keys were quite snug. I made sure I could sit on the stool and everything was aligned.

After about 12 hours I use my flush trim saw and cut the key flush to the stool. Then I took some of the saw dust from my previous work and made a paste using wood glue. I filled any little blemishes around the key.

Step 4: Sanding and Finishing

I realized that I made some saw marks on the stool around the key joints so I started with an 80 grit sand paper on a belt sander around the keys and then finished up with a multi tool sander at 150 and ended up with 220 grit.

Attaching the live edge walnut cross piece. I cut 3/4" in length and 1/2 inch wide with a 5 deg. angled notches (so that it is parallel to the legs and fit in the keys) on the band saw, on the live edge walnut. This was easy to do as I slid the walnut piece between the legs and marked where it aligned with the keys on the legs, no need to measure, just mark and then cut. Once it all fit I used some wood glue in the notches and fit the live edge on to the keys. This walnut cross piece will give the stool extra support.

I finally finished the stool with first cleaning it with a tack cloth, then applying tung oil make sure you wipe off extra oil. Repeat after a few hours. Its looking pretty good.

Hope you enjoyed this instructable. Please don't forget to vote.

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    4 Comments

    Coordinating accent wood always makes most any wood project shine. Nice piece. Bravo sir, Bravo.

    1 reply

    thank you gm280

    thanks ClenseYourPallet