Geometric Side Table/stool

Introduction: Geometric Side Table/stool

I recently purchased a beautiful Areca palm and I wanted a little side table/stool so my plant could be displayed off the floor. After browsing for inspiration on Pinterest and furniture-websites I came up with a mix of several ideas for a neat stool. Before I made the real life version of my stool, I decided to make a small scale version to make sure my design worked. Belief me, this was a very good idea because it turned out to be quite a mindf*ck to fit all the pieces correctly. Many mistakes were made in the process.

Below you find the tutorial how to make the small scale version with area of concern if you would like to make a large scale version.

I use the metric system.

Supplies

Below are links to the tools and materials used in this article

· Your hands

· Paper

· Plastic bag

· Crayon or pen

· Measure rod of Measure tape

· Rolling pin

· Adhesive tape

· Set square

· Two supports with 90° angle (for example a pasta box or a wooden crate)

· Weights with a flat surface (for example a book of a wooden board)

· Cup of water

· Brush

· Knife with a sharp point (or any good kitchen knife)

· Serrated Metal Rib

· Mudtool Rib

· Water Spray Bottle

· Clay:

Small scale stool: clay with 25% Grog 0-0.5mm

Large scale stool: clay with 25% Grog 0.5-2.0 mm

· Slib (recipe below)

· Glaze (optional)

Step 1: Define the Dimensions of the Stool

First of all we need to decide the measurement of your stool. Be aware that when you bake the stool, it will shrink and your dimensions will change. The clay shrinks because of the water that evaporates during the process. Clay without grog can shrink up to 10 %. The more grog in the clay, the less the clay shrinks.

The small stool isn’t congruent with the large stool.

THE SMALL STOOL:

Dimension of stool:

Height= 9 cm

Width= 5 cm

Length= 5 cm

Dimension of bottom and upper square:

Width= 5 cm

Length= 5 cm

Dimension of the four triangles:

Height= 10,2 cm

Width= 5 cm

THE LARGE STOOL:

Dimension of stool:

Height= 60 cm

Width= 30 cm

Length= 30 cm

Dimension of bottom and upper square:

Width= 30 cm

Length= 30 cm

Dimension of the four triangles:

Height= 67 cm

Width= 30 cm


OTHER DIMENSIONS:

If you want to customize the dimensions of your stool, you might need to bring a visit to our dearly beloved friend Phytagoras and his lovely theorem. But if you are lazy like me, you just go and find yourself an online tool.

To customize the stool you will first need to decide the height (h) and width (w). Since the upper surface is a square, the length (l) will be the same as the width.

Next calculate the diagonal of one of the rectangle faces of the box (see picture). This diagonal is the height of each triangle.

Step 2: Roll Out a Clay Slab and Let It Dry!

The size of the grog in the clay can be compared to rebar in concrete. The larger the grog, the stronger the clay and the more granulated the finished surface of the clay. So for the small stool it is advised to use the clay with 25% Grog 0-0.5mm and for the large stool the clay with 25% Grog 0-0.5mm.

Take the clay and roll out with a rolling pin until the slab is 3-5 mm thick. (LARGE STOOL: 12-15 mm thick). A tip to get an even thickness is to place an object with de correct thickness (for example wooden slats) on each side of the clay and role the rolling pin over the wooden slats. Be carefull there aren’t any airbubbles in your clay. If so, just pierce them. Airbubbles may lead to an exploding stool in the oven.

Next you need to let the clay dry until it is leather dry. Leather dry means that if you gently push your finger in the clay, it won’t leave an impression. Yet the clay slab can still be gently bended.

The slower the clay dries, the less tension there is inside the clay. Let the clay dry one an even surface and put a flat weight on it (for example a heavy book). Make sure the surface and the weight don’t absorb water. If you have got a water absorbing surface or weight, you can use a piece of plactic as a barrier.

The clay slab for the small stool took two days to dry. The clay slab for the large stool took one and a half months to dry! Patience is a virtue. If you haven’t got patience a hairdryer can be used to evaporate the water.

Step 3: Cut Out the Parts.

Once the clay slab is leather dry, you can cut out a template in paper/cardbord or just draw the two squares and four triangles straight on the clay slab. Then cut out the parts.

Step 4: Ready Your Workstation.

The stool will be constructed on his side face. Draw a rectangle with the width and the height of your piece (= side face) on your workstation.

The rectangle on your workspace permits you to check during the process if the stool is still constructed within the envisioned form.

Place two support where the bottom and upper square will be placed.

Step 5: Name and Place the Pieces.

Place the two squares against the supports within the drawn rectangle. If the squares keep falling over, attach the squares temporary with adhesive tape to the supports. Beware you don’t put tape on the spot where you will start to assemble the pieces.

The upper square is called ABCD with the edge AB on top of DC.

The bottom square is called with A’B’C’D ‘with the edge A’AB’ on top of D’C’.

Triangle one is called ΔEFG with angle G = 90°

Triangle two is called ΔHIJ with angle J = 90°

Triangle tree is called ΔKLM with angle M = 90°

Triangle four is called ΔNOP with angle P = 90°

Step 6: Assemble the Pieces (PART ONE).

Before attaching any triangle to the squares, always test is out first in the model!

Take the first triangle ΔEFG and place edge FG against AD of the upper square.The top of the triangle E should be placed against C’ of the bottom square.

You will notice that the pieces won’t sit perfectly. Edge FG should be trimmed and the top E as well. Before trimming, try to fit the triangle in you model to see how much to trim. Better to trim bit by bit than once too much. Once trimmed, score the clay with the knife or the metal rib on both pieces you wish to attach. Apply some slib to the scored pieces en press gently together. Any small holes between the pieces can be filled with slib. If you have a larger hole (because you trimmed to much), you can use some clay. Excess slib can be brushed away with a (wet) brush or a mudtool rib.

Step 7: ​ Assemble the Pieces (PART TWO).

Time to attach the second triangle ΔHIJ. Again, test out how to place it in the model before attaching it!

Take the triangle and place edge IJ against C’D’ of the bottom square.The top of the triangle H should be placed against A of the upper square.

The pieces won’t sit perfectly. Edge IJ should be trimmed en the top H as well. The edge HI will need to be trimmed as well to fit against the edge EF of the first triangle. Before trimming, try to fit it in you model to see how much to trim. Better to trim bit by bit than once too much. Once trimmed, score the clay with the knife or the metal rib on both pieces you wish to attach. Apply some slib to the scored pieces en press gently together. Any small holes between the pieces can be filled with slib. If you have a larger hole (because you trimmed to much), you can use some clay. Excess slib can be brushed away with a (wet) brush or a mudtool rib.

Step 8: Assemble the Pieces (PART TREE)

Now for the most difficult triangle ΔKLM. Again, test out how to place it in the model before attaching it!

Take the triangle and place edge LM against AB of the upper square.The top of the triangle K should be placed against C’ of the upper square.

Put the triangle in the model and see where it intersects with the previous two triangles. This intersection point will need to be trimmed away on triangle KLM but also on the fused triangles ΔEFG and ΔHIJ. Edge LM and the top K should be trimmed as well.Before trimming, try to fit the triangle in you model to see how much to trim. Better to trim bit by bit than once too much. Once trimmed, score the clay with the knife or the metal rib on both pieces you wish to attach. Apply some slib to the scored pieces and press gently together. Any small holes between the pieces can be filled with slib. If you have a larger hole (because you trimmed to much), you can use some clay. Excess slib can be brushed away with a (wet) brush or a mudtool rib.

Step 9: Assemble the Pieces (PART FOUR)

Finally, the last triangle ΔNOP. As always test before you execute.

Take the triangle and place edge OP against C’B’ of the bottom square. The top of the triangle N should be placed against A of the upper square.

The edge NO will need to be trimmed as well to fit against the edge LK of the third triangle. Before trimming, try to fit it in you model to see how much to trim. Better to trim bit by bit than once too much. Once trimmed, score the clay with the knife or the metal rib on both pieces you wish to attach. Apply some slib to the scored pieces en press gently together. Any small holes between the pieces can be filled with slib. If you have a larger hole (because you trimmed to much), you can use some clay. Excess slib can be brushed away with a (wet) brush or a mudtool rib.

Step 10: Assemble the Pieces (PART FIVE)

You can smooth out the edges and surfaces of your stool with the mudtool and brush. Or leave them rough looking like I did.

The larger the grog in de clay, the rougher the appearance. In the pictures you can easily see the difference in texture between the small and the large stool. Though i must admit that i added some extra texture in the surface of the large stool with my serrated metal rib.

Step 11: Slowly Drying and Bake It.

Once the stool is finished, wrap it up in plastic with a few holes in it and let it dry. The plastic wrapper will help it dry slowly in stead of direct contact with the air. The stool is a piece with a lot of tension in it’s structure. The water in the clay will evaporate, and the piece may shrink. Slowly and evenly drying will help to not increase the tension in the piece.

The amount of time the stool needs to dry depends on it size. The small stool was dry in a few days, the large stool took a few weeks to dry completely.

Once the clay is dry you can bake it a first time. The temperature of the oven depends on the type of clay. I bake it on 950° Celcius. The small stool came out great, the large stool was slightly crooked but nothing a small piece of felt won’t fix to level out.

Step 12: Decorate It With Glaze

If you want to decorate the stool you can glaze it (or any other technique to your liking). Important is to make a few samples in advance.

I can’t show the final result. Due to COVID-19 all non-essential transportations are forbidden at the moment, so I’m not allowed to pick up my stools at the bakkery.

To give an impression, I used my best GIMP skills.

Step 13: Extra: Recipe for Slib

The silt will be used to glue the clay pieces together. Crumble dried up remains of clay to dust. Mix the dust with water until you have got a consistent mush about the thickness of greek yoghurt.

Alternative method is to use pieces of wet clay and let is sit overnight with a lot of water.. This method is more labour intensive and requires more mixing. If necessary drain of some water before mixing to achieve a consistent mush thicker than yoghurt.

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