Introduction: Rustic Stool

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It's easy to make a simple rustic stool from a split log of firewood and an ash, or similar, pole.

Follow the steps that follow, and/or watch the video.

Some alternatives to the methods I use in the video are given in the steps, and you can probably come up with more.

Step 1: Clean Up the Split Log

First clean up the split log by removing any branch stubs, loose bark, etc.

I used a chisel, but a hatchet and knife would also work.

>> As with all steps, take care and prevent any opportunity of a blade slipping and cutting yourself<<

Next flatten and smooth the split surface that will be the seat of the stool.

I used a draw knife, both cutting and scraping, to produce a smooth surface that needed no sanding. A hatchet and hand plane, and/or sander could be used.

Lastly, remove the bark close to the edge of the seat - This will prevent it breaking off during use. The draw knife was ideal for this, but once again, a hatchet would be great, followed up by a card scraper or sanding.

Step 2: Cut Legs to Length

You'll need at least three legs for the stool to stand up on it's own. I used four, for a little more stability with the long seat I was using.

Three legs will automatically stand without rocking, no matter what length you cut them. If you use four or more legs, then take a little more care cutting them to length (and preparing the ends, in the next step) so that they all reach the ground.

A bow saw is ideal cut the rustic pole(s) to length. If you use a mitre saw, jig saw, or other powered method, use clamps and wedges to ensure the pole doesn't shift during the cut.

Step 3: Prepare Leg Ends

The top of the leg should be shaped into a parallel tenon. A round tenon is probably the easiest method, as the mortise can simply be bored. A lathe makes preparing the tenon very easy work, however a hatchet and/or knife can do the job too.

The bottom of the leg should be rounded over to target pressure through the centre, and avoid break out during use.

You'll notice on the fourth picture, that I turned away any branch stems on the legs.

Step 4: Boring the Seat Mortises

Both for looks, and stability, I have splayed the legs.

Using a drill press, I create the splay by lifting one edge of the seat with a block, and also rotating the seat about twenty degrees to give a compound angle hole. A forstener bit matching the size of the leg tenon makes the mortise.

You can of course use a hand drill (electric or brace and bit), and just judge the angled holes by sight.

Step 5: Fox Wedging

To ensure the legs don't fall out, I installed fox wedges, which splay the ends of the tenons as they are driven deeper into the mortises.

Saw a single kerf through the centre of the tenons, to a depth of about 7/8 of the tenon length.

Cut wedges the same width as the tenons, with a thin end the thickness of the saw kerf, and the other end twice this thickness. The length should be about 1/2 the tenon length.

Step 6: Assembly

With their fox wedges just pinched in the tops, the leg tenons are inserted into the mortises. The wedges should be aligned across the grain of the seat to help prevent the seat from splitting as the legs are driven home, and as the whole stool acclimates.

Drive the legs into the seat with a mallet. As soon as the wedges begin to expand the tenons, the legs will be firmly held. This gives the opportunity to tap the legs in a little more, leg by leg, bit by bit, until the stool stands level.

Because no glue is used, the legs can be driven in further to tighten them should they become loose over time. In an extreme case, wider wedges can be installed (since the mortises are bored parallel, a loose leg can be pulled out if needed).

That's it!

Thanks for looking at my instructable.