Fancy Wooden Toilet Stool

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Introduction: Fancy Wooden Toilet Stool

About: I'm an inventor / maker / designer based in the Bay Area. My background is in residential architecture, film set design, animatronics, media arts, exhibit design, and electronics. I use digital design and fa...

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.

4 People Made This Project!

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35 Discussions

Awesome stool. I really want to make this! When I download the last PDF how can I check to see if it's scaled to 100%? No where on adobe is it giving me this option. I just tell it to print and that's it. Another problem I'm facing is I don't have legal paper. Is there a way to get this to work using normal 8x11 sheets of paper?

1 reply

When you print the file, you should see a "scale" option somewhere on the dialog. If you do, that should be set to 100%. Make sure you don't check "scale to fit media". If there's a box that says "original size", check that and it's the same thing as making it 100% scale.

I just uploaded an 8.5X11 layout to the same step. Good luck!

Could you post the dimensions of each piece?

I found this design on the Squatty Potty site. Do you have a suggestion on how to construct something similar? I really like the adjustable design.

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1 reply

I would do it something like the image below. Slots and tabs will make it easy to adjust and easy to fabricate. Have you downloaded Fusion 360? This would be a good project to start learning 3D with I think.

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Would it be possible to print these on a standard printer and piece them together in some fashion? My local printer is asking nearly $10 to print.

3 replies

You could print it in a smaller format and tile the pages together. Adobe Acrobat can do that I think.

Sounds complicated...plus, wouldn't that require a paid version of Acrobat? Is a method/download to print this from a typical home printer something you could offer as an additional option?

Trying to keep this whole thing affordable and less than what I would pay for a real squatty potty.

I've added a multi-page PDF of the layout to Page 1 that you can print on legal sized paper (8.5 X 14). You should be able to print these out and tile them together using tape. Note: DO NOT print them using "fit to page size" or any similarly worded setting. They must be printed at 100% scale, even if you get a warning that the printer will crop part of the print.

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Jbya

2 years ago

Jon,

What did you use to stain/finish your poplar stool. It looks great.

JB

1 reply

It's just butcher block oil. I figured it would make it easier to clean.

Hi Jon,

How do I print the pdf to scale? I would like to be able to print this so that I can glue the templates to the wood stock and cut out from there, can you help me?

2 replies

This sheet is 24" X 24", so you'll probably need to take it to a copy shop that does large format printing and get them to do it for you. If the printer is big enough, you just print it on a custom sized sheet that's 24"X24" and make sure the scale is 1:1 or 100%.

Hi JON-A-TRON,

Thanks for this instructable, I have read each step and most is clear for me. English is not my language so some things were hard to understand.

"First, I edge-glued two 10" wide planks to make a monolithic panel."

This part for example. You did not get a 23.6" X 23.6" piece of wood but you got two 10" pieces of wood and glued the sides together and afther that cutted the pieces out of those pieces of wood?

What are the exact sizes of the wood you purchased?

Hope I can start with this project soon, really looking forward to it.

4 replies

I especially do not understand what a monolithic panel means. Google translate does not help.

Hi JohnDoe80,

I used 3/4" (19mm) thick by 10" wide poplar boards. Boards come in various lengths, but for this project all you need is two 10"X36"X3/4" boards if you're using the templates I've provided.

Once your boards are milled flush (you can almost always buy them that way) so that all the faces are at 90º angles to each other, all you have to do is put some glue on the edge and clamp the boards together and down to a table to make sure everything is gluing flush.

You could also use 3/4" (19mm) plywood or a board that's already 20" wide (if you can afford one, they're really expensive!). Any piece of wood that's at least 20" wide and 36" long will work for this project as long as it's 3/4" (19mm) thick.

I hope this helps, don't hesitate to ask more questions. Please post an IMadeIt when you're done!

Thanks, that helps a lot already.


What exactly does "milled flush" mean? Cannot find a translation for that anywhere.

It just means that all the sides are smooth and flat, and that every face of the board is at a 90º angle to the other face. In other words, rough boards are not a good idea to use. The difference will be obvious when you see the different kinds of boards.