Perfecting the Soviet Stool

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About: Enjoy building cool things with my own unique design and style. Stay tuned, you might find something you'll like;)

For a long time now, here in the Soviet Union area, people have been resting body mass on these 4 legged styled stools. But most of the stools that I've come across were very plain and gray looking with awkward wobbly legs. So I decided to somewhat perfect the Soviet chair with beautiful, carved legs, routed edges and a decent paint job to cover up the durability.

To give you an idea of what I'm talking about when I say "plain old soviet stool", check out this link. Link 2

This is the rough idea of what I built my stool off of. But I tried to remix it with a bit of my own imagination.

I hope I don't bore you with my style of writing, so if this instructable isn't an easy read, suit yourself to the video above. It just might stick a little better.

Step 1: Materials

When building something durable, I try to go for the more harder woods, although softwoods aren't a bad option either in this case. So for the legs I got me some old dry maple logs that were already starting to rot away in some areas.

Step 2: Cut

I cut all these logs into their rough length with my miter saw. I had to do some flipping to cut through the whole log with the small blade, but it was ok for a rough cut. I then took them over to the table saw and trimmed them down to their final rectangle shape.

Step 3: Reference Lines

Once all the legs were squared up, I lined them up at one end and drew out reference lines to work from over at the lathe. These lines need to be dark enough so they are visible on the lathe, so I drew them all the way around. I then cut them to one length. Keep in mind that this is not yet the final length, since the tips will get marked and ruined at the lathe so I left a few extra centimeters to work with. Finally, I marked the center and was ready for some carving.

Step 4: Carve

This step is pretty self explanatory. Just work off the reference lines and create your design. The biggest challenge here is to make all the four legs as identical as possible so this may take some time.

Step 5: The Stretchers

For the stretchers, I used a maple piece that was left over from the legs. I first cut it in half, smoothed it out, and then cut those two pieces in half once again, and smoothed them out on the planer, also making sure the are nice and square.

Step 6: Round Over

Over at the miter saw, I cut them to their final length of 17cm and then rounded them over on the router table.

Step 7: Paint

I put off this step for some time just in case I would want to go back and change anything and it took me a while to choose the right color coating. So I ended up coating the legs with some oil based wood oil. This kind of coating brought out the wood texture to just the right amount, so I was satisfied. The stretchers were also coated with the same oil based coating.

Step 8: Gluing the Seat

I used pine to make the seat since pine is a softer and lighter wood than maple. I figured this seat will be quite heavy as is, and heavy seats may be sturdy and durable but aren't always comfortable to move around, so therefore it's a good idea to reduce weight anywhere possible. For clamps I had to use these oak "logs" because I don't yet have long enough clamps to clamp more than 34cm. And those long clamps are quite expensive so this is a nice cheap and reliable alternative method that I use for larger projects. So use clamps if you got em, and if not, try this method!

Step 9: Apron

While the seat was drying, I got to work with all the other components. It might've been a better choice to use hardwood for this part, but I settled with pine once again. I detailed the whole board at the router table with a roman ogee bit and then cut them up to the same length as the stretchers(17cm).

Step 10: Drill

For fastening, I drilled holes and fit dowels on each end of the aprons.

Step 11: Final Cut

Now that I was satisfied with how the legs turned out, I was ready to cut off the excess material that was marked by the lathe. This was the final cut, so I made sure all the legs were cut to the same length(42cm) by using a stop block.

Step 12: Fit

After marking the centers and drilling, I test fitted the aprons and the stretchers and made sure they fit snuggly and straight.

Step 13: Final Coat

It also took me some time to decide what color I wanted the aprons to be, so therefore I dragged out this step to give me some time to decide. My options were either to match them with the seat (since both were pine) or match them with the legs. After more stool browsing on the web, I decided to match them with the legs, so I coated them with the same oil.

Step 14: Assembly

Finally I was ready to assemble! I poured in the glue but tried not to pour too much to prevent making a big mess and ruining the paint job. All the excess glue that squeezed out, I cleaned up not letting it dry or soak into the wood.

Step 15: Clamping

This step is pretty self explanatory. Line up all the pieces, pour glue and clamp, making sure everything is straight and even.

Step 16: Seat Work

Since this seat is 35cm, it is just too big for my miter saw to cut in one pass. So I used a cool trick I've learned a few months back. Whenever your workpiece is just too big and the saw doesn't reach to cut all the way, lift up your side of the piece slightly while keeping the back side pressed against the rails as shown in the picture above. This gives the saw just a few more centimeters of cutting surface. But be careful doing this, make sure not to bring your hand too close to the blade.

Step 17: Planing

The planer that I have is about 35.5-36cm wide, so the blades were just barely wide enough to reach the whole width of the seat. So all I had to do was make sure I didn't slide left or right of the blades but go straight through without leaving the edges uncut.

Step 18: Final Details

Now that I planed the seat down to the desired thickness, I sanded it down for a smooth finish, and then took it over to the miter saw once again. There I set the miter angle to 45 degrees and cut all the corners at about 3cm.

Step 19: Stain

I stained the seat with an oil based dark walnut colored wood stain. This stain gave the workpiece an authentic rustic look.

Step 20: Finishing Touch

After the paint dried, I took the seat over to the router table and used the roman ogee bit to add a nice edge all the way around the face side of the seat.

Step 21: Seat Assembly

Now all that was left to do was glue the seat to the legs, so I drilled holes in the legs and fit the dowels in. Then I laid the seat on top and marked the holes so they would match, and then drilled matching holes in the seat.

Step 22: Glue and Clamp

When all fit well, I poured glue wherever it was necessary, clamped it all together and let it dry.

Step 23: All Done!

Be sure to check out the video if you haven't already, and let me know what you guys think!

Are the color choices ok?

Should I make one with a back?

Is it a decent remix?

What would you change?

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    2 Discussions

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    seamster

    25 days ago

    Nice work! And that is a beast of a table saw . . very cool! : )

    1 reply
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    v1nce_ntseamster

    Reply 24 days ago

    Haha, thanks! My dad built it like 40 years ago, so it's seen quite some cutting