The footstool is probably the piece of furniture that most often goes unnoticed...
its not quite like your favorite chair or the desk you work at, even though it serves similar functions...
You may not even use it everyday, but when you want to put your feet up,
or reach for a book on the highest shelf,
its an under appreciated convenience to have one of these crickets at hand.
The following tutorial is a revision of a prototype I built a while back. This time around It took about a week to build, working a few hours a day, taking time to snap photographs and record video throughout most of the process. Hopefully these instructions will help you cut down the time it takes to build your very own foot stool.
as of 01-03-2013 this is still a work in progress, there are some steps which still need clarification.
Step 1: Materials & Tools
3 - 40cm x 1 x 10" kiln dried and dimensioned solid pine wood
4 - 45cm[aprox] x 1 x 1" kiln dried and dimensioned solid pine wood
1 - jeans pant leg[aprox]
x - thread for sewing
1 - used yoga mat
3 - letter size card stock
1 - tenon saw (sierra de costilla)
2 - 4" clamp (prensa 4 pulgadas)
1 - 8mm drill bit (diameter)
1 - hole saw 2 1/2" diameter (broca de copa 65mm)
1 - jig saw (sierra caladora)
1 - sewing machine (maquina de coser)
1 - drill (taladro)
1 - pencil
1 - box cutter
1 - rule
1 - (ángulo)
1 - compass
4 - markers [preferibly different colors]
1 - rubber mallet
x - sand paper (papel lija)
x - spare blocks of wood for clamping and sanding
Step 2: CUT OUT Marking Templates #1-3
I started out by making a few templates that would make marking the cutouts and perforations on the wood easier. Using one of the beams I had left over from a previous project as a standard, ensures that all the marked cutouts are sufficiently similar without having to actually pull out a ruler and measure every single length later on.
The fourth template comes from a previous tutorial
Step 3: MARK UP Stool Legs
Start by choosing which face of the board will be the exterior, usually the clearest surface, then flip it over and mark the center vertically. (tag the interior surface so you don´t forget which face goes outwards) Apply template # 2 to top edge, aligning the center lines and use the card stock thickness as an edge to guide the pencil as you draw the section of wood to cut out later on.
Then take template #3 and mark the locations where the beam joint will go. Align the template on the board so that the edge meets up with the line on the template, then slide it down aligning the top edge of the template with the bottom line of the previously marked cut out and mark the second cut out on that edge.
To mark the third and forth leg cut outs, turn the template same template inside out, align it the same way you did previously and mark the inner perimeter. Then, with a rule, trace a line that connects the bottom line of the marked cut out regions on opposite sides of the board for both sets of cut outs. Those, in combination with the center line help determine where to drill the perforations in the leg board. (in the video you´ll see a slight variation but the idea is the same.)
Once you have the perforations marked, define the width of the feet of the stool and draw a line connecting that to the third perforation from the top. Mark both lines and then you´re ready to start cutting and drilling.
Step 4: SAW Grooves in Legs
Secure the board and level the top edge then saw as straight as possible down to the pencil lines. Sometimes, when you get into a rhythm, remember to stop every now and again to confirm the depth of the groove.
Note: when cutting the diagonal grooves, re-position yourself so that your shoulder and arm are in line with the angle of the pencil line, it helps keep the blade of the saw perpendicular to the board edge.
Step 5: DRILL Perforations in Stool Legs
For the apex of the triangular cut out in the base of the stool legs, use the same drill bit as for the first perforation made earlier.
Step 6: SAW Three Cut Outs in Legs
There are four kinds of cut outs to saw in each of the legs. Again, there´s no best order in which to do them, although leaving the triangular one for last does leave the most room to secure the board with a clamp.
1. Use a jig saw to cut out the top edge joint where the seat will fit in later (00:00 - 01:15)
2. With the same saw, cut along the marked lines that connect the feet of the leg with the small perforation near the center.
(01:17 - 03:04)
3. Finally, round the top corners of each leg, four in total (03:06 - 01:15)
Step 7: Remove Final Cut Outs With Chisel
Align the edge of the chisel, flat side facing inwards, with the bottom of the grooves and knock out that section of wood. Since the grooves were sawn across the grain of the wood, it shouldn´t take that much force to remove these bits once you get a feel for it. Depending on how sharp the chisel is that you´re using, you may have to clean up the edges a bit.
It may not be quite as fun as this, but...
I think there´s definitely a bit of that experience in here :)
Step 8: SAND & FIT Legs to Seat
Once you've made those cut outs, its time to start fitting the legs to the seat. Start by checking to see if the pieces fit together as they are, if so CONGRATULATIONS!!! you really did a great job with the saw cuts. Generally though, expect to have some sanding to do. You want to get a tight enough fit so that the joint is as sturdy as possible without making dis-assembly too difficult.
Step 9: SAW & SAND Seat Edges
With the basic seat and leg structure still assembled, mark the curve of the leg board corners onto the edge of the seat on all four corners and disassemble.
Instead of starting to sand the curve right away, use a jig saw to remove most of the corner first, saving time, energy and a lot of saw dust in the process. Before beginning, make sure there´s a rough toothed blade in place and readjust the angle of base plate to its widest setting (45º in this case).
Once that´s secure, make a test cut to check that you´re not going to remove too much material. I made the mistake of cutting in the wrong place without doing the test, and although it didn´t hurt the project, it was frustrating. Mark a line from the test cut that you want to follow through with and use it as a guide when you´re sawing.
Note: you may notice that when cutting in the grain of the board, the saw makes a more agreeable noise than when sawing against the grain
Now that most of the corner has been removed, you can start smoothing out the curve. I started by filing down the edges before going to a rough grit sand paper block (50-80 grit) leaving the final sanding for later on in the process, but in any case, that edge will get covered by the denim so it doesn´t have to be that smooth.
Step 10: MARK & SAW Cutouts in Wood Beams
Start by aligning the template on the beams, and trace where the cut outs will go. For now, you only need four ends marked, the complementary set you´ll do later on in Step 11. Since I used some beams left over from a previous project (see Step 7: Remove cutouts from the beams), I had to avoid some "defects" like drilled holes, dents cut outs and grooves, but in any case, you should try to choose a length of wood that is clear of large knots for example.
With the first four cut outs marked, using a tenon saw, start sawing a 4mm groove into the beam and then incline the saw and rough out the cut out. When that´s done, you can go back and sand the cut outs till they´re smooth and repeat for all 4 beams.
Step 11: COLOR Code the Beam Cut Outs and Matching Leg Cut Outs
Although the cut outs in the beams and legs are very similar, each joint is unique. Before you start matching up which beam goes where, it helps to color code them to avoid getting them mixed up and makes future re assembly easier. I used four different colors, one for each beam, and dots to differentiate between each joint (8 in total).
While your color coding the beams, mark the distance where the second beam cut out will go, and align the template accordingly before sawing like in the previous step.
Step 12: FITTING Beams
This is a similar process to Step 15 from my previous tutorial
Step 13: SAND Edges to Taste
Once you've fit all four beams, assemble the naked wood structure to see if feet need some sanding so the stool doesn't wobble too much, although this does depend somewhat on how level the floors are in your place. Break the hard edges of the stool and sand them smooth so that if you happen to bump into it when stumbling around in the dark for example, it'll leave less of a mark.
Step 14: UNDO Jean Pant Leg Inseam
After having assembled the wood structure, its time to get to work on the denim strap that'll hold the stool together give your feet a more comfortable landing pad. I like to undo the seams by hand, using the reamer/punch tool on my swiss army knife [I had to look up the name of the tool, victorinox has a handy app to find out the names of all the tools for their knives... http://www.victorinox.com/ch/content/toolfinder/category/1]
Using the reamer ensures that as much of the denim material remains relatively intact for future use, and although i´ve probably mentioned it before, I feel its appropriate to take care in disassembling stuff that someone put time and effort into putting together in the first place. It may take a bit longer than you´d like, but while you´re working on snapping the threads you can listen to music or a documentary you wouldn´t otherwise get around to watching.
For the denim strap, and given the width of the stool, you´ll only need to undo the one seam of the jean leg.
Step 15: MEASURE & MARK Denim Rectangle
With the inseam of the pant leg undone, you´ll be left with a trapezoidal piece of denim fabric, with the untouched seam running straight down the middle. Depending on how well worn the pair of jeans are you´re using, you may want to cut off the ends that are too shredded. In this case, even though the end was pretty worn out, I decided not to cut them off, but rather leave them intact and deal with those loose ends later on in STEP 17.
Before you start marking up the fabric, measure the width of the seat so that the resulting denim strap will cover most of it, making sure that the strap will come close to the ends of the stool, but not hang over the edges.
Based on the width you measured, mark lines along the denim fabric so that you´ll be left with a rectangular strap. Leave roughly an inch of margin on each side, especially if you plan on cutting off the excess fabric so that you can fold it over to finish the long edges. In this case, I chose not to cuff of the excess and just tuck it inwards to create the denim strap.
Step 16: SEW Long Edges
Step 17: MEASURE Length for Beam Sleeve
Lay one of the beams over the denim strap, parallel to the short end of the fabric and wrap the beam up making marks that leave enough fabric to accommodate a double row of stitches.
If you decide not to cut off the frayed edges there may be some gaps in the sleeve, as long as they´re not too big it should still be strong enough to withstand some stretching later on.
Step 18: SEW Double Straight Stitch in Beam Sleeve
With the marks in place, remove the beam and flatten the sleeve before stitching. Using a straight stitch, start by sewing several stitches and retrace them at least once to lock in the thread. Then continue the stitch all along the sleeve and until you get to the end and retrace a few stitches there as well. Test to see that the beam still fits in the sleeve before adding the second stitch line and cutting off the excess thread.
Step 19: MARK & CUT Foam Pad to Size
Step 20: Final ASSEMBLY
Start by putting together the wood structure, throw the padding over the seat and place the denim strap on top. Then remove the lower beam on one side and slide it through the denim sleeve so that both ends stick out a bit and rejoin to the stool leg. Once that´s done, remove and dress the second lower beam, pull the denim strap tight and roll up the beam till it matches up with the cutouts in the legs and you´re done :)