Bamboo-Style Stool

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Try your hand at chairmaking with this small scale project.

Overall dimensions: 20"w × 20"d × 26"h

At first glance, it’s easy to see that this stool is a handsome and useful project, but what makes it really special is how it introduces woodworkers to some of the challenges of chairmaking.

Unlike a full-blown Windsor chair, this stool requires only a few board feet of material plus a basic assortment of turning and hand tools and involves no carving or bending. Despite this modest investment, the project lets you try your hand at kiln-drying and cutting tapered tenons to make joints that will stay tight through years of rugged use. In addition, you’ll begin to think like a chairmaker and know when to put down the plans and rely on the project to measure parts and check angles so that everything fits like it should.

Before you start building this stool, you need to consider the finish. For first-timers, I recommend using readily available, less expensive woods, and then topping it off with milk paint (see, “Create a Milk Paint Masterpiece,” page 56). Here, I used maple for the legs and stretchers (but any strong hardwood will do) and poplar for the seat, because it’s easy to work, takes paint well, and is available in 8/4 (2") thickness. For a completely different look, you can step up to nicer hardwoods. Curly maple and walnut (see inset) is one of my favorite two-tone combinations.
Bamboo Stool

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