Call it Done (For Now) - Popular Woodworking Magazine

Call it Done (For Now)

 In Chris Schwarz Blog, Woodworking Blogs

After the worst Thursday on record, I awoke the next morning and resolved to sort out this stool. I needed more maple, so I headed to Frank Paxton Hardwoods and found the perfect board waiting for me. Straight. Clear. Flat. Reasonably priced.

So I assumed I’d get into a car accident on the way home. (No collisions.)

I milled the new seat, assuming it would be case hardened and twist on me (I was incorrect). Then I took it to the bench to drill the holes for the legs. The previous seat was a disaster, so I planned for this one to be worse. I bored the holes and they weren’t perfect, but they were within a degree of perfect.

I turned the stretchers and assembled the stool dry.

I stood back and looked at the whole thing. The front stretcher was just too much. Too much detail. Too many tapers. Too much busy-ness.

I set the stool aside and dealt with some other problems until this morning. I turned a new stretcher from some scrap and put the stool together again. It was better. Good enough to assemble.

After gluing up the stool, I thought about turning the stretcher attached to the rear leg 180°. Everything was wedged together so it was too late to take it apart. I’m satisfied with this design, but I still think I have one more iteration in me.

— Christopher Schwarz

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Showing 8 comments
  • ausworkshop

    Looks great so far Chris, I see what you mean about the rear stretcher but only because you pointed it out. Not that I’m an expert on stools but I’d imagine there’s nothing worse than a rear stretcher going in the wrong way! oops ; )

  • jcurole

    Seems like Faulkner’s description of “The Sound and the Fury” should be on your wall:

    “I tried first to tell it with one brother, and that wasn’t enough. That was Section One. I tried with another brother, and that wasn’t enough. That was Section Two. I tried the third brother, because Caddy was still to me too beautiful and too moving to reduce her to telling what was going on, that it would be more passionate to see her through somebody else’s eyes, I thought. And that failed and I tried myself — the fourth section — to tell what happened, and I still failed.”

  • slanctin


    I have a question totally unrelated to this, sorry (BTW, is there a better place to ask general questions? )

    I am preparing to attempt a Roubo workbench, and just as i was about to give up on the one-piece idea for the top, I finally found a plank that would suit my needs–4″ X 24″ X 6′ piece of ash (i think there’s a bad joke in there somewhere). Vendor’s comment to me is “the wood is green, harvested a couple months ago, but with proper precautions you should have no issues with it”. I don’t know enough to know whether i should worry or not–everything i’ve read on woodworking so far is telling me i should in most cases be working with dry wood where possible. In your opinion, should i avoid this green plank and laminate dried maple boards instead?


    • Megan Fitzpatrick
      Megan Fitzpatrick

      Here’s a link from Chris that might help:

      I know over the years he’s shifted his thinking from the top must be “popcorn fart dry” to “don’t worry so much” – a top made from wet wood will move, but big deal – flatten it and get back to work. (That said, the wood for the base should be dry).

      • slanctin

        Thanks for the info and link.

  • Longfatty

    Comparing the shape of the previous version with this one I see what you meant about removing material from parts of the seat to make it look stable. This didn’t make sense until I saw this version of the seat. Thanks for posting both pictures, it gives a much better perspective on what “looks right.”

    You should think about a “Dos and Don’ts” page for the magazine. Like in Cosmo. I have lots of submissions for the don’t side.

  • grg3


  • GyeGreene

    You sure are generating a lot of stool samples.


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