After removing the big chunk of wood that was to become the front of the chair, the next steps on the dugout chair are the tricky parts that require more thinking than straining.
I needed to chainsaw the bottom of the stump level to get the thing so it had the stance of a chair. This is tricky because the stump is an irregular cone with no right angles. So I took a few minutes to sketch in some lines directly on the inside and outside of the trunk with chalk.
Then I stood back and looked at the stump for a long time (long enough that the neighbors began to stare at my mouth-breathing pose).
I made a few adjustments to my lines and cranked up the chainsaw.
Truth: Practicing with a handsaw over and over again will make you a much better artisan with a chainsaw. I was shocked how easy it was to get the saw cutting true without twisting its bar or doing something stupid.
After leveling the stump’s bottom, I drove a heavy-duty eyelet into the top of the stump and hoisted the stump into the air with my shop crane. Then I moved it to the spot on the driveway where I wanted to work it and (with the help of my daughter Katy) lowered the stump chair in place.
Of course, Katy immediately jumped into the middle of the stump. (I might not be allowed to sell this chair when it’s finished.)
The last step of the day was to start drawing the shape of the chair on the inside and the outside of the trunk (I knew there was a reason we kept the 10 gallons of sidewalk chalk that has been festering in the shed). Drawing the chair, so it takes advantage of the tree’s natural shape, will take me a couple hours, I suspect. I don’t want to muck this up, and there’s no going back to the stumpyard for another one if I make a miscut.
— Christopher Schwarz