At long last, there is a fantastic and reasonably priced tri-bolt available so you can make your own campaign stool.
The hardware is beautifully machined from solid brass and stainless steel, made in Canada and is only $34.50 (U.S.). You can order it directly from Lee Valley here.
I’ve made at least 20 of these folding stools using a variety of bolts and the Lee Valley version is by far the nicest looking and smoothest working example. I tested a few of the prototypes last summer and fall and was quite impressed. So as soon as Lee Valley started selling them, I purchased three.
The production tri-bolts are just as good as the prototypes I tested. The only significant difference I can discern is the finish on the brass. Instead of a shiny surface, which was on the prototypes, the production hardware has a nice matte finish, which blends in better with the wood and leather textures.
The hardware is designed to be used with legs that are 1-1/4” in diameter. That’s slightly thicker than historical stools, but is better suited for the modern human frame. Installing the hardware is a snap. Simply drill a 5/16” hole through the center of each leg. Screw the bolts in and you are done. The legs are captured by shaped brass washers and pivot smoothly thanks to nylon washers.
If you ever think you might want to build one of these stools, buy the hardware before Lee Valley comes to its senses and raises the price. This stuff is too nice.
So that’s the good news. The bad news? I’m going to have to start making these stools for customers again; I have a few on back order.
— Christopher Schwarz
If you like campaign furniture, check out my DVD on making a Campaign Chair, which will teach you all the skills you need to build this stool, too.