Seat Forming - a continuation from my prototype stool "project post"

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Blog entry by FritzM posted 07-25-2008 09:36 PM 2407 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I decided to start this as a blog after comments recieved on my stool project post. Let me start by saying I’ve never shaped a seat before, but have really been wanting to…... The comments on my stool post were just the motivation I needed. To clarify my design intent, I wasn’t trying to copy Kaleo’s stool, I wanted to come up with my own interpretation. One of my criteria was that I not break the planes that are defined by the outer edges of the legs. I really wanted the legs to generate the form and therefore, the seat needs to stay within the boundaries of the legs. That said, I think I like where this seat forming is going. I watched a video by Andy Ray on the woodworking channel website (essentially a masked festool commercial). In it, he completes the sculpting of a seat for a windsor chair. So I broke out the Rotex and gave it a go…. here are the results.

I outlined a form that made sense…..

Then I went after it with some 40 grit…..

Then through the grits to 220 and some mineral spirits to check progress. Still a bunch of sanding scratches and the shape isn’t perfectly defined….. Also, i sanded down into the screws used to attach the slats from underneath. I also made it through to a domino I had used to make one of the walnut slats longer :) oops…

And the overall stool….

And a close up on the seat….

Can someone who has some experience with shaping seats offer any advice? I’m gonna keep after it as I imagine it’s a whole lot of trial and error, practice and patience.

-- Fritz Oakland, Ca (dedicated to my other hobby)

5 comments so far

View JamesRyan's profile


9 posts in 3828 days

#1 posted 07-25-2008 10:16 PM

Awesome work – i love it.
As a possible suggestion think about curving the back to match seat indent.

View mdf's profile


40 posts in 4098 days

#2 posted 07-25-2008 10:25 PM

Perfect timing! This morning I decided on a very similar style of seat on one of my chairs. What is the width of the individual seat pieces and how much space do you have? Was it easy to control the sander moving across the seat pieces and the spaces? I could imagine you could get sort of stuck and sand the edges too much. I was thinking about shaping the seat, like the Windsor chair, and then cut it into the seat pieces.

View FritzM's profile


106 posts in 3934 days

#3 posted 07-25-2008 11:18 PM

hey Mads – the slats are 1 1/2” wide and the gaps are 1/2”. The sander got hung up in the gaps on several occassions but really only detrimental to the paper and not the slats. As I was working I thought about the sequence you described. Shaping and then ripping into strips…. It might be easier to control and work the contours that way. The hardest part was forming the crown at the front. The 5” diameter disk just kept hitting areas I was trying to avoid. That said, I have to believe practice and patience are key. What other tools does one use? Any experts out there?

-- Fritz Oakland, Ca (dedicated to my other hobby)

View EternalDesign's profile


237 posts in 4117 days

#4 posted 07-26-2008 03:29 AM

As always you do amazing work but i don’t know I’m not feeling the contour with the leg shape, something doesn’t look right to me.

-- Brian, Eternal Furniture & Design

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1288 posts in 3858 days

#5 posted 07-26-2008 07:03 AM

How about putting some temporary fillers in between the slats to give you the support and guide needed? They can be removed when finished shaping and sanding.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

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