I read Chris Schwarz’s book Campaign Furniture when it came out and decided that I wanted to make a Folding Campaign Stool (among other things in the book). The book recommends a straight-grained, very strong wood for the Stool legs since they see a fair amount of load when sat upon.
A few months ago I contacted LJ Dan Krager about acquiring some osage orange (hedge) logs that he had harvested from his friend’s property. These logs made the trip from Dan’s place in Olney, IL to Downers Grove, IL with Dan, who was visiting family. He was kind enough to drop the logs off at my apartment while I was at work. After that, I somehow managed to manhandle the two 180-lb logs (~48” long) and two 50-lb logs (~24” long) into my Honda Civic. They fit in the back seat with about 1/4” to spare.
With my Civic about 100 lbs away from its rated capacity, I made the 70-mile trek to my parents’ house in Wisconsin. Hopefully my suspension wasn’t permanently damaged from all that :-)
The logs sat in my dad’s workshop for a month or so before I had a chance to so anything with them. My brother and I split one of the 24” logs with some axes and a 2-lb sledge. The Sideshow Bob-looking guy in the pictures following is him.
After an hour or so we got the log split down into workable wedges.
After this, my drawknife and I spent some quality time trimming the wedges down into something resembling round. Wish I had a shave horse, but my tail vise worked ok for this.
After the logs were shaved down to “round-ish,” I chucked them up in the lathe and rough turned them to about 2” x 24”.
I sealed the ends with leftover latex primer (and the rest of the splits from the log as well) and stickered them in the shop.
After than it was a simple matter of tracing the patterns and cutting everything out. The leather is vegetable-tanned, but I forget the weight. It was about 3/16” thick.
Then I dyed the leather with a dark brown dye.
After that, I punched the holes for the rivets holding the lips to the corners. There are five per corner. After punching the rivet washers home, I nipped them off and piened them over.
The finished seat:
A month or so later, I came back home and finish-turned the legs. They’re pretty simple 1-1/8” cylinders with a turned foot.
The legs need a hole at the midpoint for the three-way bolt. This is best accomplished on the drill press with a brad-point bit and a V-cradle. Drill until the point just protrudes from the opposite side, then flip and finish the hole.
After that I re-chucked the leg in the lathe and added a couple decorating grooves near the hole. Then I finish sanded, burnished with chips, and finished with a couple coats of paste wax.
With all three legs finished I could then move onto the three-way bolt.
First I curved the washers to more closely match the curve of the legs. I couldn’t quite get them to the exact curve, but good enough.
Next I had to extend the threads of my hex bolts a bit. Putting the bolts through the legs (with the washer, very important), I made a mark with a permanent marker for where to end the threads.
Next it was a simple matter to thread the bolt with a die.
Then, using a nut as a spacer, I cut the excess off with a hacksaw and filed the end to remove the burr.
I misplaced my pictures of making the interior hex nut that creates the three-way action. Basically, you drill holes in every other face and tap them to accept the hex bolts.
With that done, I drilled the tops of the legs for the screws that hold the leather to the legs.
Since the screws I used were brass, I pre-threaded the holes with a steel screw of the same size so as to not ruin the brass screws.
Next I assembled the legs with the three-way bolt. It’s a little squirrely at this point since there’s nothing holding the legs into a regular shape.
The leather seat needed holes to accept the brass screws, so that I did with a leather punch.
All that was left to do then was to attach the lips to the tops of the legs, making sure to put a finish washer under the screw..
That’s it! I made this stool as a thank you to Dan for hand delivering those huge osage logs that he harvested. Dan, I hope you enjoy the stool for many years to come and thank you again for the logs!
Now for the finished product!
Thanks for reading!
-- -=Pride is not a sin=-