It has been really stormy here for the month of June. While not good for some and devastating for the family down the road where a large maple tree turned their new SUV into 2 compact cars—it is a treasure trove for a wood scavenger like me. While we are waiting for me to ignore my paying gig for a day and scavenge some suitable logs for the stool project, I though this might be a good time to go over the tools we wiil need besides the usual lathe and chisels.
Key to achieving authenticity and critical to green woodworking is the ability to get straight grained stock for turning the component of the stool. This minimizes the distortion normally associated with drying green wood.
To render the stock components we will use a froe. I have had the froe I use for over 20 years and was an antique when I bought it at an estate auction. A froe is a tool for riving wood by splitting it along the grain. It is used by hammering its blade into the end of a piece of wood in the direction of the grain, then twisting the blade in the wood by rotating the haft (handle). Th woodworker uses the haft as a lever to multiply the force upon the blade, such that it possible for wood to be torn apart by even a small froe with remarkably little force applied to the haft. There are several sources of froes available on line and well worth the investment if green wood working is in your future.
The next couple of tools you can and should make yourself. The first is a simple V-block. We use the V-block to firmly stabilize the turned legs when drilling the first set of holes for the tenons on the rungs. The V-block is an 11” length of 2×4 with a v-channel cut using a table saw.
The next tool is a dibble stick. Usually associated with gardening we will use our dibble stick when weaving the seat of our stool. My dibble stick was turned from a scrap piece of teak I had in my “I can’t seem to throw this wood away” box. Approximately 4 inches along pointed on one end and rounded on the other. The last tool you will need is a story stick. A story stick is a simple device that allows you to repeat measurements and markings without the variations of measurement. Our story stick is a 1/2” wide by 1/4” thick piece of handy scrap stock. I transferred the key point of the stool leg and then use it to begin each stool. I also have a 1/2” hole drilled in one end to permit hanging the story stick near my lathe and of yes it is the size of the tenon on each end of the rungs.
Also appearing in the above picture are two examples of materials that can be used to weave the stool’s seat. As in our previous post, the walnut stool has a seat woven from fiber rush. The poplar stool in the first post has a seat woven from sea grass braided into a cord. All of these materials come in several diameters and there are several good online or look in the yellow pages in your town for seat caning supplies. A one pound hank of this material will do one seat of the style and size I am presenting in this blog and generally should be less than $5.00 in cost.
Well here we are – start gathering and making the special tools you will need to begin working with green timber turning. While you are doing that I will be searching the roadside and yards for some new logs for our stool project. In the next installment I will go over stool dimensions and riving the components from the green log and preparing to turn our stool pieces.
-- Mike, Maryland, www.thewoodenquill.com