Ergonomic Kitchen Barstools

  • Advertise with us
Project by Cubby posted 01-31-2007 07:12 AM 3494 views 5 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Three years ago, Paula, my sister-in law, asked if I would build four kitchen stools for her newly remodeled bar height countertop. “Of course” I replied enthusiastically, “as soon as I finish the projects on my list”. I started the project in November, 2006.

After “Googling” the images of every kitchen barstool in the world and looking at the throw-away home furnishing magazines that came out of the garbage covered in bacon grease, I could not find anything that looked like a fun build. As a result, I considered that I might “take the plunge” and design a chair on my own.

I am an Osteopathic Family Doc. If I was to consider an original design, my conscience decided that it was my Hippocratic duty to design a kitchen barstool that was, at the same time, functional, durable, pleasing-to-the-eye and , most importantly, ergonomically comfortable. As a result, I went “swimming”.

I went into research mode. I repeatedly attempted to define the exact contour of my own and, to their displeasure, my family’s butts. I sat on, leaned on, tilted and bounced as many kitchen barstools as I could find. Finally, after lots of scribbling, figuring, choosing, cutting, planing, edging, planing, etc., etc., etc. I finished the stools for Paula.

I am remarkably pleased by the result, because I think it meets my pre-build criteria. The design features peculiar (this would be my wife’s, not my, adjective of choice) to this chair are:

1. Slight backward lean: Legs are of equal length, yet the rear legs are angled at 12 degrees while the front legs 8 degrees. This feature helps to fit the sitter into the contour.

2. Seat contour: With the backward lean, the lumbar area is delivered to the chair rail.

3. Chair rail height: lower than typical, the chair rail provides excellent stability and support to the lumbar spine. Additionally, the length of the chair rail is much less than usual, providing protection to otherwise flying elbows.

4. Wide footprint: This feature protects the sitter from overutilizing the comfort of the lean, contour and lumbar support features, guarding against inadvertent backwards descent.

Construction and Finish: Wood is White Oak. Finish: Sealed with two coats of dewaxed blond shellac, next I filled the grain and applied two more coats of shellac. Top coat is two coats of gloss polyurethane.

That’s it. Thank you for the opportunity to communicate and exchange information with fellow jocks and jockettes. Ron Baird, D.O.

-- Ron Baird, Pennsylvania, "WORK HARD, BE GOOD, HAVE FUN"

12 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4183 days

#1 posted 01-31-2007 01:13 PM

these are beautiful—(and I just have to say this: and they match!! I saw the one beautiful piece of art and then was suprised to see the Set … for me, duplicating something is a real talent).

Your sister-in-law is very patient. She must have had anxiety attacks waiting for the results, but knowing that it would be worth the wait. She must be proud as a peacock.

You have given us lots of information re: health issues and chairs. I’ve always wondered why chairs weren’t more comfortable. I’d love to have a sit-down on one of these to see how good it feels.

thank you for posting—they are, again, B-eaut-i-ful !!!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4337 days

#2 posted 02-01-2007 03:58 AM

They told me form follows function. Good design work.

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4349 days

#3 posted 02-01-2007 04:01 AM

These look great, and I’m sure with use you and your family will appreciate all the time and research that went into these.

I have been on a quest (on and off) to find/make stools that fit much of these critera, for a high pub table, as well as for a counter/”island” in the kitchen. Care to share some of the design particulars?

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 4199 days

#4 posted 02-01-2007 10:08 AM

Ron, very nice work. In my opinion, being able to design and make a project that satisfies the needs and wants of the user provides the ultimate level of satisfaction. Very nice work.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View Mark's profile


316 posts in 4156 days

#5 posted 02-14-2007 07:59 PM

Ron, those look like wonderful chairs. Having a medical background when designing and constructing furniture is certainly a plus. Congratulations.


-- Mark

View AaronK's profile


1506 posts in 3487 days

#6 posted 03-29-2010 07:32 PM

really nice work. chairs have always seemed like the hardest thing to get right, and if it’s not right then everyone will know it. these look like they feel great.

View Cubby's profile


48 posts in 4161 days

#7 posted 03-29-2010 07:45 PM

Thanks. They are still working well.

-- Ron Baird, Pennsylvania, "WORK HARD, BE GOOD, HAVE FUN"

View FrankLad's profile


273 posts in 3332 days

#8 posted 06-03-2010 12:44 AM

I like the design of these chairs! Very nice work.

-- Frank, Mississippi, Original Bentwood Rings -

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3600 days

#9 posted 06-03-2010 01:51 AM

This is a wonderful design. you surely achieved your goal of making them pleasing to the eye. very well done.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Knothead62's profile


2584 posts in 2983 days

#10 posted 07-16-2010 02:20 AM

Very nice! A unique design that will be around for a long time. How far did you go in checking the family posteriors? ;)

View Dandog's profile


250 posts in 2797 days

#11 posted 03-12-2011 07:33 AM

nice stools way to go man of steel.I mean cubby.

-- life an woodworking is one big experiment

View Cubby's profile


48 posts in 4161 days

#12 posted 03-12-2011 09:46 AM

Don’t blow my cover, man. Thanks for the compliment, DD.

-- Ron Baird, Pennsylvania, "WORK HARD, BE GOOD, HAVE FUN"

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics