|Project by skone||posted 07-07-2011 03:08 PM||2086 views||7 times favorited||6 comments|
Let’s get this detail out of the way: A nursing stool is a dedicated footstool for use by a breastfeeding mom. It goes under the feet, pushes the knees up and shifts the babe into place. Less back, shoulder and arm stress for the mom. You could use a stack of books, yeah, but people like these and the angle is key for a person who is sitting.
Okay, then! I’m a father of two. That explains my exposure to this type of thing. There are three manufactured competitors—all made in Malaysia and China and assembly required and MDF, etc. So, I figured let’s do this right.
I went through about 6 months of prototypes. Working off MDF templates I created. I think I netted out with about 10 or 12 prototypes to get to my final design. Lumberjocks was a huge help as I tapped my fellow jocks for what to buy as my first ever router for the template routing and also what materials to go with for template making. (MDF was key as I went through a lot of it ((price!)).)
The design that I came up with is solid wood, of course. The hinged, moving parts are strictly floating dowels – no metal hinges. It has a moveable top so that it can convert into a step stool as well. The rest of the joinery is dowelled, glued butt joint, except for the top which has 3 finish screws underneath. Screw on rubber feet were also a necessity.
Cost control was tricky in that it took about 15 hours to do one stool. To widen the variety for the customer, I went with painted clear pine for the stool bases. It was also easier to route given all the curves and as you know, less expensive. The paint: non-toxic milk paint. The hardwood tops: maple, cherry or walnut with danish oil topped with beeswax.
Pics shown here include a green milk paint and cherry version that is assembled -and- a walnut version milled and ready for assembly. Also you’ll see a my prototype #1, about the right size for a breastfeeding squirrel.
I waited a while to put this post up in thinking that I wanted to have a chance to sell these stools before I dropped my design into a forum. But really, I can’t quite make these profitable. I will say though, that despite the money and time this was an enormous learning opportunity. I added a router and a drill press to my shop and learned how to handle them both. Well worth the time and money!
-- "Take extra care not to lose what you feel" (Winwood/Capaldi/Wood)