Mahogany Kitchen Stool Project #6: Finding shop time in a busy schedule -or- Making slats & cutting pieces

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Blog entry by sras posted 04-09-2010 06:24 AM 4882 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: Laminating Seat Back and Back Rest Part 6 of Mahogany Kitchen Stool Project series Part 7: While visions of perfection dance in my head »

The next step in this project is making the curved slats for the back of the stool. The process is the same as for the curved parts with a couple exceptions. First the pieces for each set of slats are cut from two blocks. These blocks were next to each other when cut from the large stock. Instead of marking with a saw cut as I did last time, I used a permanent marker.

Marked for sequence

By angling one stripe across both blocks, I am able to keep the strips in order. The total number of stripes tells me which stool this set of strips belong to.

The other difference is the clamping jig.

Clamping Jig

This jig has two curves and required careful adjustment to create a tight fitting result.

But, this is not what I want to write about for this post. I think it would be nice to share how I find shop time. We all have busy schedules and, at least for me, the woodshop takes a lower priority. I find that I can fit in shop time a little bit at a time.

I start out with a stack of strips to be glued up. This makes a good example of how to find shop time.

Process beginning

My shop is located off the back of my garage. Gluing up a set of 4 strips takes 10 to 15 minutes. If I can find that much time before I leave for work, I have enough time to glue one more set.

Making progress

As the days go by, I find that the pile slowly shifts from only one done to only a few left to do.

Almost done

And then the day comes when I have glued the last one up!


Then there are days when I have more time. That is when I can take the rest of the wood and start to cut it into final pieces.

Ready to cut apart

In this case, there is a bit of prep work to make sure that the grain runs from one part to the next wherever possible. There were several 15 to 30 minute sessions where I just focused on marking the pieces.

More parts marked for cutting

Once again, cutting the pieces is done a little bit at a time. The longest session was less than 2 hours. Over time, the pile of big parts turns into a pile of smaller parts.

Making more progress

And once again, the day came when the last pieces were cut.

Pieces cut

There is likely some extra time in this project that results from working in small sessions. For me the tradeoff is that I get to make progress and spend time in the shop more often.

The project is now to the point where all the pieces have been cut to thickness and width (well almost all … ). Next is cutting to length and then cutting mortises.

Parts for six stools

Current time log:

Cutting rough stock: 2 hrs
Cutting legs to width and thickness: 4 hrs 20 min

Seat Back and Back Rest
> Cutting thin stock for laminations: 3 hrs 35 min
> Prepping laminations: 8 hrs 40 min
> Glue up Laminations: 3 hr 50 min
> Trim Laminated Parts: 2 hr 25 min

Back Slats
> Cutting thin stock for laminations: 1 hr 55 min
> Prepping laminations: 3 hrs
> Glue up Laminations: 6 hrs 5 min
> Trim Laminated Parts: 10 min

Lower rail parts
>Cut to width and thickness: 10 hrs

Total so far: 44 hrs (7+ hrs per stool)

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

11 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117062 posts in 3542 days

#1 posted 04-09-2010 06:28 AM

wow that’s a lot of parts

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View sras's profile


4790 posts in 3094 days

#2 posted 04-09-2010 06:30 AM

Hi Jim! Thanks for the comment.
Six stools does tend to cause things to pile up ;)

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Benji Reyes's profile

Benji Reyes

330 posts in 3043 days

#3 posted 04-09-2010 07:19 AM

That’s some serious material and time management and cataloguing Sras! Nice step by step documentation. Would love to se the finished stools.

-- Benji Reyes, Antipolo, Philippines,

View Ecocandle's profile


1013 posts in 3030 days

#4 posted 04-09-2010 10:50 AM

That was a great blog post. I love the approach you take to the project. I can’t wait to see the next steps and the finished project.

-- Brian Meeks,

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3299 days

#5 posted 04-09-2010 11:22 AM

A smart way to work Steve. I’m sure your blog will show others with limited time how they can get more done. Like they say; small streams make large rivers.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View ellen35's profile


2734 posts in 3397 days

#6 posted 04-09-2010 12:23 PM

This is a wonderful blog! I’m pleased to see you are still working on these.
Your blogs are well organized and easy to follow and your pictures are great!
Thanks for the tutorial and the great organizational approach to the project.
Those stools are going to be awesome!

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View sras's profile


4790 posts in 3094 days

#7 posted 04-09-2010 05:20 PM

Thanks for the comments!

Benji – I would like to see the finished stools too! That is going to be a while at this pace …

Brian – The next steps are likley mortises – lots of mortises … so many mortises (that word looks weird if you type it over and over). Then come tenons – lots of tenons … so many tenons

Mike – Nice quote! Much better than the one I think of “How does one eat an elephant? – One bite at a time”

Ellen – By the time these are done I am going to need to use one to sit down and take a rest!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View sras's profile


4790 posts in 3094 days

#8 posted 04-09-2010 08:38 PM

Thanks Autumn! I have worked with “mahogany” before – a soft and pale wood (not real mahogany). This is my first time working with a good quality mahogany. The wood is beautiful. I hope this project shows it off well (that is the intent ;)

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View OutPutter's profile


1199 posts in 3955 days

#9 posted 04-10-2010 03:51 AM

“Parts is parts.”

One of my favorite quotes seems appropriate here. Good job on the blog and the project so far.

-- Jim

View sras's profile


4790 posts in 3094 days

#10 posted 04-10-2010 08:22 AM

You’re so right Jim – especially when there are 6 copies of each part! It will be fun when the “parts” start to look like stools.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Roger's profile


20923 posts in 2768 days

#11 posted 08-10-2014 12:51 PM

Jim took the text right outta my fingers. lol

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

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