Mahogany Kitchen Stool Project #7: While visions of perfection dance in my head

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Blog entry by sras posted 06-28-2010 04:01 AM 5060 reads 1 time favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: Finding shop time in a busy schedule -or- Making slats & cutting pieces Part 7 of Mahogany Kitchen Stool Project series Part 8: Mortises and tenons - Making progress!! »

I deal with correcting mistakes instead!

It has been quite a while since my last post, but I AM still working on this project. In addition to regular life, we have had a week long vacation, business trips (including 2 weeks in China), a family illness and preparing for RAGBRAI . The shop time has been hard to come by.

I figured this would be a good time to confess and share how I am dealing with this round of unexpected issues.

Dull Bandsaw Blade

I started to shape one side of the back legs. I knew my bandsaw had a dull blade, but I got lazy and told myself that I could just leave a little extra wood. Wrong. The blade took on a twist and curved right past my line. Stopped and bought a new blade (one with a better tooth profile) and the rest of the cuts went fine. But I was stuck with one leg that needed help.

My solution was to flatten out the damaged area and glue a patch on.


After the glue dried, I smoothed the sides. The grain matched quite well.

Glue up

Once I did the final shaping, there is a faint glue line that I think willl nearly disappear once the wood darkens (sorry no pic)

Router Pattern

This one was an act of real poor thinking. I had been shaping several legs and always being careful to turn the router on and off only when it was stable on the template.

Except this ONE time.

I lifted the router while it was on and the bit cut into the pattern :( The solution here was automotive body filler (Bondo).


The filler was applied to the cut and then sanded smooth.

Patched up


The base of the leg flares out and it was not a surprise that I had some chipout. Most of the time, I could find the missing piece and glue it back in. One time I had to make a patch. I squared up the chipped area and flattened it with a sharp chisel.


I found a piece of wood with matching color and glued a block in.

Glue up

Mortises and Tenons

This project has a LOT of mortises and tenons. I took extra time to draw each mortise and then I would check it against my pattern piece.

Foolproof – right?


Every once in a while, I would forget to check a piece against my pattern. As luck would have it, one time I skipped checking was on a part where I had shifted the mortise location 1/2 inch. Back to gluing patches… I came up with a fairly creative soution to apply pressure while the glue dried. Luckily, this particular joint has a tenon shoulder that will completely cover this patch.

Mortise Patch

I managed to cut a tenon or two a little thin. More patches. These are completely hidden inside the mortises. I should point out the black dot on the end of the tenon. This is my technique for preserving the orientation of each piece. The black dot is always in the top right front corner of each piece.

Tenon thickening

The Big One

When I first did the rough cutting of the legs, I had one kick back incident. The only damage was the blade dug into the side of one of the legs. I saved the scrap from shaping the leg to get a good color match.

Blade gouge area

I used my laminate trimmer to create a pocket of even depth. Then I created a paper pattern by rubbing a pencil over the recessed area. I cut a thin slice off my patch piece and placed the pattern to match the grain.

Patch cut

It took a while to get the patch shape to match the cutout area. Lots of hand filing.

Patch shaped

I glued the patch in place with just a little extra thickness. A little sanding and this is what I ended up with. I had hoped for a little better color match, but it is down next to the floor so hopefully it won’t be too big of a distraction.

Final view

I have been cutting a lot of motises and tenons. Not the most thrilling blog material, but I’ll try to show where I am with my next post.

Current time log:

Cutting rough stock: 2 hrs

> Cutting to width and thickness: 4 hrs 20 min
> Cut to final length: 3 hrs 30 min
> Shaping: 5 hrs 50 min
> Mortises: 10 hrs 35 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
> Cut to length: 1 hr 30 min
> Tenon: 13 hrs 20 min

Total so far: 78 hrs 45 min (13+ hrs per stool)

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

11 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117120 posts in 3604 days

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

Some great saves there steve look forward to more .

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View zlatanv's profile


691 posts in 3261 days

#2 posted 06-28-2010 06:01 AM

First time I have seen this series, been busy and haven’t had too much LJ time, great work, can’t wait to see them finished, wood looks great, and nice work on patching.

-- Z, Rockwall, TX

View sras's profile


4811 posts in 3156 days

#3 posted 06-28-2010 06:13 AM

Thanks Jim & Z – hopefully I can give an update without as long a wait as last time!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View ellen35's profile


2738 posts in 3459 days

#4 posted 06-28-2010 12:29 PM

You are the king of patches!
This has been a really nice build.

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

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3361 days

#5 posted 06-28-2010 01:32 PM

Very professional looking fixes Steve. I have been through this myself (many times) and though I feel I can adequately fix almost any mistake I make, oh the time it can suck up! But anytime spent making corrections on those beautiful stools will be worth it, and someday your kids will probably inherit them.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View CaptainSkully's profile


1600 posts in 3585 days

#6 posted 06-28-2010 03:25 PM

Thank you so much for sharing the OOPS! moments. I think that’s what makes this site and it’s contributors so amazing.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View sras's profile


4811 posts in 3156 days

#7 posted 06-28-2010 04:00 PM

Thanks for the comments – as far as I am concerned, it is the unexpected that makes teh story interesting. You are right, Mike fixing them does take a lot of time and I would rather not need to patch things up. Like the title says – I do intend to be perfect, but have learned to deal with the times when I fall short of that vision.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Broglea's profile


685 posts in 3118 days

#8 posted 06-29-2010 02:44 AM

Steve – Thank you for being transparent with your oops moments. I too have many of these fixes on my projects. Today I was doing some work with the router table and didn’t realize the bit had moved up while in the collet without me noticing. I made a pass on the table and you guessed it, had to patch the work piece.

View mafe's profile


11730 posts in 3116 days

#9 posted 10-06-2010 01:34 PM

So cool Steve, wonderful advice.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View rivergirl's profile


3201 posts in 2865 days

#10 posted 10-06-2010 02:27 PM

Wow, you are a patient fellow. I would have just given that project a big kick and chucked it all right into the fireplace. But you persevered, an admirable trait. For me, the nice thing about building rustic live, edge is: oops- hey-that looks pretty good there- oops- rrrrrrrrrr goes the belt sander- awww yes- nice character- chunk chunk pound pound- rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr – okay now if fits just right. Too short? Firewood. Too long? chopsaw. Sand it down- add some tung oil… level those legs and wala… no filler, no patching, no grain matching required. LOL

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

View helluvawreck's profile


31393 posts in 2893 days

#11 posted 10-06-2010 04:53 PM

Enjoyed this post, Steve. Mistakes happen to everybody but sometimes, when they do, it’s also rewarding to repair them the proper way.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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