Mahogany Kitchen Stool Project #9: Seat backs

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Blog entry by sras posted 02-05-2011 04:45 PM 4481 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 8: Mortises and tenons - Making progress!! Part 9 of Mahogany Kitchen Stool Project series Part 10: Corner blocks »

Q: What goes slower than my progress on these stools?

A: My blog on these stools!

I have been making progress. Other projects and Christmas gifts provided distractions. And woodworking is still a hobby and has to wait for when there is time after everything else. I find that I am quite able to let a bigger project like this sit to one side for a few weeks and come back to it when I can.

Next up are the seat backs. The last entry covered fitting the top and bottom rail of the seat back. Now I need to cut the slats to length. I used an insert from my glue up form to align each slat.

Each piece has been numbered for color and grain direction. As I cut them to length I need to transfer the numbers.

To put the mortises in the upper and lower rails, I used the glue up form and fixtured it in the mortiser. The rail is positioned in the form to locate the mortise. The form can slide between two stops to give me the correct width.

Now I need to form tenons on each end of the slats. Again, I use the insert from the glue up form – this time in the tenon jig.

Now I can put the back together for a test fit. Looks good!

BUT – the tenons were a little tight. I did not think much of it until I tried to pull it apart. Not happening. I knew the “use a hammer until it gives up” option was not a good one. It took a while (like a couple days) to figure out out to pull it apart, but I came up with a solution.

After adjusting the tenons for a better fit. I now have seat backs!

There are a lot of angles in this project, but I think the most interesting part is the back. Every part is curved and makes for a very inviting appearance.

Current time log:

Cutting rough stock: 2 hr

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

Seat Back and Back Rest
> Cutting thin stock for laminations: 3 hr 35 min
> Prepping laminations: 8 hr 40 min
> Glue up Laminations: 3 hr 50 min
> Trim Laminated Parts: 2 hr 25 min
> Tenon: 5 hr 10 min
> Mortises: 5 hr 5 min

Back Slats
> Cutting thin stock for laminations: 1 hr 55 min
> Prepping laminations: 3 hr
> Glue up Laminations: 6 hr 5 min
> Trim Laminated Parts: 30 min
> Tenon: 2 hr 50 min

Lower rail parts
> Cut to width and thickness: 10 hr
> Cut to length: 1 hr 30 min
> Mortise: 3 hr 50 min
> Tenon: 23 hr 30 min

Total so far: 108 hr 10 min (18+ hrs per stool)

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

13 comments so far

View ellen35's profile


2738 posts in 3457 days

#1 posted 02-05-2011 05:00 PM

Lookin’ good, Steve!
You will have 6 of the finest stools and can take pride in the fact that YOU made them (not IKEA)!!

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

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3359 days

#2 posted 02-05-2011 05:03 PM

Making chairs is a pretty slow process Steve, except maybe for those that do every day. So I’m not surprised that this project is taking awhile, especially considering all the curvy complexity involved. You have accomplished quite a bit in only 108 hrs. I know these are going to be fantastic stools when they’re finished and you will never want to get rid of them. Great work so far and a wonderful blog too. Can’t wait to see them completed.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View sras's profile


4811 posts in 3154 days

#3 posted 02-05-2011 05:16 PM

Thanks Ellen, You’ll know they are not IKEA if you were to pick one up. They are going to have a nice heavy feel to them.

Thanks Mike, My oldest son teases me with “Those are never going to be finished!” We know better, but they do take a long time. For instance, my weekend in the shop will result in very little time spent on these as other projects take priority.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View shipwright's profile


7992 posts in 2823 days

#4 posted 02-05-2011 07:17 PM

This is amazing Steve. As you started this long before I joined up, I have just discovered it and have just fully enjoyed the whole ride from the start to the present. I applaud your organization, planning and attention to detail. It’s really something to see the process that someone else goes through to arrive at the desired end and your documentation is as complete as anyone could ask. I do things soooo differently. These are sure to be real head turners and will be a source of enjoyment for you every time you enter the kitchen … for the rest of your life.

What a great accomplishment! Congratulations!

I have to stop now or I won’t have anything left to say when you post them as a finished project.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 3132 days

#5 posted 02-05-2011 07:21 PM

That’s OK Steve. Your slow speed helps me keep up as old Arthur Ritis seems to have moved in for the winter. lol I appreciate you thinking of us old cripples and switching to slo-mo. lol

Those tenons are to die for.Man, those are great crisp lines and the curves of the backs. Wow! You guysand gals that make the furniture just amaze me. Rand

View SPalm's profile


5320 posts in 3907 days

#6 posted 02-05-2011 07:57 PM

Like Paul, I had missed this whole series. Very nice.

It looks like it takes you a while, but you get to figure out things as you go. That is part of the fun to me.

You can put a bar or pipe clamp together backwards to spread things apart. Just remember to put them together the right way around before you need them again, or things get confusing :)


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View lew's profile


12102 posts in 3780 days

#7 posted 02-05-2011 09:21 PM


I really got a bunch of ideas from this- especially your use of clamping jigs/procedures, thanks!!

It is amazing how much time a project actually takes. You don’t realize it until you start documenting the hours.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View degoose's profile


7234 posts in 3380 days

#8 posted 02-05-2011 09:38 PM

I have never built a chair nor do I think I will… great to see how you do all the pieces.. fabulously documented…
some of these techniques could be adapted to other projects so thanks for the post…

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View sras's profile


4811 posts in 3154 days

#9 posted 02-05-2011 10:12 PM

Thaks for the comments everyone!

Paul – Likewise, I have learned a lot from what you have shared. I just went bkc and checked – My first post on this blog will be a year old in a few days!

Rand – Stay tuned, I am still behind on the blog and will try to get another entry out soon.

Steve – Thanks – Problem solving is definitely a fun part of woodworking.I had thought about the pipe clamp solution, but all I have is bar clamps that don’t come apart.

Lew – This is the second time I have kept track of hours. The first time I put in about twice as many hours as I had guessed. It is interesting – 108 hours seems like a lokng time, but 18 hours per stool feels pretty good!

Larry – I had tried a chair when I was young – it was pretty wobbly and not much to look at. Gave me a lot of respect for those who make them. I spent a lot of time working this over in my mind. So many ways to screw this up!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View tdv's profile


1188 posts in 3095 days

#10 posted 02-06-2011 01:28 AM

Steve that is really good work I particularly like your innovative use of jigs those are the challenges of woodworking I love the best & what a great result. I’m not good with production work after 2 units I want to get on to the next project so I really admire anyone who has the perseverance to do 6 off
great job

-- God created wood that we may create. Trevor East Yorkshire UK

View sras's profile


4811 posts in 3154 days

#11 posted 02-06-2011 08:02 AM

Trevor – I am actually a lot like you. The only way I would get 6 of these done is to do them all now. If I were asked do to more, I’m not sure that would happen.

Autumn – Thanks! I like your signature line. The shop equipment is the result of years of getting by without and slowly adding pieces. Often when my Dad asks me what I want for my birthday, he chips in for a new tool. That works out every 3 or 4 years…

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Jras's profile


16 posts in 2858 days

#12 posted 02-07-2011 11:42 PM

Nice work Uncle Steve. Those curves are amazing. These would look nice with the bar I’m just getting started with.

View sras's profile


4811 posts in 3154 days

#13 posted 02-08-2011 04:45 AM

Thanks Jras. I’m looking forward to seeing your bar – and maybe take it for a test drive!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

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