Mahogany Kitchen Stool Project #16: Assembling 6 stools with pre-finished parts

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Blog entry by sras posted 07-28-2012 07:10 PM 5271 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 15: Jigs for glue up Part 16 of Mahogany Kitchen Stool Project series Part 17: Seat Upholstery »

After I got the parts all finished, I was really excited to do a dry fit and see how everything looked. I didn’t even bother to change into any shop clothes!

As you can see, tongue position is important when dry fitting pre-finished parts.

Before I actually glued up an assembly, I dry fit the stool. The corner blocks are then set in place. The tenons on the corner blocks needed a little fitting to get them into position. Pilot holes for the screws were drilled and then the stool is disassembled. Then I set the parts out to make sure I have everything ready to go.

I also make sure the clamps and clamping jigs are in order.

Gluing up an entire stool at once requires a glue that has a loooonnnng open time. I am using epoxy. I learned about epoxy assembly from building kayaks a few years ago.

This epoxy needs to mixed in a 2:1 ratio (resin:hardener) by volume. You can use pumps to meter out the portions. Others use scales that account for the ratio and density differences. I find it much easier to measure out volumes. I use old pill bottles to do this.

I mark the left one to measure out a single part of the mixture. I then pour water to that level and transfer two parts into the right container and mark that level. I then add one more part and mark that level. I then empty the water out and dry it well. I then add resin to the first mark and hardener to the second mark.

The epoxy needs a structural filler to create strong joints. I also added a little mahogany sanding sawdust to tint the mixture. The entire tub of sawdust was collecting from sanding all the parts . I reserve some of the epoxy to pre-wet the joint and the rest is transferred to a cup and the fillers are added.

I use an acid brush to pre-wet the tenon and the mortise. This is a very thin layer as I do not want to deal with a lot of squeeze out. As I understand it, the pre-wetting allows the wood to absorb some epoxy and helps prevent epoxy being wicked away from the joint.

I then spread the thickened mixture on the walls of the mortise.

The assembly sequence is the same as described in the gluing jig post just before this one. After the parts are clamped, the corner blocks were glued and screwed into position.

The masonite surfaces on the clamping pads worked very well. I had no marks from clamping. There was very little epoxy squeeze out. When this did happen, ithe wax on the parts made clean up quite successful. The final results looks very nice.

I paid close attention to making sure all four legs were in contact with the floor after clamping. I unclamped it and it was rock solid on the shop floor. When I brought the first stool into the house and tried to rock it, there was a slight “tick-tick-tick” as I wiggled it. Rats – not perfect, but close. Shop floor must not be flat. With the next stool, I made sure I found a perfectly flat spot on the shop floor.
The second stool was dead square – even when turning 90 degrees. Brought it into the house and it was rock solid. Then I put it in place the first stool sat – “tick-tick-tick”.

Ah- HA! My kitchen floor is not flat!! The rocking is really slight and goes away when I put my weight on the stool.

They look really nice and are now ready for seats.

They all look good sitting in their final home.

The finishing process took about 11 hours.


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
> Sand & radius edges: 19 hr 35 min
> Oxidize and Final sanding: 3 hr 10 min
> Prep for finish: 1 hr 25 min
> Finish: 12 h 15 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 40 min
> Mortises: 5 hr 30 min
> Sand & radius edges: 6 hr 10 min
> Oxidize and Final sanding: 1 hr 20 min
> Mask & Prep for finish: 20 min
> Finish: 2 h 45 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
> Sand: 7 hr 35 min
> Oxidize and Final sanding: 1 hr 30 min
> Mask & Prep for finish: 40 min
> Finish: 4 hr 35 min

Lower rail parts
> Cut to width and thickness: 10 hr
> Cut to length: 1 hr 30 min
> Mortise: 4 hr 35 min
> Tenon: 28 hr 30 min
> Sand & radius edges: 15 hr 35 min
> Oxidize and Final sanding: 3 hr 40 min
> Mask & Prep for finish: 2 hr 30 min
> Finish: 12 hr 5 min

Corner Blocks
> Cut to size: 1 hr 50 min
> Shape: 1 hr 50 min
> Tenons: 1 hr 15 min
> Holes: 1 hr 30 min

Frame assembly
> Remove Masking Tape: 1 hr 30 min
> Dry Fitting: 4 hr 20 min
> Glue up: 6 hr 50 min

Total so far: 229 hr 5 min (~38 hrs per stool)

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

10 comments so far

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3331 days

#1 posted 07-28-2012 07:33 PM

Well worth the efforts going by the look of them Steve. A beautifully completed project. I will bet that besides being such a good woodworker that you are also a talented engineer. This is pretty apparent from the way you work and the wonderful results you get. Thanks so much for taking us along on your stool building adventure, it was very enjoyable and educational too.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2801 days

#2 posted 07-28-2012 07:55 PM

Oh man, Steve. Wow! Those came out beautifully. Super, super nice. First class furniture for sure. Look forward to seein the seats on em.

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

View whitewulf's profile


454 posts in 2934 days

#3 posted 07-28-2012 09:29 PM

IMHO pre-assembly should always be done before finish. Great job.
i never keep time while working.

-- "ButI'mMuchBetterNow"

View lew's profile


12056 posts in 3753 days

#4 posted 07-28-2012 11:58 PM

They are stunning!
Will they reside in the room where you have them pictured? If so, the contrast of wood colors really makes them the focal point!

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

View Kookaburra's profile


748 posts in 2221 days

#5 posted 07-29-2012 12:22 AM

Those really are beautiful. 38 hours for a nice kitchen stool doesn’t sound so bad, but they time you get 4 done, you have quite an investment in time here. Looks like it was worth it though

I have two that I had made when my house was built. He charged me $500 each and I thought that was a lot, but now I see there was probably much more to the project than I imagined. I knew I couldn’t do it myself, so it was worth it to me.

-- Kay - Just a girl who loves wood.

View JL7's profile


8662 posts in 2962 days

#6 posted 07-29-2012 01:01 AM

Nice work Steve – they are looking great!

-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

View shipwright's profile


7980 posts in 2795 days

#7 posted 07-29-2012 01:50 AM

Bravo Steve !!!

It’s been well worth the wait.
I love your results and I agree with you on mixing by visual volume on the epoxy.
I never trusted the pumps.

I could go on and on but as a great woodworker I know recently posted,

“Stunning, that’s all I’ve got. just stunning.”

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

View sras's profile


4797 posts in 3126 days

#8 posted 07-29-2012 06:15 PM

Thanks for the comments everyone – they mean a lot.

Mike – Thanks – after 30 years of engineering work, it kind of shows up in whatever I do!

Roger – Upholstering the seats is up next. That will be a new experience for me. Then – at last – they can go to work.

whitewulf – Thanks – I kept a time log on one other project and was surprised by how far off my initial guess was. I don’t normally bother with it either, but thought it would be fun for the blog.

lew – Yes, that is where they will live. We’ll have to see if we picked the right color for the fabric!!

Kay – Thanks! I’ll be well into the 40’s by the time the seats are done. I would end up with a pretty low hourly wages at $500 each – but I am not trying to be efficient. It is more about having fun for me. I think you got a pretty fair deal…

Jeff – Thanks – I’m getting there!

Paul – I’m honored to be quoted! <grin>

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View kiefer's profile


5619 posts in 2664 days

#9 posted 07-31-2012 02:43 AM

Labour of love and a beautiful end result (almost ) waiting for the seats .
Patience and attention to perfect fit and detail made these the quality project they are .
Thank you to let us be part of the journey Steve ,I really appreciate it .

-- Kiefer

View sras's profile


4797 posts in 3126 days

#10 posted 07-31-2012 02:11 PM

Thanks kiefer! I am enjoying sharing the journey with all of you.

Now, I am in the learning phases of foam shaping. There is always something new to discover!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

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