Mahogany Kitchen Stool Project

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Blog series by sras updated 658 days ago 17 parts 58433 reads 163 comments total

Part 1: Mahogany Kitchen Stool Project

1654 days ago by sras | 19 comments »

Well, here we go. I have been working on the design and preparation of this project for 3 years. The final prototype was just completed. This is my second prototype. The first one was a quick (that is a relative term) mock up to see if I had the size correct. I built this out of scrap 2×4s and screws. Pieces were only roughly shaped. After building this, we determined that it was about a half inch too tall. The second prototype was built as a prelude to actual construction....

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Part 2: Begin Rough Cutting

1653 days ago by sras | 10 comments »

Back in early November, I went to my favorite lumber yard and started looking at what kind of wood to use. I was interested in mahogany, but wanted to check out my options. They had some very nice ribbon mahogany. I went home and gave it some more thought. The next weekend, I made the plunge. I had only one problem, I kept seeing pieces that looked too nice to pass up! I ended up with way more than I needed for this project. I can rationalize it that I saved gas by not making an extra ...

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Part 3: Preparing Lamination Strips

1650 days ago by sras | 9 comments »

There are three curved parts in each stool. These are formed by gluing up thin strips to create a thicker laminated part. The three parts are: 1. Seat Back – 7/8” thick (formed with 5 or 6 strips)2. Back Rest – 7/8” thick (formed with 5 or 6 strips)3. Slats – 3/8” thick (formed with 3 or 4 strips) (5 per stool) As I plan the construction, I start to realize that I have 6 stools with 7 curved parts each. That works out to 42 glue ups. Each one requires...

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Part 4: Setting laminations to final thickness

1648 days ago by sras | 8 comments »

Once I have the 3 lamination blanks cut to width I thickness sand the strips to reach the final dimension. I have tried using my planer, but when the strips get this thin it is easy to end up with damage. I set my ShopSmith up as a disc sander and use a thicknessing jig. I first showed the use of this in a previous blog. There was some interest in a more detailed description so here it is. Here is the setup. Basically it is a 3 1/2 inch tall bullnosed block clamped to the fence. The...

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Part 5: Laminating Seat Back and Back Rest

1636 days ago by sras | 7 comments »

Once I have my strips sanded to thickness, I can cut them and get the five pieces I need for gluing. I have enough material for six so I’ll have a strip left over. There are a couple of cases where I ended up with damage on part of a strip and that sixth piece was nice to have. First, I sort my six long strips and find which end I want to have in the final part. I look for color, grain direction and any character that I might want to have on the outer faces. Then I mark for cutting. ...

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Part 6: Finding shop time in a busy schedule -or- Making slats & cutting pieces

1594 days ago by sras | 11 comments »

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

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Part 7: While visions of perfection dance in my head

1515 days ago by sras | 11 comments »

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...

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Part 8: Mortises and tenons - Making progress!!

1436 days ago by sras | 8 comments »

Summer has flown by. I found a little time here and there to work on the stools. It never seemed like much, but when I look at the result I can see significant progress. I’ll show how I spent my summer (when I was in the shop). Preliminary Leg Shaping Several of the leg pieces shifted shape during the rough cut process. The final shape of the back legs requires some material removal. I decided to shape the side that removed material from the center of the leg. If the wood shifted ...

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Part 9: Seat backs

1292 days ago by sras | 13 comments »

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 bac...

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Part 10: Corner blocks

1070 days ago by sras | 2 comments »

I have two kinds of projects. Some are the smaller ones that get wrapped up in a matter of days or weeks. I do several of these each year. Some are planned while others are done as the need pops up. The others are bigger. They take on a life of their own. They can last for months and years. They get set aside and left gathering dust – sometimes for months. But I don’t mind. I know that I will finish them and I would rather take a few years to complete a project than to have ...

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Part 11: Shaping and sanding

807 days ago by sras | 7 comments »

Shaping and sanding is pretty easy to figure out, so I’ll just share a few of the techniques I used on this project. The back legs still needed to be cut to final shape on one remaining side. The template was clamped onto each leg. The shape is traced onto the leg. Cut on the bandsaw with about 1/16” left. A router with a guide bearing and straight bit made the first pass using the template. Even with multiple passes, I still had an occasional blow o...

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Part 12: Oxidizing for color

788 days ago by sras | 5 comments »

Yes – oxidize. Not stain. Not dye. Alin Dobra posted a very informative blog on using potassium dichromate to cause wood to darken the same way it does when exposed to sunlight. I’ll let you read his entry to learn about the technique. These stools will eventually be sitting around the island in our kitchen. The sun will only land on the top part of the backs and I don’t want them to develop “tan lines”. This was my first experience with the technique. I co...

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Part 13: Mask & Prep for finish

787 days ago by sras | 8 comments »

I have decided to finish each piece before assembly. The benefit is it will be easier to get an even coat all the way to the end of each piece with no internal corners to catch finish. The challenge is in keeping the joints clear of finish and eventually working with finished parts during glue-up. For now, I only need to concern myself with keeping the mortises and tenons free of finish. The tenons were the easy part. I just masked off each one with blue painter’s tape. If I count...

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Part 14: Finish is on - all 9 coats! Plus 2 buffing, wax and polish

769 days ago by sras | 16 comments »

After getting everything set up, the next step was put the finish on! I really like this step, each coat increases the gloss, depth and color. I use a two finish process, both parts are from General Finishes. The first finish is their oil based coat. I wipe the finish on with a piece of cheesecloth. The first coat basically soaks into the wood. Areas where the grain is very tight, even the first coat shows a little gloss. I add more coats until the wood shows a uniform gloss....

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Part 15: Jigs for glue up

764 days ago by sras | 8 comments »

This last weekend was spent setting up the process for assembly and glue up. I had not expected I would spend this much time coming up with a glue up solution. Still, this was a fun puzzle to solve. The first step was to remove the masking tape. It took a while to peel of tape from all 244 tenons! One concern I had with clamping pre-finished parts was damaging the finish. In past times I have had the texture of any padding end up imprinting into the finish. I decided to use a smooth...

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Part 16: Assembling 6 stools with pre-finished parts

753 days ago by sras | 10 comments »

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 sto...

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Part 17: Seat Upholstery

658 days ago by sras | 11 comments »

Confession – I finished the upholstery several weeks ago but have not gotten the blog updated until now. Oh well, everything else about this project has been on its own pace so there is no sense in changing now;) Here we go. The next step is to cut seat blanks. I used a sheet of good quality 3/8 plywood. I printed out a full size pattern. Cut it out on the bandsaw. Sanded it smooth. I then used the first cutout as a pattern for the other 5 seat blanks. ...

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