Simply Resourceful

Simple ways to be more conscious about how we use our resources.

From Chair to Stool

If you are wanting to delve into woodworking, sewing, canning, or other arts that are not as commonly practiced in this modern civilization, you will discover that your friends and family will give you stuff.  I am routinely given stuff such as fabric, wood, clothes that need a button or new elastic, the old fashioned push-style lawnmower, yarn, canning jars, and more.  I enjoy all of these gifts and appreciate everyone's generosity!  Two months ago, a friend gave me a broken chair.  A spindle was broken and a leg was missing.  I don't have a lathe so I couldn't fix it and make it into a chair again.  I've been mulling over what to do with this wood loot, and decided on a small milking stool.  A milking stool is a small, close to the ground, 3-legged stool that a milkmaid (aka farmer) sits on when milking a cow.  These aren't traditionally used anymore now that we have industrialized milking machines, so most often you will find these in antique stores to be used for decoration.

This is a picture of a milking stool my Great Grandpa Harley used until the mid-1950's when he decided to purchase electric milking machines.  It is a family heirloom now and sits on a shelf in my mom's sewing room.  I wonder how many hours my Grandpa sat on this stool??

This picture is the scrap wood I was given.  I asked a few carpenters what wood the chair is made out of.  They suspect it's ash.  I was lucky to have mostly raw wood to work with.  There was only a tiny bit of polyurethane on the legs.

I forgot to take pictures throughout the entire process, but here are the steps: 

1. Draw your circle on a piece of paper or directly on the wood you are going to cut.  (My stool seat is 11 inches in diameter and the legs are 8.5 inches tall.)
2.  Using a jigsaw, cut out the circle.
3. Using a protractor, make 3 marks 120 degrees from each other on the top-side of the stool, 1.25 inches from the outer edge of the stool seat.  These marks are for the stool legs. 
4. Tilt the drill press to 10 degrees and drill the three holes.  My stool legs are 1 inch in diameter so I used a 1 inch spade drill bit. 
5.  This step is for making the legs of your stool.  Even though I used the legs from the broken chair, I did have to shape the ends so they would fit through the holes in the stool seat.  I used the bench sander and orbital sander to accomplish this. (Note, the legs will stick through the top of the seat, this is okay, the excess will be sanded of later.)
6.  Cut the bottoms of the legs using a chop saw tilted at 10 degrees.  This will ensure your legs sit flat on the floor. 
7.  Sand everything smooth and round the edges of the stool seat.  An orbital sander works great for this.  Depending on the type of wood you use, a router may be necessary for the stool edge.  The wood I was working with was a soft wood, so the orbital sander did just fine rounding the edge.
8.  Use wood glue to secure the legs in the stool.  A tenon wedge is optional.  (I didn't do this.)
9.  Sand the legs sticking through the top of the stool so the surface is flat. 
10.  Seal the wood.  I used a beeswax & linseed oil mixture (Tried and True brand). 


Anonymous June 1, 2011 at 6:21 PM  

Great job on the "milk Stool" Grandpa Harley would be proud! I love all of the pictures of your crafts. All those years of watching me create things has inspired you beyond so many things I have tried. Keep creating!

About this blog

A weekly update on our adventures of trying to be more self-sufficient by using resources wisely. We explore a variety of topics that most broadly fit in the "Homesteading" category, i.e. beekeeping, organic gardening, edible landscaping/fruit forest, food preservation/canning, woodworking, soap-making, and environmental stewardship.

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