Thursday, 9 May 2019

Rustic Stools

I’m currently preparing a course making post and rung stools inspired by Mike Abbott’s book Going With the Grain. These stools are delightful and a great introduction to riving and shaving green wood as well as greenwood joinery. I’m trying to condense it down to a one day course, but I think that might be a bit ambitious. One of the problems here is that the rungs would ideally be dried out overnight before doing the joinery. This means that the mortice in the, still green, legs will shrink slightly as they dry creating a very tight joint with the dried out tenons. If the rungs are not dry enough then the tenons will shrink too and the joint could become loose. I’m experimenting with drying the rungs out in the oven and hoping that the time it takes to make the legs (and to eat lunch) will be enough to bring the moisture content down sufficiently.

One of the things I love about this kind of stool is that you can get pleasing results with less than ideal wood. Most of my wood is salvaged/saved from the tree surgeons chipper. This means that more often than not it has been cut down from an urban setting where it wasn’t competing for light and is therefore not very straight. This can mean bendy grain and lots of knots, which is not really ideal for furniture making.

With this kind of stool it doesn’t really matter, in fact I think it adds to its charm. Wonky legs? Fine. Included knots? Not a problem. These are a great example of functional, user made furniture. Furniture of necessity.

These stools are currently being tested rigorously by my three boys. Sometimes they sit on them, but more often they are launch pads for their indoor acrobatics or construction elements for their dens. They are definitely proving to be functional, but they are also beautiful. Their imperfections make them lively and unique and remind us of the nature of natural materials.