half a pair of joint stools

half a pair
half a pair

I have two joint stools to finish to go along with a table and joined form I am making. For the seven-foot long table top I opted for quartersawn white oak. So I made the tops of the stools and form from the same material. Yesterday I planed the board for the stool tops. I kept it at double-length to make handling it easier while I planed it flat and dressed the thickness. I decided to keep it that way while I ran the molding too.

 I trimmed it to width, then dressed both faces and trued up the edges. I then crosscut both ends and marked out the middle where I eventually would crosscut it in two.

 I marked out the 7/8” wide thumbnail molding spacing with a marking gauge along both long edges. Then I followed the steps I outlined in the joint stool book for making the molding; a rabbet plane (in this case, a filester) to begin to define the depth, then bevelling off the shape with smooth plane/jointer. I fiddled a little with a hollow plane like what Matt Bickford does; I had the rabbet, then I chamfered that, then ran the hollow a bit. It was just a bit shy of the right size, and was not perfectly fettled. So it served to further rough out the shape, but I still did the final definition with the smooth plane.

filester plane
filester filetster plane
hollow plane
hollow plane


shaping molding
shaping molding

I ran this molding along both edges, then did the two outside ends. Here, I marked the width with a knife and square, rather than a gauge. Then cut it apart and finished each seat with one more molding. Usually I do the end-grain moldings first, but in this case it was worth reversing that order.

quartersawn stock
quartersawn stock

The wood is amazing quality; clear, wide and perfectly quartersawn. Air dried. The next best thing to riven. I then finished shaping the seats, and bored one & fit it on the stool. Just like in the book…. http://www.lostartpress.com/Make_a_Joint_Stool_from_a_Tree_p/bk-majsfat.htm

boring & pegging
boring & pegging

 Now, fresh on the success of “Riven Cedrela” I have the phrase “half-a-pair of joint stools” ringing in my head like “four-and-twenty blackbirds…” so stay tuned. It could be my first nursery rhyme. 

11 thoughts on “half a pair of joint stools

  1. Hi Peter,

    I must tell you that I find all this VERY inspiring!!!

    Thank you for the post.


  2. Are these columns different, as I recall the Salisbury table columns have pronounced entasis. I doubt they ever used a hollows on joint stool edges. Some of the English ones have pronounced faceting.

  3. Peter
    I figure using a large clamp, if you have one, is not alone the the simplest way to peg down a stool seat. I suggest driving two slender awls into the locations of two diagonal posts. Drive them far enough to secures the seat down. You can then bore the other two locatons. The location and angle of the awls are crucial. They should be at the same location and angle as the wooden pags will. After mortising, there is only so much wood below the top of the posts to receive the awls and ultimately the wooden pegs. The awls must have to sit in the center of the unmortised wood below the mortises and also be carefully aligned so that they travel straight down the post below center of the unmortised wood. Sighting across the awls allows you to carefullu bore the first two peg holes. Peg them and leave the pegs proud. Remove the awls from the first two hlles and use the proud pegs to align them. I bow to no one in my admiration and respe for your ability to effectively work in what I refer to as “free space”. Groundlings such as I require a more pedestrian approach.

  4. As much as I enjoy the “On Top of Old Smoky” version, oddly, every time I read the phrase “Riven Cedrela” those two words loop through my brain to the tune of a Dead Milkmen song about… Well, a particularly awesome Chevrolet sport coupe.

  5. Hi Peter,
    I have been prepping the seat boards for a joint stool and a longer joint stool known as a form. At what length does a joint stool become a form?
    Thanks so much,

  6. I think the divide between a stool and a form is one seat versus two seats. So about four feet wide?

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