Two Staked Wooden Stools from The Anarchist’s Design Book

I love staked wooden chairs and I want to learn how to make them, so I picked up The Anarchist’s Design Book from Lost Art Press. All of their books are top-notch and I highly recommend them. Christopher Schwarz’s introduction on what he means by “anarchist” resonates deeply with me.

I figured I’d start small and work my way up: Make a low stool, then a high stool, then try one of the simpler armless chairs before going all-in on a staked arm chair.

Low Stool

First, I had to make some concessions: I used Douglas Fir instead of hardwood for the seat because it was all I had on-hand and we were in the depths of the pandemic. I had a few 2x12s sitting in the rafters of my shed. I wanted to avoid a glue up, so I made the seat a bit smaller than the plans.

Second, after I had the thing made and was flipping through the book again, a tiny slip of paper fell out. It read “Errata.” Sure enough, it was about the low stool. The angles of the legs were off, so mine looks pretty different from the plans. Oh, well. I learned a lot in the process and it made the second one easier.

Glue up!
Finished stool.

High Stool

I learned a lot while making the low stool, especially about shaping the legs and cutting the tenons on them, so I was a more confident on this one and it went faster.

Checking to see if the holes I drilled for the spreaders line up. Looks good to me!

The perils of pine: Sometimes breaks happen. Always make extra legs.

Bummer.
Dry fit pre-glue up.
Post glue-up, pre-trimming, pre-finishing.

Here are the finished stools!

I finished both with boiled linseed oil and beeswax.

The low stool lives in my office as a small side table next to my reading chair, where it is often adorned with books and coffee. The high stool lives in my shop and I use it every time I’m in there, whether while carving, working at the bench, or just taking a break. We often pull it out and use it as a s’mores station by the campfire, too.

What’s next?

I’m planning on making another low stool with a hardwood seat. I have both Cherry and Oak right now and can do a glue-up.

After that, I want to make a staked back chair without arms. Working my way up!

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  • Chuck Grimmett

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