Broken River Joinery

Add lightness…and simplify. -J. Brown

High Backed Stool Part III

Angles, angles, angles. This stool is an exercise in figuring out compound angles.DSCF9627 (1)



From square to octagon.


Deciphering the undercarriage.



Who needs fatigue mats when you have a floor of plane shavings?


The crux.



The essential pre-assembly. I’ll need to size and shape the back rest and spindles and determine the best way to attach the two. At this point, pegged dowels make more sense than trying to bore out mortises in the crest. We’ll see what happens.



Backed High Stool Pt. II

Progress has been somewhat slow on the Backed High Stool project, but I’ll blame my FT job for getting in the way of that. Last time I left off with the laminated Ash crest drying in the form. My first attempt at cold bent lamination. It came out just fine-I could have used a bit more glue and taken more time to ensure that each laminate was completely flat but none-the-less, I was happy with the result. The next one I do, I’ll make about 1/4″ thicker as I feel this one is too thin to mortise the spindle directly into it and so I’ll have to change the design slightly to affix the crest against rather than on top of the stool back spindles.

Here’s the template I’m using to get the basic shape of the stool laid out. I also need to increase the overall size by a few square inches moving forward to better accommodate both the back spindles/crest and arm rest.


All the holes are drilled using the resultant angle method from “Chairmaker’s Notebook”, by Peter Galbert.


And rounding out the edges.


This part is always fun-and a good workout using the travisher and drawknife to shape the seat.


Smoothed out with a little sandpaper. Next up will be shaping the legs and fitting them to the seat and after that, working on the crest spindles and arm rest spindles.


Backed High Stool…or maybe it’s back to high school…

…either way, I’m working on a tall stool with a back/crest rail and armrest and I suspect it’s going to teach me a thing or two. This kind of ups the level a bit as I’ve yet to build a stool that has any kind of back support. Or an armrest for that matter. I’m building this for my mom to use while cooking in the kitchen. The idea is to have something to sit at while working at the center island that’s easy to get in and out of and still provides just the right amount of support without getting in the way. To kind’ve facilitate that, I’m adding an armrest on the right-hand side and although I don’t need to put in a footrest for structural stability, I think it’ll be nice to have one for exactly that-a footrest, otherwise her feet won’t have anywhere to sit. I guess that’s why they call it a footrest…

For material, I’m using a plank of Ash that’s been sitting around for a year or so. I had wanted to use some of the Black Walnut we cut up over a year ago, but as it stands, it’s stacked and stickered at the very bottom and in the far back of our growing woodpile inside our temporary, makeshift air-drying structure a.k.a. the old rusty horse trailer. We are in the process of building a solar kiln and pole barn for storage but until that’s done, the older planks that we cut with the chainsaw mill are left to dry.

So back to the Ash. I really like the idea of building different pieces of furniture from one board/plank. I even came up with a name for this new line of furniture which I’m trademarking right here and now. I call it Whole Tree Furniture or better known as my WTF Line.

The Ash plank was about 72″x9″x2″. Due to the width I had to laminate the seat blank together. From there I rough dimensioned all the pieces on the table saw. My table saw is a work horse but the more I use it the more I convince myself that I’d rather be using only hand tools. Or, or, I could sell it and get a good bandsaw instead. We’ll see what the gods have fated for me. I still have to square everything by hand which will take a few days and a lot of blade sharpening. Here’s my best Cubist representation of a three legged, backed stool with arm rest (what’s up Picasso?):IMG_6578

I wanted to use a curved crest for this particular design and I didn’t want to cut it out of a big square piece of wood with all the requisite waste. So, using the plans from, “The Anarchist’s Design Book”, I built a curved form out of MDF. Again, back to the table saw but secretly wishing for a bandsaw, I cut 5, approximately 1/8″ thick pieces from the Ash to then laminate back together in the MDF form. I may try steam bending down the road but for now I’m trying out cold bent lamination.


And here’s the crest in the form. That’s all the farther I got yesterday-more next Sunday on the progression. That’s a lot of clamps.


Cherry Shaker Meetinghouse Bench

A few months ago I finished up a Cherry wood bench to go with our dining room table but I never took the time to take any final photos. Here’s a few pictures showing the completed piece. 


Finishing Up the Shop Stool

Here’s a few photos of the completed Poplar shop stool with a Danish Soap Flake finish.




Poplar Shop Stool

I’ve needed a tall shop stool for some time-really since I built a workbench. So like, years. My first thought was to make one out of Walnut but I’ve only built two stools to date and given my last stool project, which wasn’t horrible but it wasn’t great either, I thought it best to use a “friendlier” wood, in this case Poplar. Which it turns out is a great wood and fairly easy to work, plus I like the light color, similar to Ash but not quite so hard and of course more economical. I had a nice 7″ wide 8/4 piece of Poplar that I was able to get the legs and top from.

For the legs, I ripped three 2″x2″ 28″ legs and then planed them down into octagonal shapes. From there I did a little work with the spoke shave to taper the bottoms but nothing fancy.


Here’s a shot of the seat after glue up and marking.



Once the legs were shaped (I don’t have a lathe so the octagon shape is significantly easier than the traditional round taper when using a shave horse), I used a 1″ tenon cutter to size up you guessed it, the tenons that will go into the seat.


To rough out the seat shape I used two travishers, one set for a deep cut and the other set for a finer finishing cut and along with the spokeshave, smoothed out the round edges. To get the circle shape of the seat I used a jig saw since I don’t have a bandsaw. Works pretty slick really for a simple cut.


Here’s the stool dry fit. The main error I came up against was in the rake and splay of the legs. I’m doing it all by hand with mirrors, sliding bevels and a hand drill and it’s kinda tricky to get them just right. Will be more careful next time. That’s the great thing about building a shop stool-work out all the kinks and get the experience without the worry of giving a wonky seat to someone.


And glued up with White Oak wedges.


I’m in the process of applying a finish of Danish Soap. I’ve never used it before but I wanted to maintain that almost white finish to the Poplar. It’s a nice clean look. I’ll post finished shots in a few days.

Tools As Extensions


Photo courtesy of Upstater Magazine

Nice, short article on Jessica Wickham of Wickham Solid Wood Studio in Upstater Magazine.

I particularly like this quote from her,“It takes a lifetime to learn to create with these traditional tools,” she says. “They come very rough. You adapt them to your body, your hands, your size—very different from clicking on Amazon to buy a tool and getting it in the mail. The tools become an extension of your body.”

The Long Vertical Rip

In building a shop stool, I’ve decided to take the hand tool route for the whole project, including ripping the legs. You can see from the photo how I’ve set it up here but if memory serves correct, I recall seeing a photo of Toshio Odate ripping a rather long slab of wood, with the wood laying on two low saw horses and him standing above it.

As I was tiring myself out ripping in the manner below, this image came into my mind and it all started to make more sense why you’d want to be ripping a board laying horizontally rather than vertically. So next time, it’s to the low horses (once I build those of course).


Nonetheless, the act of ripping a nearly 3′ piece of wood to a line without deviating is a practice unto itself. I eventually discovered that letting the blade do the majority of the work is much more efficient than trying to forcibly guide the saw. And so 5 years into this woodworking adventure, I’m well aware that it will take a lifetime to come even close to knowing what I’m doing.

New Wooden Car from Toyota

My prayers have been answered. Now if they’d only make one for the Tacoma.

The Setsuna concept car (Picture Toyota)

Low Console Details

Here’s a few photographs of cleaning out and fitting the large, sliding dovetails on the low console. I’m still trying to come up with a design for the base. I’m leaning towards something simple…DSCF9469








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