Finishing Up Milky Way 3-Legged Stool

I finished the 3-Legged Milking Stool this weekend, i.e. the Milky Way. This was my second stool that I’ve built and my first solo stool/chair build from initial drawings to last coat of oil. It unsurprisingly looks similar to the stool I built at the workshop with Fabian at ffhandcrafts in August. Using Walnut for the seat and Ash for the legs adds to the likeness. I did however use Cherry for the stretchers on this most recent one. More important for the design in this case was making sure I remembered all the steps from that first build.

On a side note, when I first started woodworking, I faithfully studied and executed an already published project with it’s set of plans. For the stool build with Fabian, it was entirely teacher to student instructions (no written word/sketches/cut list/etc). And for this second round, it was almost entirely from memory, save for a few very helpful suggestions out of Peter Galbert’s, “The Chairmaker’s Notebook”. As I spend more time in the workshop, that evolution towards being able to complete a project from start to finish with only the ideas in one’s head, is supremely satisfying.

Moving forward I plan on continuing the exploration of stools, chairs, benches, i.e. things we sit on and ideally develop an aesthetic that is uniquely mine. And that comes with time and practice and a comfort level with the building techniques themselves. For example on this build of the second stool I’ll share a list of things I screwed up on and that I will happily live with as long as the stool supports me, as it is doing now, along with the table that I built a few years ago. And there is something to be said for being able to sit down to a home-cooked meal at a table and chair built with one’s own hands.

List of screw-ups on build #2:

  • drilled three holes for the tenon of the back leg-1st one was too close to the edge, 2nd one was the opposite rake, and the 3rd one was just right.
  • the seat bowl was scooped out too deeply. it’s still comfortable but not a smooth enough transition to the where the sitter’s legs drop off…
  • …which leads to the next design flaw where the sitter’s leg drop off was not properly faired for comfort.
  • the seat itself leans too far back and I should have adjusted this more carefully when shortening/leveling the legs.
  • the stretchers and tenons were not properly positioned to accept the wedges in a symmetrical fashion.
  • the legs were not shaped correctly so they look a little wonky and the stretchers are not as straight as they could be.

All these mistakes are ever present in my mind and will not be making an appearance in the stool. Which I will start on in November-time for some shop improvements first. And after this 3rd stool, I hope to venture into the next step of putting a back on and building my first chair.

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