This past weekend I participated in the Flair Woodworks shop stool build off – http://flairwoodworks.com/shop-stool-build-off/
Started Saturday 1/25/2014 at around 9am PDT.
Finished Sunday 1/26/2014 at around 6pm PDT.
I have been pondering making a shop stool for a while now and the Flair Woodworks challenge was the right motivation required to get me going. I made some bar stools more than 20 years ago and I wanted to make something in the same style. I often have a need to work on something at a height lower than my workbench. For example, if I want to cut something with a hand saw I like to lean over it and secure it with my knee. I have a work mate, but that is just a little too high so my plan was to make a stool which could also double as a mini work mate or mini workbench. I also wanted my stool to double as a mini step ladder, allowing me to stand on it to grab something out of my storage cabinets or pack something away. I did not want to take one giant step up onto the stool so I needed a way to climb up.
Download the Workbench Stool sketchup model -> workbench stool
What I came up with is a bar stool type shop stool with a laminated work bench top, integrated home made vise and a flip down step to help climb on top. I wanted the stool to be as sturdy as possible, able to hold a lot of weight (at least 180 pounds while I am standing on it), have a really sturdy base and top so that I can take smaller projects down onto it from my regular work bench and pound away on them without fear of damaging the stool.
The legs were cut to 1.75″ thick and the top ended up at around 2.25″ thick. Since it is a shop project, I figured I would use all scrap wood from the shop to build it. Last year I broke down a crate that was earmarked for the trash and figured I would save the lumber for shop projects. The crate was made out of mostly some kind of really hard pine and, in this case, turned out to be perfect lumber for this project. The bottom pallet contained three 4×4’s and I figured I would cut these down to 2×2 rough to get to a final dimension of around 1.75″ square for the legs. With two 1.5″ laminated off cuts from 2 of the three 4×4’s I was able to get my 4th leg.
The top was laminated from the remaining offcuts from the 4×4’x and some other pieces of douglas fir dimensional lumber I had on hand (hence the different colors of yellow and red in the top). For the vise, I used a piece of poplar for the jaws (green colors working their way in), cherry for the vise screw, hickory from some broken drumsticks for the vise guide bars and some scrap oak for the handle.
While I did some prep work before hand (laminating the top and cutting parts for the vise), I did not get everything ready beforehand to be able to complete the build in one day. I spent a lot of time waiting for glue to dry and while I did perform some other tasks while waiting, it did mean that my build extended into Sunday as well. Also, when I shaped my top on day 1 of the build, I used a router circle cutting jig to cut the first 1/2″ deep pattern. I then trimmed the top on the band saw and used a flush trim bit in my router table to get everything to final shape. When coming in with the clean up pass on the router table the bit caught on some reverse direction end grain and tore a chunk out of one strip in the top. I had to then perform a patch up repair on build day which took a significant amount of time. Overall though the build went very smoothly and I did not run into any major snags.
Build pictures below, video coming shortly.
shop stool build off, a set on Flickr.