Sculpted Walnut Stool – Beginnings

Walnut slab broken down for easier hauling and handling

In 2013 I built a sculpted stool based on Charles Brock’s Bow Tie plans. It has received many positive comments over the years. Now I am revisiting that project as a gift for a friend. I found a large slab of walnut at Santa Barbara’s LocalWood.net. Rob Bjorklund operates this business high in the Santa Ynez foothills along the old pass road. You may wish to use the link to learn more about his operation.

I was able to find the components in the longer/narrower sub-slab. The many artifacts including extensive worm holes may cause me to change the selections as I cut into the material. We shall see. Worm holes can be small on the surface and lead to major cavities as you dig further.

Stool with lumbar support, 2013

This “simple” stool [photo on left is the first version] consists of four legs, a seat and a back rest. Easy. But the joinery is more complex than traditional mortise and tenons or dovetails. Then the fun part is sculpting. I will finally be able to use my Claire Minihan travisher that has patiently awaited its first serious mission.

I marked the components then used a jig saw for rough cuts. When possible they are well over-sized to allow adjustments. These elements were further cleaned up at the band saw. 

First up is the seat consisting of five elements. One face and one edge were jointed. The center seat section (S3) was too wide for my six-inch jointer so I jointed it with some overhang. That proud material was brought to jointed face level with hand plane. A power planer let me create flat reference faces and the table saw used to rip the opposing edges. To save material I did not make the faces perfect, just clean enough to work on the joinery. There is no need for super clean surfaces with all the shaping to follow.

After this milling I restaged the seat components and identified orientations for subsequent steps.

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