Functional for shop use, yet elegant enough for any room in the house, this steady stool combines face turning and spindle turning. Along the way, you’ll learn how easy it is to break down a spindle profile into smaller segments to turn three duplicates.
First, take a seat
1 Bandsaw a 2"-thick blank (we used cherry) to 14" diameter. On the best face, drill a centered 1∕2"-deep hole to fit your screw chuck. If your screw chuck extends farther than 1∕2", shim with a scrap of plywood [Photo A].
2 Mount the blank on the screw chuck. With the lathe at about 500 rpm, use a 3∕8" bowl gouge to flatten the face and turn the circumference round.
3 Shape a round-over along the edge [Photo B]. Then mark the leg locations [Photo C]. 4 With a squarenose scraper, turn a centered recess to fit your 4-jaw chuck. Sand the face, leaving the punch marks intact. 5 Reverse the seat, mounting it by the recess on the bottom face. Flatten the top face, then mark a diameter on the face 11∕8" from the edge. With a bowl gouge, round over the edge between the lines [Photo D]. 6 Shape the seat working from the line to the bottom of the hole drilled for the screw center. Sand the seat, then remove it from the lathe.
Set up for drilling
1 Make the drill-press jig [Drawing 1]. With the two angled cleats attached, place the seat on the jig, aligning a centerpunch dimple with the centerline on the jig. Position the jig on the drill press, and drill [Photo E]. Repeat at the other punch marks.
2 Cut three 2×2×23" legs. Attach the straight fence to the jig and drill a hole in each leg 61∕2" from the bottom [Photo F].
Turn to the legs
1 Mount a leg between centers with the rung hole closest to the headstock. With the lathe at 2,000 rpm use a roughing gouge to round the blank to a 2" cylinder. Then mark lines 1–11 on the blank [Photo G, Drawing 2].
Refer to the blue circled step numbers in Drawing 2 as you follow the instructions below.
Step 1. Using a parting tool, turn a 1"-diameter tenon with a 1∕8" chamfer on the end. Test the tenon’s fit in a hole in the seat as you go.
Steps 2–4. With a skew chisel, cut a 3∕16"deep V 3∕16" wide centered on line 3 [Photo H]. Form a half bead from line 2 to line 3 and a partial bead from line 4 to line 3. Using a spindle roughing gouge, shape an ogee from line 2 to the shoulder of the tenon, leaving the pencil lines intact.
Steps 5–7. At line 5, part to 11∕4" diameter. With a roughing gouge, reduce the diameter between lines 4 and 5 to 13∕4". With a skew chisel, cut 3∕16" wide Vs 3∕16" deep centered on lines 7 and 10 [Photo I]. Make sure you don’t remove lines 8 and 9.
Step 8. Roll a half bead from line 6 into the V at line 7 [Photo J].
Steps 9–10. With a roughing gouge, form the half cove from line 4 to line 5. Then shape the ogee from line 6 to line 5.
Step 11. Switch to a skew to form a partial bead from line 8 to line 7 and from line 9 to 10.
Steps 12–13. Reduce the diameter between lines 8 and 9 to 13∕4". Make a parting cut centered between the Vs to 11∕4" diameter. With a spindle detail gouge, shape a cove between lines 8 and 9 to the depth of the parting cut [Photo K].
Step 14. With a skew chisel, form the half bead from line 11 to line 10.
Steps 15–16. Part the left end of the leg to 1" diameter. Then taper from line 11 to the parting cut. Check the taper for true with a straightedge. Form a 1∕8" chamfer on the end of the leg. Sand the leg smooth, removing the pencil lines.
2 To replicate the profile on the two remaining legs, repeat this process, using a contour gauge as needed [Skill Builder].
Watch a video of the stool being turned. woodmagazine.com/ turnedstool
A The 1∕2" hole depth marks the bottom of the dish on the seat, so make sure your screw chuck extends no farther.
D Working from the face to the line on the edge, round over the top edge of the seat. Maintain the line on the face for use in the next step.
B On the face of the blank, mark a circle 1∕2" from the edge. Mark another line around the circumference 3∕4" from the face. Leave the lines intact as you round over the edge— you'll need the mark on the edge later.
C Lay out a 10"-diameter circle. Without adjusting the compass, place the point on the diameter, and make a mark along the line. Move the compass point to the new mark and repeat until you have six marks. Make an indentation at every other mark with a spring punch.
F Reposition the jig. Center each leg under a to the deepest portion of the hole. 3∕4" Forstner bit, and drill 1" deep, measuring
ECenter a 1" Forstner bit on one of the punch marks on the seat bottom. Clamp the jig in place and drill 11∕4" deep, measured at the deepest portion of the hole.
G Tip! Use centers less than 3∕4" in diameter so you can turn the tenons without damaging your parting tool. Story stick To mark lines 1–11, make an 18"-long story stick with a short hook on the right end to register against the end of the leg. Handsaw a short kerf at each of the eleven dimensions shown in Drawing 2.
H Line 4 Line 2
I Line 11 Line 9 Line 8 Line 6
J Line 8 Line 6