Handy Stool

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This is the introduction for a free series. Want to watch the whole thing? It is free to do so, you just need to log into the site and you can enjoy this series and many other videos we think you will love.

Introducing the Handy Stool, a versatile piece which includes laminated underbearers and handcrafted, octagonal, cross-wedged legs.

Paul created his first laminated project back in 1967 and has since used lamination throughout his life, creating that which might be impossible without the technique. Combining different techniques into a single project makes us think about other options we might want as we develop our skills and knowledge. Paul has taken methods from his working knowledge of over almost six decades and has come up with this unique design. The skills presented in this project can be used in other projects such as bench seats, occasional tables and so on. Whether placed in the bedroom, living room or put to use when picking your tomatoes in the garden, this would be a perfect addition to any home.

Update to Cutting list 15th January 2020: Changed length of undercarriage bearers to 12 ⅜ “ (314mm)

Top220″ (508mm)7″ (178mm)7/8″ (22.5mm)
Undercarriage Bearers812 ⅜” (314mm)2 3/4″ (70mm)1/4″ (6mm)
Legs417″ (432mm)1 1/2″ (38mm)1 1/2″ (38mm)
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  1. stroland43 on 5 September 2019 at 3:40 pm

    Looking forward to this one Paul.

  2. Jean Claude Peeters on 5 September 2019 at 3:57 pm

    I’m going to make one of those.

    • Jeremy on 12 September 2019 at 11:07 pm

      Cant wait for this one. Going to be making some raised garden beds and this would be a great stool for gardening in them!

  3. Brian Mac Gregor on 5 September 2019 at 4:12 pm


  4. Lynn Bradford on 5 September 2019 at 4:35 pm

    I like that design. Looking forward to it!

  5. Stephen Hillier on 5 September 2019 at 4:47 pm

    Looks like another opportunity to use some of the bits of wood I have cluttering up my garage. Bring it on!

  6. Jim Bartley on 5 September 2019 at 6:59 pm

    Looks great.

  7. Nate Blew on 5 September 2019 at 7:05 pm

    Looks like just the project for me. Thanks Paul and company for sharing your hard earned knowledge.

  8. John Sherman on 5 September 2019 at 7:30 pm

    Hi Paul, I love all the nuances of the build on this stool. Looking forward to working along with you during this project. Cheers!!!

  9. tas on 5 September 2019 at 8:34 pm

    Absolutely lovely
    Thanks Paul cant wait

  10. Andrew Meyer on 5 September 2019 at 10:13 pm

    This looks like it could be a great design for a shower bench made from black locust lumber.

  11. beach512 on 5 September 2019 at 11:02 pm

    Looks great. I will follow along and build one. Very clever design. Looking forward to how the bent lamination is done.
    Thanks for this.

  12. Peter Owens on 6 September 2019 at 12:45 am

    I hope this design along with correct choice of timber will allow the stool to be regularly stood on, load say 100Kg?

    • Andrew Sinclair on 6 September 2019 at 3:54 am

      Not sure it’ll be ideal for that application, given the slope to the two planks and the hole between them. Maybe look at Paul’s other stool designs?

      Nonetheless I’m pretty sure you could make it strong enough, if you use oak for the laminations and perhaps add an extra lamination to the thickness.

      • wrstew on 15 September 2019 at 5:15 pm

        Peter- I would think that if you stood somewhat near the legs whilst going up and down from height the build would be more than sufficient. If you think you might have doubts, I’m sure that a friend or relative would more than love having one. Build, test, report.

    • YrHenSaer on 16 September 2019 at 9:30 am

      @Peter Owens
      It should be possible to adapt the stability of the seat for standing on if you avoid the slope and lay the two horizontal parts out level…….. not sure what that does for the aesthetics of a piece as it’s intended as a seat.

      Ensure that the leg-splay and the loaded centre of gravity is adequate for the amount of reach when you are mounted on it.

      But, as others have said, standing-stool designs and two-level steps are also available.

  13. Travis Metcalf on 6 September 2019 at 2:14 am

    I’m interested to see how the bend in the laminated undercarriage section is formed.

  14. Neil Crook on 6 September 2019 at 5:27 am

    This couldn’t have come at a better time. Our garden needs some new stools for the firepit surround. Great, looking forward to this one!

  15. Carole Burns on 6 September 2019 at 8:26 am

    Thank you so much, great to sit and sketch and many other uses can’t wait.

  16. Tom Davies on 6 September 2019 at 9:42 am

    Lovely design.

  17. Pete on 6 September 2019 at 5:28 pm

    Looks wonderful, Looking forward to this one.

  18. Jim Staton on 6 September 2019 at 9:34 pm

    I’m just starting out wood working so I don’t have bits and pieces laying around. I’ll have to buy the material to make thins but I’m looking forward to giving it a try.

  19. NikonD80 on 6 September 2019 at 9:59 pm

    I don’t need one of these at all, but I don’t care. That’s such a nice looking project that I’m going to build a couple and then worry about finding a use for them afterwards. A really exciting project – can’t wait.

  20. chris10 on 7 September 2019 at 7:49 am

    I love it !

  21. Christopher Johnston on 8 September 2019 at 8:32 pm

    So where is the actual build video then?

    • Paul Rowell on 8 September 2019 at 9:13 pm

      It will be released next week, the normal pattern is for a trailer to be posted a week before the first episode.

  22. jeffdustin on 9 September 2019 at 12:14 am

    Who told you about my tomatoes?

  23. Steve Beck on 13 September 2019 at 6:52 pm

    Great design and useful project! My scrap wood bin is full ; now I put it to good use instead of in the fireplace. Plan on reducing the dimensions to a child’s size for the grandkids. Oh yes and one for myself! Thanks,Paul.

  24. Steve Beck on 13 September 2019 at 6:59 pm

    Great project and so useful! Plan on reducing the dimensions to child’s size for the grandkids.

  25. Terry Wawro on 14 September 2019 at 4:13 pm

    Great project to try. I’ve got the undercarriage laminations glued up and waiting for the next lesson.

    • jvenn on 20 September 2019 at 2:15 am

      I also have the laminations completed, and I have the seat and the legs milled and ready for finishing. I am happily waiting for the next lesson. This is a fantastic project.

  26. Toby Vereker on 4 October 2019 at 11:33 am

    Looks like a morvian stool I made a few years ago which I still have

  27. Eduardo Martin on 7 October 2019 at 2:32 am

    I am starting this stool, eucaliptus grandis is going to be my choice of wood. From pallets I collect on the streets of Buenos Aires.

  28. Michael Campbell on 15 October 2019 at 9:15 pm

    Great project to learn about how minute differences in an angle can affect something. Long story short…I’ll be making another seat and laminated stretchers section since I did not “quite” get my primary leg hole angle jig lined up when I drilled it. Amazing how one corner compounds the angle mistake while the other subtracts from it. I’m not really all that upset since these mistakes are a priceless learning experience which is more important (to me at least) than had it turned out correct the in the first place.

  29. frank vernacchia on 9 February 2020 at 10:39 am

    Love your instruction and manor! My computer skips when I view your videos. Are there hard copies of the variour plans available?

    • Izzy Berger on 10 February 2020 at 8:59 am

      Hi Frank,

      I’m sorry to hear you’re having trouble viewing the videos. Have you tried watching these at a lower resolution? Unfortunately there are no drawings for the Handy Stool.

      Kind Regards,

  30. shane Miller on 21 August 2020 at 8:07 pm

    While waiting for some sapele to arrive to build my cabinet I gained some 35mm oak boards with a good wind over the 8ft length however cutting them to shorter lengths for making the stool reduced the task, after a week of evenings planing a face side then ripping down to thickness planing the reverse side I now have the seat boards and one bearer in the vice glued up, thicknessing the 6mm laminates and planing was also time consuming, with the effort involved to turn this piece out it will be another favoured piece in the house. Suffered some wild grain on one of the oak seat boards and have some tear out any finishing tips on dealing with this.
    I turned the board and planed from the other direction however the tear is too deep to be planed out.
    Very tempted to by a thicknesser now, will i be banned from the forum 🙂

  31. Justin Emrich on 27 September 2020 at 9:53 am

    Great project, loved making it and my Mrs says its a perfect foot stool for watching the TV. I’ve now got to make another one!

  32. Andrew Meyer on 26 March 2021 at 4:05 pm

    I made all the undercarriage bearers for two stools before you changed the dimensions on 15th January 2021. Thus they are 15 in. long instead of 12 3/8. Then, COVID 19 prevented me from proceeding. Can you please provide me with the original instructions for assembling the undercarriage bearers so that the stools can be completed now that I’m able to do it.
    Thank you for your consideration in this matter.

    Andrew Meyer
    [email protected]

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