Handy Stool: Episode 1

Handy Stool Episode 1 Keyframe

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This handy stool is made up of only minimal parts and relies on a unique laminated bearer underneath that holds the two sides of the top together and also supports the legs. In this episode, Paul runs through making and shaping this laminated bearer out of three pieces of long-grain wood with multiple cross-grain pieces inserted in the middle.

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  1. bpower on 13 September 2019 at 11:23 am

    I absolutely love the shaping on the seat supports. I already want to do this project just for that. And I’m also thinking what other projects that can work in. On a good note…. my sister is an avid gardener and would love this stool. I think I found my first Christmas gift of this year. 🙂

    • Michael Geiger on 14 September 2019 at 6:29 am

      I’m thinking of making a small coffee table based on this design. Obviously with a straight top. But the same shaping on the ends of the cross members. Very pleasing shape indeed.

  2. Richard England on 13 September 2019 at 11:58 am

    As always, informative and wonderful in equal measure.

  3. Dale Wysinger on 13 September 2019 at 1:08 pm

    Paul; every time I watch you work, it makes me want to drop my current duties and grab some wood.

    • jvenn on 14 September 2019 at 7:46 pm

      I have already dropped my current woodworking projects, and have begun the Handy Stool. I have the cauls cut, and I have selected the waney wood for the seat. I have made several plain Moravian style stools in the past, but this stool is awesome in design and build. Thank you Paul!

  4. Marie Bouchard on 13 September 2019 at 1:54 pm

    THANK YOU!!! It’s a completely new technic for me!

  5. Chris S on 13 September 2019 at 2:12 pm

    Paul: Love the videos. I do have a slight problem. Due to years of not being provided hearing protection whilst driving my Tube train I now find myself with “bells in the ears” and so loose a lot of the verbal content of your videos. Would it be possible to have sub-titles (cc). I know that some site have this and its auto generated by the site or computer. I don’t know how they do it but it would be very handy if this was possible as I am sure that I miss some of your instruction.
    Regards Chris

    • bytesplice on 13 September 2019 at 3:09 pm

      I would also appreciate CC. While jet noise is the sound the freedom, that freedom often affects hearing (even with ear defenders).

    • Kermit Chamberlin on 13 September 2019 at 6:42 pm

      Too many years of machine woodworking 40+ hours per week and I too could use CC!!! Even wearing hearing protection, there’s still some loss. Age has naught to do with it, of course…

  6. Stephen Zimmermann on 13 September 2019 at 2:14 pm

    Never mind the obvious quality of the tutorial; what great music towards the end!

  7. Mark on 13 September 2019 at 3:41 pm

    Paul you are amazing, love your movies.
    After you ripped that caul I had to pause and go hug my band saw.

  8. Thomas Angle on 13 September 2019 at 4:28 pm

    Why did you cross the grain in the lamination? Also, is the sycamore in the UK similar to maple in the US? Thanks for the nicely done video. Your content is always well made.

    • Larry Geib on 13 September 2019 at 9:25 pm

      There is American sycamore, and also London Plane, in the USA. Both are in the Platanus genus, a close kin to the Acer tribe.
      London plane is thought to be a hybrid of American and Asiatic trees and doesn’t have particularly much to do with London. In England , I think a cousin is called a Plane tree. There are some huge London plane street trees in my neighborhood that look like tree Ents from Tolkien.

      European Sycamore is an Acer and is sometimes called European Maple and is like the Soft maples (Acer) in the USA.
      For most uses, it works a lot like the soft maples. It is softer than Hard maple ( AKA Sugar or Rock maple)

      The difference I see are mostly with the types of figure and Ray flecks they can display, but sometimes I can’t tell the difference.

    • Tim Sparrow on 16 September 2019 at 2:21 am

      The crossed grain in the lamination adds strength and stability, vastly reducing warping, splitting, etc. This is similar to plywood sheets where the grain is alternated each layer to create a very stiff and stable medium.

  9. cagire on 13 September 2019 at 6:32 pm

    30 minutes of shear joy, sitting in my kitchen diner, flooded with autumnal sunshine, listening to Paul’s masterful advice, accompanied by the gentle tapping and sawing in an otherwise blissfully quiet workshop. I will definitely be joining in with this delightful project, using up some of my many salvaged bits of hardwood; white oak boards, perhaps dense mahogany laminates, legs from doubled up plain bull-nosed ash architrave. Sitting upon such a stool will be imbued with a sense of earned gratitude.

  10. JIM CHALOUPKA on 13 September 2019 at 11:00 pm

    Paul, wondering why after all these years of using the number 4 plane, you are using the larger number 5 plane for such a small project.


    • DavidVickery on 14 September 2019 at 9:05 pm

      The plane looks like a 51/2 to me. Not that it matters that much for this. He didn’t just use the #4 “all these years”. He used a wide variety, but usually showed us how to do the work with the assumption that many of us would only have access to the most common #4. Any plane at hand could be used successfully for this work.

  11. JIM CHALOUPKA on 13 September 2019 at 11:02 pm

    Paul, wondering why after all these years of using the number 4 plane, you are using the larger number 5 plane for such a small project.


    After posting my comment I still see it in the “LEAVE A COMENT” box?????


  12. Thomas Maslar on 13 September 2019 at 11:09 pm

    Paul, I am amazed at how much you have learned of woodworking in your years. After all, you were a police officer, as my father– a draining and time consuming occupation that follows you home. I really feel privileged to learn from you in this new age of technology.

  13. Vodkovski on 13 September 2019 at 11:58 pm

    I’m also curious about the purpose of the lamination, as well as, in this case, the value and purpose of the cross laminations. Is it just to teach the technique?

  14. GUSTAVO MASKE on 14 September 2019 at 2:57 am

    A simple masterpiece. Thanks Paul for the knowledge. Looking forward for the new episodes.

  15. rnieuwenhuijs on 14 September 2019 at 8:40 am

    Thank you for showing this technique as a free video. Is there a specific reason you chose to have two long grain layers at the bottom of the bearer?

    • Ecky H on 14 September 2019 at 8:55 am

      I assume because it’s much easier to bend two thin boards than one thick board.
      Compare it to a stack of playing cards: it’s relatively easy to bend it.
      The reason for that effect are the thrusts within the piece of wood.


      • rnieuwenhuijs on 14 September 2019 at 9:55 am

        It would indeed be easier to bend two thin boards than one thick board. I was just wondering why Paul chose to have the ‘thick’ board (i.e. the two long grain boards) at the bottom of the bearer (as opposed to the top of the bearer, or having each cross layer the same thickness) .

        • BenoĂ®t Van Noten on 14 September 2019 at 1:10 pm

          When somebody will sit on the stool those pieces will tend to flex. The bottom will be in traction while the top will be in compression. That is a reason for having the short grain boards above the center line. You will notice that Paul didn’t bother to glue the short board edge to edge as one would do to make a panel.
          The top layer gives a resistance to compression much greater than a short grain layer and contribute to make this lamination some kind of multiply
          The short grain boards, in addition to being decorative, add strength again splitting of the long grain boards that would result from leg induced strain.

          Good engineering in my view.

          interesting doc: https://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/fplgtr/fplgtr113/ch04.pdf

  16. sean rice on 14 September 2019 at 10:03 am

    Hi Paul, thank you so much. Your videos are always inspiring and relaxing to watch in equal measure. I am going to try my hand at those laminations and see how it goes. One step at a time. Thank you again.

  17. Anthony DeRosa on 15 September 2019 at 4:49 pm

    Thank you Paul. Another awesome lesson! I’m all fired up and ready to go.

  18. markgallicano on 15 September 2019 at 8:31 pm

    De havilland Mosquito fuselage and wing skins were fabricated with the same method for the lamination.

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