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…

    • Izzy Berger on 17 September 2019 at 1:53 pm

      Hi Chris,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Adding subtitles is something we would love to do but doing it ourselves isn’t something we have found a time-efficient way to do yet. Allowing others to upload subtitles has its complications too. We are going to keep an eye out for any solutions that would let us do this ourselves easily and time-efficiently or solutions that would let us gather community-contributed subtitles. I’m afraid it isn’t something we can do just yet.

      Kind Regards,

  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.

      • Thomas Angle on 14 September 2019 at 5:00 pm

        Thanks for the explanation.

      • YrHenSaer on 27 September 2019 at 10:49 am

        A little extra info.

        The reason that ‘London Plane’ is so-called dates back to the 19th century when much of the newer parts of the West-End were being built and other parts renovated, following the 1851 Great Exhibition. There was an immense building-boom at the time.

        The air in London was foul in those days with smoke and fog – later called ‘smog’. This particular tree was one of the few suitable avenue-trees that would tolerate the air pollution due to the fact that it regularly sheds its outer bark layers. They were planted along streets in their thousands.

        Many of them are replaced and cut down at maturity and the quarter-sawn product is called, in the UK, ‘Lacewood’ due to the radial grain configuration resembling lacework when it is cut in this way.

        That’s the good news……. many wood merchants view the timber from felled, pre-war London trees with suspicion due to the fact that it may contain shrapnel from the Blitz which can wreck their saws.


    • 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.

    • wrstew on 16 September 2019 at 4:25 am

      Thomas, I cannot answer for Paul, but my first thought when I saw the video was to eliminate splitting when driving the wedges to secure the legs. Plywood (which is kind of what is formed by turning the grain 90 degrees) is far less prone to splitting when challenged by wedges. Also a little easier to bend, but I’m sure that isn’t the reason he used it here.

    • Izzy Berger on 18 September 2019 at 8:13 am

      Hi Thomas,

      Paul says:
      To add plywood type strength to the lamination. Sycamore is an acer, so yes they are identified by the same characteristics as maple.

      Kind Regards,

  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.

    • Keith Walton on 17 September 2019 at 4:41 pm

      Trying to get a long flat straight edge the longer sole of the no 5 prolly helps and you can rest the heel of the plane while skewed on the other wing of the curved shape if needed where a 4 might be too small. You really never know though, it could just been sharpened more recently or he could be keeping his no 4 set fine or heavy. I think Paul does good showing you what all you can do with a no 4 alone but he also always had a 5 handy

    • Izzy Berger on 18 September 2019 at 8:16 am

      Hi Jim,

      Paul says:
      In the beginning, I wanted people to understand that if they only had one plane to choose, it should be the number 4. Now that my audience has grown, and we’ve established the number 4 as the most important plane, I’m including the number 5 as an additional option.

      Kind Regards,

  11. 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.

  12. 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?

    • Izzy Berger on 18 September 2019 at 8:14 am


      Paul says:
      Yes, it is basically to teach the technique, although there is nothing wrong with adding in components for added strength.

      Kind Regards,

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

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

  14. 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) .

        • Benoît 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

        • Leon Huynh on 17 September 2019 at 6:20 am

          AFAICT, the short grain layer is to resist torsion on the bearers from the seat. The seat boards are loaded in the middle so the tops of the bearers will want to flex towards each other. This is where the long grain layers on the bearers are weak. Since the load is coming from the seat boards above, that could explain why the short grain layer is above centerline.

    • Izzy Berger on 18 September 2019 at 8:14 am


      Paul says:
      No, not really. It could have been the other way.

      Kind Regards,

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Benoît Van Noten on 16 September 2019 at 5:44 pm

    great lamination for a piano
    here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CO7xWoIRrE0
    starting at about 58″

  19. Andrew Meyer on 17 September 2019 at 4:07 am

    Wha oil is used in the rag in can oiler?

  20. Mark Burns on 17 September 2019 at 4:21 am

    Lovely technique.
    Fantastic Camera work.
    Beautiful to watch such hand-skill operating really sharp tools.

    Most amazing of all is what can happen overnight: the double long-grain laminations that go uppermost into the vee of the caul for glue-up (14.22 – 17.15) end up on the bottom of the vee the following morning!!
    Just teasing.

    I really like the treatment of the ends of the bearers to make them ‘caress’ the seat boards like fingertips.

  21. mcdouglas on 18 September 2019 at 3:48 am

    As to the desireablility of subtitles: Surely a good set of headphones , not earbuds, would be the fix here. I don’t listen to anything off the computer speakers anymore. Why bother with good sound delivered directly to my ears, plus the external sound attenuation provided by headphones make this a no brainer seems to me.

  22. mlowes on 18 September 2019 at 9:14 pm


    I’m just wondering what are the dimensions for the caul?

    Many thank

  23. wdelliott on 19 September 2019 at 8:05 am

    One area of presentation that is a little weaker than all the rest is the stock preparation. I feel that is weak for me as well.

    I might suggest you consider some attention to illustrating stock preparation.


  24. Renea Buchholz on 20 September 2019 at 11:24 pm

    Wow, I am so impressed with this. The laminating and shaping. I can’t wait to try this out. Thank you for your fabulous teaching.


  25. Bob Blarney on 22 September 2019 at 1:51 pm

    Hmm, it might be a good idea to wax or shellac the cauls, in case the glue gets spread around.

  26. Eduardo Martin on 7 October 2019 at 3:09 am

    hesitating to start mine!!!

  27. Julio Machado on 4 March 2022 at 12:34 am

    Olá. Gostei muito do banco. Vou me aventurar a realizar o projeto. Só gostaria que ficasse igual ao do Paul, KKKKKK

  28. Julio Machado on 4 March 2022 at 12:36 am

    Hi. I really liked the bank. I will venture to carry out the project. I just wish it looked like Paul’s.

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