Handy Stool: Episode 2

Handy Stool Episode 2 Keyframe

This is an episode in a free series. Want to watch it? It is free to do so, you just need to log into the site and you can enjoy this video and many other videos we think you will love.

Who is Heath Robinson? We had no idea until Paul mentioned him in this video. In this episode, Paul cuts the hand hole scallops, attaches the bearers to the tops and bores the holes for the legs. This is turning into a delightful, quirky, little handy stool!

Posted in , ,


  1. YrHenSaer on 20 September 2019 at 10:35 am

    Oh dear!
    William Heath Robinson was a humourous illustrator of wacky ideas translated into useless machines that didn’t work.
    Worth a look-up…….

    • Simon Richardson on 20 September 2019 at 12:11 pm

      Google “Heath Robinson” read the worldwidewords.org article for an excellent take on his work.

  2. YrHenSaer on 20 September 2019 at 1:00 pm

    ………I meant to add that the term ‘Heath Robinson’ is one of those instances in the (UK version) of English where the name of a real person is used as an adjective to describe an element of their work affecting modern life – sometimes humourouslly or satirically.
    For example ‘Orwellian’ or ‘Shakespearean’….. there are others
    Heath Robinson’s work usually involved pictures of contrivances of pedals, pulleys, belts, wheels, helicopter blades, umbrellas…… to make a fantastic contraption, hence the term is used, tongue in cheek, to describe an unlikely lash-up to achieve an ordinary task.

  3. Geoff Lynes on 20 September 2019 at 1:16 pm

    How can you not know who Heath Robinson was? I wouldn’t describe his machines as useless, merely unnecessarily complicated for what they achieved but that was the point. Great fun though. As ever, a pleasure to watch Paul work.

    • William Allen on 13 November 2019 at 5:42 pm

      Rube Goldberg and Heath Robinson were contemporaries, across the “pond” as it were. I imagine most Brits have not heard of Rube. There were other’s doing similar things at the time, bit of a zeitgeist

  4. Neil Chambers on 20 September 2019 at 1:46 pm

    He’s well known among the ‘older’ generation (including me!). I have a wonderful book of his illustrations.

  5. Jim Allen on 20 September 2019 at 2:22 pm

    Thanks for this project that teaches making glued up lamination. Would it be just as strong if the wood slats were a bit thinner and more of them to achieve the same thickness? Also, will there be very much spring back once the glue has dried?

    • Izzy Berger on 26 September 2019 at 8:11 am

      Hi Jim,

      Paul says:
      There is almost zero spring back, in fact I couldn’t discern any. And yes, the more laminations you use the stronger it will be.

      Kind Regards,

  6. Bill Hall on 20 September 2019 at 3:07 pm

    I should have used a jig like that when I tried my hand at a 3 legged stool. It didn’t come out too bad but that would have made the leg angles more perfect. Thanks for the tip!

  7. Lynn Bradford on 20 September 2019 at 3:45 pm

    Heath Robinson = Rube Goldberg

    • Farred on 23 September 2019 at 12:44 am

      Someone else remembers!

      • Selva on 23 September 2019 at 1:49 am

        Curiously, looks like lots of us here are old enough to know what “Heath Robinson” means but Paul’s teammates are (i) too young and (ii) don’t read his blog 🙂

  8. Richard Weekes on 20 September 2019 at 8:22 pm

    What a good video. Lots to learn. Please could you remind me
    What material you used for the laminated bearers.
    Thank you for the videos.

  9. Eric Lundholm on 20 September 2019 at 9:39 pm

    Great Christmas gift for the gardener who has everything.

  10. Thomas Maslar on 20 September 2019 at 11:09 pm

    Paul, I very much appreciate that you left raw problem solving in the video. I’m sure you’re aware, but to a newbie, this is fantastic footage for fostering problem solving skills e.g., the seperation of the clamp through the hand hole, the up choke on the boring bit. Good Stuff. Lots of good skills in this build.

  11. tim ziegler on 20 September 2019 at 11:13 pm


    What an inspiration it is watching you drill, with a brace and bit, those precise holes in maple! I am looking forward to building this stool.
    By chance will you be providing a build sheet? Thanks again Paul.

    • Izzy Berger on 25 September 2019 at 3:51 pm

      Hi Tim,

      There won’t be any drawings for this project however there is a cut list on the introduction page.

      Kind Regards,

  12. Richard Brown on 21 September 2019 at 1:53 am

    unviewable. Does not work

    • Graham Chabas on 21 September 2019 at 8:37 am

      If you are talking about the server’s ability to keep up with enough streamed content, I must agree. I can only guess that as I tried to watch this on a Saturday morning right after receiving an email about it, that too many others were also trying to watch at the same time. Shame

    • Ecky H on 21 September 2019 at 9:23 am

      Please describe what happens, when you try to view the video.
      “Does not work” lacks a bit of helpful details.
      Your IT environment (Tablet 8with iOS or Android or …) or “real” computer, operating system, browser type and version, possibly add-ons like adblockers) would be helpful as well to reconstruct the errornous situation.


      PS: I got a “Because of its privacy settings, this video cannot be played here.” error with an actual Firefox (69.0) on Linux. It doesn’t matter, whether I turn off the adblockers (uMatrix and uBlock origin) completely or not, even with turned off the builtin tracking protection. With Konqueror I can view the video.

      • Selva on 21 September 2019 at 6:12 pm

        @eckyh Interesting error about “because of the privacy settings…”. I guess these videos may have vimeo’s domain level privacy enabled to protect them from being embedded on third part sites. If so, that error can be triggered by anything that changes the referer url (in this case woodworkingmasterclasses.com). Check whether firefox is run with any plugin that rewrites the referer and tweak its settings or add exceptions if that’s the case.

        I use “Referer Control” on chrome to filter out third party referers and had to add an exception for this site.

        rbrown: The vimeo troubleshooting page may help (google it)
        I don’t want to add the link here as adding links always triggers “awaiting moderation” on my comments.

        • Ecky H on 21 September 2019 at 9:03 pm

          Thank you so much @selva – the “Spoof the referrer header” setting in uMatrix was the “villain”.
          Now I can stay in Firefox. 🙂


    • Izzy Berger on 25 September 2019 at 3:56 pm

      Hi Richard,

      If you are still having trouble, could you let me know a bit more about what issues you are facing?

      Kind Regards,

  13. aeichorn on 21 September 2019 at 2:22 am

    In the US the reference would be to “Rube Goldberg.” In the 1950’s he drew humorous cartoons and illustrations of “machines that were ingeniously or unnecessarily complicated in design or construction.”

  14. Bob Blarney on 22 September 2019 at 1:16 pm

    If the paper is folded twice into quarters before tracing the curve, then it will be a perfectly symmetrical ovoid when it is unfolded.

  15. Bob Blarney on 22 September 2019 at 1:32 pm

    Heath Robinson? Was he a famous craftsman?

  16. Brian Stormont on 22 September 2019 at 3:25 pm

    When marking the holes for the screws, is it 3/4” from the 3/8” line and then 4” from that 3/4” line, or 4” from the original 3/8” line? In the video it isn’t clear which line is the reference for measuring the 4” distance for the outermost screw holes.

    • Izzy Berger on 26 September 2019 at 8:09 am

      Hi Brian,

      Paul says:
      Yes, it is 3/4” from the 3/8” line and then 4” from that 3/4” line.

      Kind Regards,

  17. Michael Stauffer on 22 September 2019 at 11:32 pm

    Paul. What a great project. However, I’m concerned that you used what appeared to be ordinary white glue to do the laminations. I have been taught that ordinary white glue does not have enough shear strength to overcome the creep that occurs in bent laminations. Your comment please.

    • Brian Stormont on 24 September 2019 at 12:25 am


      Here is a link to a fairly comprehensive study on the potential for glue creep using different types if glue: http://brownellfurniture.com/factors-contributing-to-glue-creep-in-woodworking/ Based on their results, I would think PVA glue (aka white glue) should be fine for the laminations. There are other studies easily found online with using PVA glue in bent laminations for things like rocking chair legs that have gone for years without any signs of creep.

    • Izzy Berger on 26 September 2019 at 8:08 am

      Hi Michael,

      Paul says:
      Whereas this is true for a more structural project, i.e. beam supports and such, in this situation it will hold everything that is placed on it and glue creep will be minimal if any at all.

      Kind Regards,

  18. Michael Stauffer on 24 September 2019 at 3:31 am

    Brian, thanks for referring me to this very interesting article.

  19. Richard 1941 on 25 September 2019 at 1:01 am

    Shocking! I have never seen you using sandpaper or an electric tool until now.

  20. K S on 7 October 2019 at 2:54 pm

    Q: concerning attaching the lamination with screws: Please elaborate why you are not concerned with shrinkage – you said something about “wedges” but I could not follow

    • Izzy Berger on 11 October 2019 at 2:43 pm


      Paul says:

      Because the leg through the two components is a fixed point and any shrinkage has to be from the outer regions towards that fixed point. We have kept the distance to a minimum by splitting the seat which means shrinkage is only over a distance of a few inches instead of the full width of the seat. There is plenty of flex over such a short distance that the seat is most unlikely not to split.

      Kind Regards,

  21. K S on 15 October 2019 at 11:36 am

    To Izzy
    So smaller furniture is usually ok

    Thanks for replying to me


  22. Jason Travis on 23 October 2019 at 4:13 am

    I intend to use #6- 1 1/4” screws to attach the bearers to the seats. Would that be good? I did not see if Paul said what size screw he used.

    • Izzy Berger on 25 October 2019 at 4:36 pm

      Hi Jason,

      Paul says:
      I use the superior European metric system for sizing screws and most US users will not have access to metric sized screws. #6- 1 ¼ will work fine, that is roughly equivalent to 3x30mm screw which are the ones I used.

      Kind Regards,

  23. Kory Karr on 30 April 2020 at 5:03 am

    I don’t have a 1 inch bit for my brace. The largest I have is 3/4″. Would it be advisable to use that and pare down the legs to, say, 1-1/4″? I do have a 1″ spade bit for my cordless drill, but I don’t think its long enough to use an angle-guide like in the video. What would Paul do?

    • Izzy Berger on 30 April 2020 at 4:17 pm


      Paul says:

      I think it gets too thin personally. I couldn’t live without a 1” auger bit so it’s worth looking for one, they’re not very expensive online.

      Kind Regards,

  24. Nissen Eichorn on 28 July 2020 at 3:44 am

    My first project with Paul now and I don’t have a bit brace or auger bits but I do have access to a 1 inch forstner bit besides the difficulty of getting the angle right (the bit is only 3.5 inches long) is there any other issue I should be aware of?

    • Izzy Berger on 3 August 2020 at 9:18 am


      Paul says:
      The forstner bit is not meant for hand use. At best a machine, and at worst a drill driver. The problem is, it is hard to stablise them, especially if you are boring at an angle which, in this case, you would do.

      Kind Regards,

  25. keithc on 20 October 2020 at 11:55 am

    I have a problem with the dimensions. I am not sure what I have misunderstood, but the length of the undercarriage bearers and the width of the top pieces do not seem to match up, especially when taking the distance of the bearers from the leading edge of the top pieces into account. The bearers are 381 mm long. The two top pieces put together are 356 mm in width but have a gap of approximately 20 mm between them and therefore have a total width of 376 mm. But the bearers are placed 25 mm from the leading – wany – edge at the front and back. This adds 50 mm to the total width and would mean that the gap between the two top pieces would be 70 mm in order to accommodate this.
    So my question is: What are the correct dimensions of the undercarriage bearers and the top pieces?



    • Izzy Berger on 15 January 2021 at 12:37 pm

      Hi Keith,

      Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

      We have now updated the cutting list and changed the length of undercarriage bearers to 12 ⅜ “ (314mm).


  26. František Havlůj on 3 April 2021 at 3:55 pm

    Regarding not having the right tools for drilling: this is my first project with Paul as well and I was really intimidated by boring of the holes. I don’t even have a brace, just a cordless drill driver and I have used a spade bit. It worked really, really well — it was fast and the edges are crisp. It was also a lot of fun! (it was not boring, I mean).

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.