stool making - trade secrets required

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stool making - trade secrets required

Postby Paul Thornton 2sheds » Tue Sep 06, 2011 6:07 pm

hi,

recently i have come across several outfits offering an "introduction to greenwood working" and making a stool in a day.
how would these guys get around the problem of tenon shrinkage and loose legs?
such a process would suit an impatient fella like me :)

Paul
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Re: stool making - trade secrets required

Postby Ian S » Tue Sep 06, 2011 7:14 pm

Dunno how they would do it, but I will probably be making some rustic stools soon.

1) Use a green-ish halved log for the stool top

2) Drill straight-through holes for the legs

3) Slightly taper the legs so they're a touch oversize, and whack them in to the holes

I've more or less done this to make a bowl mate, and the legs on it are pretty well unshiftable.

As the top dries it will shrink, and this should tighten the legs. If it doesn't and the legs loosen, whack them in to the holes harder. If they protrude through the top, trim them down with a chisel, axe, plane, knife, whatever.

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Re: stool making - trade secrets required

Postby Paul Thornton 2sheds » Tue Sep 06, 2011 7:49 pm

yeah, i ve put legs on many things but am thinking how many people make a lovely stool they are real proud of on a course only to have the legs fall out or if using a top greener than the legs having the top split?

i should fess-up and say myself and a buddy may be running some bushcrafty courses next year but people always seem keen on seating and the use of shavehorses
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Re: stool making - trade secrets required

Postby arth » Wed Sep 07, 2011 6:53 pm

You can use seasoned tenons with green legs or season the sticks in the oven before putting on a tenon.
I always put a a tenon on greenwood and it always stays when dry. My theory on this is the tenon is smaller than the leg so it doesn't shrink as much as the leg. This gives it a tighter fit.
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Re: stool making - trade secrets required

Postby Simon Hartley » Mon Sep 26, 2011 10:32 pm

If people are prepared to pay to be shown how to drill holes in a piece of wood and stick legs in. then good luck to them.
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Re: stool making - trade secrets required

Postby gavin » Tue Sep 27, 2011 9:01 am

Simon Hartley wrote:If people are prepared to pay to be shown how to drill holes in a piece of wood and stick legs in. then good luck to them.


Very definitely people are prepared to pay for hands-on experience, and indeed this is a new product I develop: where punter makes rustic bench or stool under instruction. To develop this idea, I developed a simple system which my wife and our friend Jane used and made 3 rustic benches between them. They are chuffed to bits. Drilling 4 holes at 25 degrees to vertical and 45 degrees to horizontal is far from difficult once you have angle guides and if you have a firm mounting to hold your work. But if - like many women - you never did such a thing before and then find you can use it and admire it and show it off and say I made that myself the result is very happy shed-friends whose confidence is increased, and who will go on to do bolder things.

A 40 inch plank at 2 inches thick costs approx £5 - and you could do it as thin as 1 inch thick. Given a small amount of instruction, a Veritas tenon cutter, and a drill, then when demonstrating at a show I reckon I will find at least 10 punters per day prepared to pay at least £20 to make their own bench, and I suspect £30. Because my show season has now finished, you'll have to wait until next year for my suggestion to be validated. Even better, practice yourself now and see if your benches sell. See if you can interest any passer-by into have having a go themselves under your instruction. It may take them an hour with your help. You don't even need to spend £90 on the tenon cutter to find out - assuming you have draw knife and shave horse and a drill approx 1" diameter.

Many greenwood workers have an ambivalent attitude to getting paid for what they do. That attitude costs them money. I don't say you can get a living at greenwood working, but you will earn much more IF you get public involved. That is what both public and show promoters love - a hands-on experience! My comments are not limited to demonstrations at shows - some of my readers will have punters come into their workspace, and some of those would be willing to pay to make such a bench. I wonder how much money will walk away from you - or me - in the next month that we could have gladly been given?
Gavin Phillips


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Re: stool making - trade secrets required

Postby Simon Hartley » Tue Sep 27, 2011 9:06 pm

Fair enough, but unless you can find a way of making a greenwood stool in a day without either the legs falling out or the top cracking as the wood seasons (as per the OP), it may give a less than favourable impression of what greenwood crafts can achieve.

I am all for getting people in through the door and giving them something to do which they can achieve with no experience. I am just a bit concerned that if the process is cut short to fit the timescale, the punters may end up with something they can only use for a short time, and be less likely to come back to try something more ambitious.
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Re: stool making - trade secrets required

Postby jrccaim » Fri Sep 30, 2011 3:45 am

You can of course make a greenwood stool in a day. Whether it will fall apart later, or not, is another question :). I have done a couple rustic stools. In order for them not to fall apart, I find that you must make tapered tenons and likewise tapered holes. Then you can tap, tap back together as the wood dries. This is a nuisance. It also takes a taper tenon cutter and a ditto reamer. Do not seat it until fully dry.

If your crosspieces are dry you can get away with green legs. The green legs will shrink onto the dry crosspieces. No tapers required anywhere. I also find that if you need to dry tenons in a hurry a gas oven on pilot is just the ticket. Body temperature, 37C. Takes two-three days, but be sure to remove tenons before baking bread :). Bore the holes undersize to the finished tenon diameter, by 0.5mm, and force the crosspiece in with a bar clamp (I think these are called sash cramps in the UK) or a big pipe clamp. The bigger the clamp the better. Of course you can't do +/- 0.5mm holes, but get as tight a fit as you can. Too tight, in fact, so you have to force the tenon into the hole. Look at Mike Abbot's book on chairmaking, same idea. I would instantly forgive you if you used glue in this operation. Purists go ahead and shudder. But not too much glue. A thin layer, put on with an old toothbrush.

Seating is a problem. My current solution is old blue jeans, available everywhere at very nominal prices, or free. You don't care about the odd rent or sprung seam. Cut them up into about 30-40 mm pieces and hem them. Sew them onto the crosspieces. Weave as necessary. When I finish my current stool this winter I'll post it in my blog, [url]chalupyacres.blogspot.com[/url].

I have also seen rustic furniture held together by nails. I draw the line here. No way! Might as well weld the thing out of steel pipe. It would be more honest.
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Re: stool making - trade secrets required

Postby Windsorman » Fri Nov 11, 2011 12:55 pm

Here is how I do it: Make all the parts of green wood. Turn the tennons on the top of the legs. Take a sauce pan full of dry sand, and heat it on top of a hot plate or stove. Set the tennons into the hot sand for about an hour. They will sizzle and boil as the sap leaves the tennon. Remove them, let them cool down and you are ready to drill the proper sized finish hole to except the dry tennon.
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Re: stool making - trade secrets required

Postby Paul Thornton 2sheds » Fri Nov 11, 2011 3:35 pm

Windsorman wrote:Here is how I do it: Make all the parts of green wood. Turn the tennons on the top of the legs. Take a sauce pan full of dry sand, and heat it on top of a hot plate or stove. Set the tennons into the hot sand for about an hour. They will sizzle and boil as the sap leaves the tennon. Remove them, let them cool down and you are ready to drill the proper sized finish hole to except the dry tennon.
Tim


thanks Tim, this sound like a simple enough way of doing it, possible in a woodland setting as well. may well give it a trial run.
next dry weekend i am hoping to have a fire, make charcoal in a bicuit tin and i will put sand it another tin over some embers and see.
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