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This understated design is at home in any setting.
When it came time to replace the dated and worn bar stools at our kitchen island, I wanted something simple, sturdy and elegant and so I took a few design cues from the Torii gates marking entrances to Shinto shrines in Japan. The curved tops and simple lines of these beautiful thresholds provide the perfect inspiration for a streamlined stool that looks at home with any décor.
Start With the Seat
The heart of this stool is the simple, shapely seat. This will be a visual focal point of the finished stool, so choose a species that looks good and doesn’t split easily. I used
poplar. It’s inexpensive and, as a “softer” hardwood, it makes strong, workable chair seats.
Begin with a slab of 8/4 lumber. Square and flatten all faces, edges and ends to final measurements of 171/2” x 91/4” x 17/8” before laying out the four leg mortises. These four points are located on the bottom of the seat, 2″ in from the front and back and 21/2” in from each end. Use a straightedge to connect the points along the front and back of the seat and draw sightlines at 30° from each of the four points toward the center of the seat using the connecting line as a reference.
The mortises are bored at compound angles giving the legs an eye-pleasing rake and splay. This increases stability, keeping the finished stool from tipping in any direction. To account for this rake and splay without dusting off your high-school trigonometry, use a 30° sightline and 12° resultant angle. Begin by marking drill…
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