The Shop Stool Build-Off

Eleven months ago, two planemakers decided to each build a scrub plane simultaneously and share progress pictures along the way. It was later dubbed the Scrub Plane Build-Off. The two planemakers were Scott Meek and I.

The Inspiration

On Saturday, I was tidying up in the shop and noticed that my shop stool was in sad shape. I bought it many years ago from a department store and, while it has served me well, I’ve never been entirely happy with it.

I took a picture and announced that building a replacement would likely be the first live build of the new year.


Neil Cronk shared a photo of his very similar-looking stool, which he was also eager to replace, apparently.

Neil's Stool
Neil Cronk’s workshop stool

I proposed that we have a shop stool build-off and before long, a handful of other woodworkers agreed to join us.

The Shop Stool Build-Off: Saturday January 25

The idea of this build-off is to have a group of woodworkers simultaneously build a shop stool and share pictures along the way. I plan to share my progress on Twitter and Facebook through my Tumblr page. I encourage you to join me and build and share your own shop stool on January 25.

There are no rules. You can work from plans or you can design on the fly. You can use complicated joinery or simply cut a tree stump to an appropriate height. You can start with rough lumber, pre-milled boards, or even steel. One great thing about a shop stool is that the design possibilities are endless and the pressure to do the finest work isn’t there (at least for me).

The official start is Saturday, January 25th at 8 am Pacific (that’s 8 am for me, 10 am for Jim in Wisconsin, 11 am for Anthony in Ottawa and Rusty in New Jersey, noon for Neil in Nova Scotia and 4 pm for Jamie in the UK.), but if you wish to participate, you don’t have to start at that time. I hope to finish my stool in one day, but the build-off will carry on through Sunday if required.

After the stools are complete, I would like to share everybody’s work here on my blog. I’m really excited about the Shop Stool Build-Off!


12 thoughts on “The Shop Stool Build-Off

      1. I will do my best to do that. I’m trying to get my blog going on a much more regular basis. I have trouble stopping for pictures, but I’m really going to make an effort for this project. I will post on twitter, Facebook, and my blog. I’m really looking forward to this!

  1. Worse than you,I have 4 of those stools! I’m in for this, it’ll fit right after a couple big projects and before vacation. I’ve already got 3-4 design directions to go. Perhaps in the weeks leading up to the build, some design concepts could be shared to spark ideas and avoid the “doh! I should have thought of that!”

  2. I’m game. I might be at work that day, if so I’ll go with my own timeline. Paul Sellers was talking about a shop stool not too long ago, and it has had me thinking about one. I haven’t had one since I threw out my IKEA model a couple years ago. It will be fun to see how much participation this gets and the cool ideas everyone comes up with!

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