Designing My Shop Stool

Register today to participate in the Shop Stool Build-Off. You must register to win a prize!

I find that making a list of criteria sometimes helps me work out a design. Here is my list of criteria I have for my stool:

  • it should be light enough and easy to grasp that I can easily pick it up with one hand;
  • it should be stable enough that it doesn’t topple easily. This can be achieved by having a wide footprint, a low centre of gravity, or a combination of the two;
  • I like to rotate on my stool to reach things beside me. A flat, convex or slightly concave wooden seat would work fine. Alternatively, it could be sculpted for a single sitting orientation and mounted on a pivot;
  • the height should be suitable for working at my bench;
  • a foot rest would be nice to have;
  • it should be durable and adequately sturdy to avoid racking;
  • it should look nicer than my existing one;
  • the design should be simple enough to be built in a single day; and
  • it should be stable and not rock. This is most easily achieved with three legs, but can also be done with (self) levelling feet.

Some goals that you may have for your stool, but I don’t require, might be to:

  • incorporate height adjustment;
  • avoid using screws;
  • include a sculpted seat;
  • incorporate a bent lamination or steam bent parts;
  • have it match your workbench;
  • incorporate metal, acrylic, or upholstery;
  • be low enough to fit under your workbench; or
  • use up those boards of cherry that you’ve been saving.

Starting tomorrow, I’ll share some of my stool designs (I may end up building three stools during the Shop Stool Build-Off!). Also, check out my Pinterest board for more inspiration.

PS: A registered participant of the Shop Stool Build-Off, Jeremy, wrote a post on his own blog about why he’s excited about the build. He also wrote a more technical post on designing a stool. Below, I have included links to his two articles.


8 thoughts on “Designing My Shop Stool

  1. Thanks for the shout in my direction. I can understand the desire to build 3 stools (though that seems ambitious), the more I look at stools, the more things I want to include! (Must resist the urge to invent the frankenstool…)

    1. Jeremy,

      You’re welcome for the links. And thank you for writing those posts! Are there more to come, leading up to the event?

      Not only do I want to build three stools, I want to start NOW! Patience, Chris, patience.


      1. Yes, there are at least 2 more posts, I’m trying up my blog posts to weekly, so look for the first one on the seat mon-tues and then one on structure the following week. I’ll probably also do one on my own personal choices as well prior to the event. I agree with you regarding anticipation. I hope to get out tonight and mock-up a seat design I have in mind that should work well (looks good in CAD) but don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket come build day, considering it’s a bit different, and want it to be comfortable.

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