Shop Stool Build-Off: Upping the Ante

When the Shop Stool Build-Off was in its infancy – before we’d even thought about having prizes, and long before I started drafting a blog post about the event – several woodworkers on Twitter, myself included, had the idea that it would be fun to have some kind of wager to see who could build the best shop stool in a day.

Our idea was that each of us who wanted to play would toss a tool of ours into the proverbial ring, winner take all. Not just any tool, but a tool that we had either made or customized and was worth approximately $40.

What to Bid?

Here are some suggestions of tools you could bid. The tools should work, but they don’t need to be “boutique quality” (although if you bid with winding sticks, they’d better be pretty nice!). The fact that you made/customized it yourself is what provides the value:

  • a “utility-grade”, shop-made hand plane;
  • a socket chisel with a handle you made;
  • your “old woman’s tooth” router plane;
  • a custom-ground chisel;
  • a wooden spokeshave;
  • a Stanley hand plane with custom tote and knob;
  • a set of shop-made slot screwdrivers;
  • shop-made dovetail layout tool;
  • Magic Square (or other shop-made square);
  • a pair of shop-made handscrews;
  • a fine pair of shop-made winding sticks;
  • a handsaw with shop-made handle, or custom filing;
  • a shop-made bowsaw; or
  • a tool roll that you made.

So that the winner doesn’t get bombarded with a dozen marking gauges or marking knives, I reserve the right to ask you to bid something else (if you want to bid a marking knife, enter right away!). Be creative! Me? I’m might put up my Octagonal Veritas Wheel Marking Gauge.

Veritas Wheel Marking Gauge with Octagonal Head


This part hasn’t been figured out yet. I think it would be cool to get some celebrity judges (who are also objective) to decide the winner. Maybe Michael Fortune, Jeff Miller and Brian Boggs? Or each of us could place one vote and whichever design gets the most votes wins.

The Fine Print

This is done purely by the honour system. We are trusting that you actually will ship your tool if you lose. Be warned that, should you not be the winner, you are responsible for the costs of shipping the tool to the winner and not all the participants live in North America! Choosing a tool that isn’t too big or heavy is probably wise.

Confident?  Want to Up the Ante?

If you want to play, shoot me an e-mail with a picture (or description) of the tool you’re bidding. I will accept submissions until January 20.

8 thoughts on “Shop Stool Build-Off: Upping the Ante

  1. First, I’ll be replicating your octagon marking gauge n short order.
    Second, since we are talking hand crafted items, I assume there would be some lead time allowed, unless it must come out of current stock Monday morning.
    Third, “the best shop stool in a day” would apply to the #SSBO “event” (2ish days?)
    Also, I like the idea of celebrity judges in addition to those contributing to the jackpot having a vote too.

  2. Maybe something that is cross between a Black and Decker Workmate and a jointed stool? A jointed stool with a split top that doubles as a work holding device. I could see that too.

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