Shop Stools, Revisited on

It’s official! I’m now a contributor to the Craftsy woodworking blog.

My first article, fittingly, is about shop stools. In the article, I discuss some basic principles that make a good shop stool, then provide some practical ideas backed up by photos from the Shop Stool Build-Off.

Read the article on the Craftsy Woodworking Blog.

Craftsy Blog

Results from the Shop Stool Build-Off

This is a long post because there are lots of prize winners for the Shop Stool Build-Off! If you are listed as a winner, but have not received an e-mail from me, please contact me to organize the delivery of your prize!

Thank you to all the participants, sponsors, judges, and everyone who voted. Nearly 750 votes from readers of my blog were tallied and the Shop Stool Build-Off was a success well beyond anything that I had imagined!


Please visit the websites of the sponsors and check out the prizes they have provided:


I hand-picked a panel of judges to evaluate the stools on a variety of criteria with which I provided them. Their job was not easy and they deserve a big “thank you”!

Andrew Coholic’s CNC-cut shop stool earned the title of Best Concept Among Canadian Stools and won him a Shockwave Drilling & Driving 35-piece Bit Set from Milwaukee Tool.

Andrew Coholic with Shop Stool

Forty-two percent of judges agreed that Alex Leslie’s T-stool was The Most Daring Design and for that, he won a 1-year subscription to Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement from Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement Magazine.

He had an interesting description of his design, too.

The art of balancing and pivoting on this stool keeps the user alert and awake. If one dozes off, the resulting fall will either awaken the user or cause more prolonged unconsciousness.


David Picciuto’s clean-looking plywood stool joined with pocket hold screws was judged as having the Best Use of Materials, earning him a Set of 3″ Bench Dogs from Time Warp Tool Works.

David Picciuto with Shop Stool

Danny Siggers’s design was voted the Most Innovative Among Canadian Stools. For that, he won a Shockwave Drilling & Driving 35-piece Bit Set from Milwaukee Tool.

Danny Siggers with Shop Stool

Sixty-three percent of the judges thought that Chris Salter’s description of his stool was the Most Critical, with the Best Attitude. For that, he was awarded a 1-Year Membership to The Wood Whisperer Guild courtesy of Marc Spagnuolo. His description was also one of the most entertaining:

Is there a “painfully amateur” category? Cuz if so, I’m totally rockin’ that. Otherwise you can probably use my entry as a dire warning for others. :-) Still – a ton of fun.

A few words about my stool: Look, it’s a terrible stool. I’m confident that it’s the worst of the build-off by far, but I don’t care because my whole reason for joining in was to have fun, try new things, and learn. By those criteria, I definitely succeeded.

Rock on, Chris! I love your attitude and willingness to push your abilities.

Chris Salter with Shop Stool

Judges decided that Jonathan Gunderlach’s wild-looking stool earned the title of Best Representing Hand Work, and awarded him his choice of any 1 semester of The Hand Tool School from The Hand Tool School.

Jonathan Gunderlach with Shop Stool

The triangular intersection of mortise and tenon joints employed by Sean Wisniewski earned him 38% of the judges’ votes for Most Impressive Joinery and a 1-year subscription (or extension) to Popular Woodworking Magazine, courtesy of Popular Woodworking.

Sean Wisniewski with Shop Stool

Ryan Sparreboom’s burl-seat stool attracted 60% of the votes for the Best Use of Materials Among Canadian Stools and earned him a Shockwave Drilling & Driving 35-piece Bit Set from Milwaukee Tool.

His stool also edged out Jonathan Gunderlach’s as the Most Organic and for that, he won a Set of 3″ Bench Dogs from Time Warp Tool Works.

Ryan Sparreboom with Shop Stool

On the international level, 15% of the judges also thought Alexandre Guertin’s stool was the Most Inspiring, so he also earned a Make a Wooden Smoothing Plane with Scott Meek DVD from Scott Meek Woodworks.

Naturally, that made his design the Most Inspiring Canadian Stool as well, so he won a Shockwave Drilling & Driving 35-piece Bit Set from Milwaukee Tool, too.

Judges also voted his stool as the Second-Best Canadian Stool, so he will receive a  Porter Cable 20V Lithium Ion Drill from Black & Decker.

Alexandre Guertin with Shop Stool

Jim Dillon won a copy of Marc Spagnuolo’s book, Hybrid Woodworking, courtesy of Popular Woodworking for these two updates which Best Defined “Hybrid Woodworking“.

Jim’s stool was also deemed to have the Best Concept, earning him a Set of 3″ Bench Dogs from Time Warp Tool Works


The judges loved the creativeness and ingenuity shown by Trevor Green. His stool with vise and folding step earned him 57% of judges’ votes for the Most Innovative Design and a signed copy of Quality is Contagious: John Economaki & Bridge City Tool Works, 36 Years Through the Lens of Joe Felzman courtesy of Bridge City Tool Works.

Trevor Green with Shop Stool

With an impressive 8% of all votes from the public, Jamie Hubbard’s elegant, adjustable-height stool is the Flair Woodworks Reader’s #3 Choice. Microjig will be sending him a GRR-Rip Block (GB-1).

Jamie Hubbard with Shop Stool

Garnering 15% of the official judges’ votes and 13% of the readers’ votes, Sean Rubino’s stool won a Spokeshave kit from Hock Tools and Advanced GRR-RIPPER (GR-2000) from Microjig as the Second Best Stool Overall and Flair Woodworks Reader’s #2 Choice.

Sean Rubino with Shop Stool

The big winner was a stool which stood out in design and quality of craftsmanship. It won:

*Because this is a duplicate prize, the item was awarded to the runner-up in the category.

The winning stool design belongs to Neil Cronk.

Neil Cronk with Shop Stool

Remember that you can view all the stools from this page. Click on any number to view the stool and read about it.

Subscribe to my blog using the form at the bottom of every page for updates from, including information about the next Flair Woodworks Build-Off!

Vote for Your Favourite Shop Stools

Well, the soft deadline for submissions has passed and all the entries that were on time are now up on my website. (You can still submit your stool and I’ll post it when I have time.)

It’s the Judges’ Turn Now

I have organized a number of categories and put together a panel of esteemed judges to determine the winners. (As a participant, I am not eligible to be a judge.)

The Judges Don’t Have All the Power

You get to vote for the Flair Woodworks Reader’s Choice. Have a look the entries, pick out your favourite three and submit your ballot using the form below. You have until the end of February 9th to vote.


Voting Ballot

Live Builds Show that Woodworking is Not Without Hiccups

Did you build a shop stool this weekend? Remember to e-mail it to me following the guidelines. I will send you an e-mail to confirm that I’ve received your submission.

Saturday, as I built my shop stool, I monitored the other builds being documented on Twitter. I have gathered some of my favourite tweets and some of the ones that showed the adversity that builders faced.

Some of the Best Tweets

Live Woodworking Shows Real Adversity

My New Shop Stool

I am working on assembling an elite group of judges for the Shop Stool Build-Off. There are many categories and lots of prizes so everybody has a fair chance of winning something.

For a chance of winning a prize, make sure you submit your stool by the end of Tuesday, January 28.  Here is my entry, as per the submission guidelines:

My stool is 24-1/2″ high. The seat is 13″ diameter and the legs are splayed, so the footprint is 16″.

I used Western maple for the legs and butternut for the seat.

The build was documented here:

I had originally intended to angle the legs so they crossed in the middle (Plan B), but I didn’t cut them at the right angle, so the footprint ended up being too small. I ended up cutting off the angled tops and using straight legs instead – my Plan A.5, as I called it.

I used dado and rabbet joinery to connect the legs to the seat, which I shaped into a concave shape with a carving gouge. I left the texture of the carving gouge on the surface for decoration. It does not detract from the comfort. The stool is very solid and comfortable. Although I was initially disappointed that my crossed-leg design didn’t work out this time, I am very happy with the result.

Shop StoolShop Stool Seat Detail

How to Enter the Shop Stool Build-Off

First, here are some numbers:

  • 83 people have registered for the Shop Stool Build-Off;
  • 10 different social media platforms will be used (at least) to document the builds;
  • 10 different countries are represented; and
  • 12 sponsors have provided 22 prizes.

To be eligible to win a prize, send an e-mail to by end of day Tuesday, January 28 containing:

  1. one or two photos of your completed shop stool (please label the files using your name – mine will be titled ChrisWong1.jpg and ChrisWong2.jpg);
  2. overall dimensions of your stool;
  3. a list of the materials used; and
  4. a link to where you shared your build.

You can also include:

  1. a sentence or two about your greatest challenge during the build
  2. up to 300 words about the stool, your inspiration, construction techniques etc; and
  3. a suggestion of what to make for the next Build-Off.

Oh, I am so looking forward to the weekend, and seeing what everyone is creating!

Shop Stool Build-Off Participants

The Shop Stool Build-Off starts this Saturday!

These are the people who have registered for the Shop Stool Build-Off, and the websites where they intend to share their progress are linked to the best of my ability. Registrants are sorted alphabetically by first name into two categories.

100% Committed:

  1. Alex Garcia
  2. Alex Leslie
  3. Alexander Karu
    1. Facebook
  4. Anthony Wilson
  5. Brian Eve
  6. Chad Sanders
  7. Charles Anderson
    1. On the forum, I think.
  8. Chris Jemmett
    1. Facebook
  9. Chris Salter
  10. Chris Wong
  11. Craig Patno
  12. Dave Kleindienst
  13. David Holcomb
  14. Derek Olson
  15. Don Dunahoo
    1. Facebook
  16. Eric
  17. Eric Bushee
  18. Fr. Thomas Bailey, OSB
  19. George Anderson
    1. Facebook
  20. Jamie Hubbard
  21. Jean Roy
  22. Jeff
  23. Jeff Morton
  24. Jeff Weeks
    2. possibly
  25. Jeremy Wright
  26. Jerome Sidley
  27. Jim Dillon
  28. Joe McGlynn
  29. Jonas Jensen
  30. Josh Kruck
  31. Ken Taylor
  32. Kevin Maxson
  33. Logan Balla
    1. Twitter
  34. Mark Hicks
  35. Matthew Brander
  36. Mike
  37. Mike Powers
  38. Neil Cronk
    2. Thinking about starting a blog with this being the first set of posts.
  39. Rusty Burwell
  40. Ryan Sparreboom
  41. Sam Adams
  42. Scott Schaffer
    1. Lumberjocks
  43. Sean Wisniewski
  44. Trevor Green
  45. Yorch Buenfil

Not 100% Committed:

  1. Alexandre
    1. Facebook
    2. maybe Lumberjocks
  2. Andrew Mullen
  3. Andrzej
  4. Aneta Krzyżak
  5. Anthony Fiore
  6. Brian Prusa
  7. Bryce Johnson
  8. Carl Vanderzee
    2. and I will most likely keek my progress as well.
  9. Charlie Miller
    1. Forum
  10. Chris Brooks
  11. Chris Laing
  12. Danny Siggers
  13. David
    1. Twitter
    2. Facebook
  14. David Picciuto
  15. Dyami Plotke
  16. Eric Martin
  17. François Girard
  18. Greg
  19. James Haywood
  20. Jervas
    1. Facebook
  21. Joe McHugh
    1. Forum
  22. Joe Zerafa
  23. Jonathan
    1. Flickr if I can find my password!
  24. Karin
  25. Kyle Taylor
  26. Mario Cappellano
    3. Facebook
    4. Twitter
  27. Mark Kornell
  28. Michael Lehikoinen
  29. Noah Lorang
  30. Pier Paolo Biagi
    1. Facebook
    2. Twitter
    3. Instagram
  31. Ray Schwanenberger
  32. Rhett
    1. or
  33. Robert A. Rieke
  34. Sam DeSocio
  35. Sean Rubino
  36. Stephen Gasior
  37. Tom Collins
  38. Wesley Woods

You can watch the tweets from all the Twitter accounts above at


Buzz About the Shop Stool Build-Off

It’s not too late to register for the Shop Stool Build-Off!

More than eighty woodworkers have registered for the Shop Stool Build-Off and some have let their enthusiasm spill over, as evidenced by the buzz surrounding the event which takes place this Saturday (January 25).


I’m not the only one blogging about the event. Here are all the blog posts about the Shop Stool Build-Off of which I am aware.

Alexander Karu

  1. Planing and Prep Work
  2. Preparation for the Shop Stool Build-Off

Andrez Boczek

  1. Ogólnoświatowa akcja budowy stołków warsztatowych – mój projekt (Shop Stool Build Off)

Chris Wong

  1. The Shop Stool Build-Off
  2. Need Some Ideas for Your Shop Stool?
  3. Designing My Shop Stool
  4. Shop Stool Design #1: Slick and Simple
  5. Shop Stool Design #2: Slick and Nearly as Simple
  6. Prizes for the Shop Stool Build-Off
  7. Shop Stool Build-Off: Upping the Ante

David Picciuto

  1. Weekly Woodworking Wrap-Up Review #2

Derek Olsen

  1. Shop Stool Design.
  2. Pick Your Seat.
  3. Refining Ideas.

Dyami Plotke

  1. There Are Events Afoot

Jamie Hubbard:

  1. # Shop Stool Build Off.. Part 1
  2. # Shop Stool Build Off.. Part 2. Day one (Saturday)
  3. # Shop Stool Build Off.. Part 3. Day two (Sunday)
  4. # Shop Stool Build Off.. Part 4. Voting has started

Jeremy Wright

  1. Stool Design Guide
  2. Stool Design Guide: Drop the Base
  3. Stool Design Guide: Have a Seat
  4. Stool Design Guide: Structure
  5. Stool Design Guide: My SSBO Napkin Sketch

Joe McGlynn:

  1. Shop Stool Build-Off Design 1
  2. Shop Stool Build-Off Design 2
  3. What I’m Not Making for Chris Flair’s Stool Build-Off

Marc Spagnuolo

  1. Shop Stool Build-Off

Fr. Thomas Bailey, OSB

  1. Shop Stool Build-Off
  2. Shop Stool Build-Off #2

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.

Prizes for the Shop Stool Build-Off!

Remember that you must register to be eligible to win a prize. Sign up today!

I am so excited! I’m amazed at the level of interest and support that this idea has generated. The big day is two weeks away and I can’t wait!

My Design

This is the design I’m going to build. (I have moved the legs slightly inwards from my original design so that they intersect in the middle.) I like it because the joinery is fairly simple and sturdy, yet fancy at the same time. Also, the angle of the legs adds a nice detail. I expect the build to be easy to complete in a day, with the help of a simple jig to rout the slots in the seat. Any extra time I have after building the stool can be spent sculpting the legs or seat if I choose.

Shop Stool Build-Off Design

Over 50 Registrations!

Registrations keep arriving in my inbox daily. Roughly 3/4 of the registrants are from North America and the rest are from countries such as Australia, Denmark, Germany, Poland and the UK!

A Dozen Prize Sponsors!

Here are the sponsors and the prizes they are providing for the Shop Stool Build-Off. (I looked up the prizes to the best of my ability and have provided links below – links were neither provided nor approved by the sponsors.)

Prizes will be awarded based on certain categories, which will be announced closer to the event.