Roubo Campaign Stool: Prototype II


With the stool’s hardware mechanism working fine, this morning I made a set of three stool legs from mahogany left over from a run of Roorkhee chairs in 2012.

My design for the legs was inspired by the foot of an original 1898 Roorkhee, which is essentially a slightly flattened bead. I also added four grooves that straddle the holes through the legs and turned a gradual taper from these holes down to the ankle.

The fun part of the job was finishing the legs on the lathe. With the lathe spinning, I rubbed on some beeswax from farmer beekeeper and woodworker Will Myers (thanks Will!). Then, with the lathe still spinning, I used Roubo’s polissoir to burnish the mahogany and drive the wax into the wood’s pores. A final polish with some rough cotton cloth (an empty bag of grits) produced the final sheen.

I don’t know if it’s a non-non to use a polissoir on a spinning lathe, but it sure made short work of the finishing process.


For the seat, Ty Black is cutting out some of my “oiled latigo” leather I bought for a Roorkhee chair for a customer. That leather is from Wicket & Craig and has the shop nickname of the “sex machine leather.” It’s impossibly buttery and beautiful.

On Friday, I hope we’ll get the second prototype assembled – after I age the hardware.

— Christopher Schwarz

Oh, One More Thing…
During the last 10 years, the most common question I’m asked (aside from, “What wood should I use for my workbench?” Answer here.) is, “How do you manage to write, edit, build and teach as much as you do?”

I know that most people are paying me a compliment with the question. With others, the implication is that I don’t build all the projects I show here. Or that I sub-contract out the construction or finishing. Or that I am just really skilled in making photo-realistic images.

Here’s the deal: I went to journalism school and cut my teeth at a newspaper where we wrote 400 to 500 original pieces a year. I can write a blog entry, such as this one, in about 15 to 30 minutes without much forethought. It just comes out – like water from a well or crap from a porta-potty, depending on how you like my work.

Also important: I don’t watch TV, don’t like sports, don’t have a lot of friends and don’t have any other hobbies besides woodworking and listening to music while woodworking. Considering how much time I devote to the craft, I actually should be a lot better and a lot faster.

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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37 Responses to Roubo Campaign Stool: Prototype II

  1. Trevor Angell says:

    I gaze into my future where I, too, can suck at woodworking all day long.

    You suck better than me right now, but you’ve got a few years on me. Don’t read too much into that.

  2. billlattpa says:

    Yeah, you should be a lot better and a lot faster.
    All kidding aside, you should be a little better and a little faster at least.

  3. runningwood says:

    you forgot translating French

  4. jasongc says:

    Is there anything Will doesn’t do? 🙂

  5. Eric R says:

    Not bad, for a bony southern boy.
    And with the TV that’s on these days, you aren’t missing much.
    A mild sports addiction is part of my down fall.
    You keep cranking out the blogs & projects and I’ll keep coming back for more.

  6. bobjones2000 says:

    I don’t watch tv – I remember hearing an Olympian saying something similar. Focus is needed to excell in anything. I don’t watch it either. I figure I would rather spend my time doing something than watching someone else do something.

  7. Chris says:

    Don’t watch tv…I agree with that tv is eating away the society

  8. Mitch Wilson says:

    Perhaps its the water in the porta-potty. I used to drink the bong water back in my youth.

  9. Mark Singleton says:

    You have lots of friends. You just haven’t met most of us. That might be a good thing.

  10. Graham Burbank says:

    I thought about commenting on Ty’s leather fetish yesterday, but thought better of it. Considered it today, but I’ll let it pass… but you’re tempting me sorely now that I know what the leather is called. The mere fact that I just did 90 minutes of (wood)work related buisiness emails, prints, general shop related customer relations AFTER a typical 11 hour day, then checked in here, proves you’re not the only nutjob in the looneybin when it comes to woodworking. Guess I better finish making that chocolate cake now…

  11. The finish on the legs look great. I think if you were to wire burn the grooves it would add a nice contrasting touch, although it would not be historically correct. Like Graham it is hard to not comment on the leather subject…

  12. Marlon says:

    Well, you make woodworking seem like T.N.T. “Tain’t Nuthin’ Tuit”. Oh, there isn’t anything on TV except that Roy fellow from North Carolina, and besides he just has that bony southern boy on there with his beer bottle cap opener as his belt buckle. But he does an alright job./// Wasn’t this blog about something else?

  13. Andrew says:

    Instead of using a pollisor or whatever you call your broomstick, a pile a thick shavings from the fore plane work well also to burnish the surface on the lathe or off.. it works by the same principle of burnishing but I bet I’m telling you something you already know

  14. Drew says:

    What is this tv thing you speak of?

  15. Paul says:

    Well, I vote for crap just for the humor value. But I’ll also say I just don’t feel right until I’ve had my daily crap.

  16. Art says:

    For a man with few friends, you sure know alot of people. And you must be somewhat socially okay, or your wife wouldn’t let you out. 🙂 Mine has reservations from time to time.

    And if we could all spend time doing what you do, we would all be that bad at woodworking.

  17. Kevin Wilkinson says:

    Don’t watch much TV except for the Daily Show and the Colbert Report and as far as sports go the only thing I care about is Moto GP and World Superbike all of which I watch on DVR when I feel like it.

  18. Eric Erb says:

    The cross-section of your legs, being round from the lathe, doesnt’ seem to match the sketches from your last post on the subject (though the focus there was the hardware) The legs in the diagram would only be round when the stool is closed, no?

  19. mikeneves says:

    When your kids were younger (like 2 or 3) did you still manage to get as much woodworking done? If so, can you share your secrets with me? I can’t get out to the shop until 9:30pm each night.

    Last night I was a rebel and was building drawers until 1am.

    • lostartpress says:


      There are no secrets. When the kids were little I would think all day about what I was going to do in the shop that night. Then work like heck to get it done before I ran out of steam.

      They grow up so fast that this time will pass quickly.

    • Al R. says:

      Amen to the no TV lifestyle. As far as sports go, I could never stand to spend much of my precious time watching someone else live their dream….

      And Mike, RE kids – mine are 4 and 2 and another on the way and ditto what you’re doing. I have my regular 9:30 cup of coffee and work like mad until I fall down. One thing that helped me was a fan or some other type of white noise in their room so that I don’t wake them with what I’m doing in the basement shop.

  20. John Kuszewski says:

    Not to mention all the time you save not getting haircuts.

  21. Michele Pagan says:

    Impressing turning skills, Chris. I learned just a bit of that from Don Williams, and it made me a true admirer of that talent. And, good use of the polissoir. Did you know that I am the one who translated that bit from the original Roubo text? Who would have known – certainly not me – that that particular technique had been lost over time…

  22. Will Myers says:

    That North Carolina beeswax always does the trick! Looks great! Chris, I ain’t a farmer….

  23. andy myers says:

    Thanks Chris. Now a bottle of honey will cost me $50.00. He was already too expensive.

  24. Darryl A Rees says:

    Speed is one of those relative things

  25. Ben says:

    I can’t be sure about this, but based on my experience at a fondue restaurant in Paris, it should be “pas-pas!” rather than “non-non.” At least that’s what monsieur kept yelling at me.

  26. jim z says:

    I thought I was the only guy on the planet that didnt like sports! Sometimes I feel like it’s a real dis advantage at social gatherings. Funny how you describe yourself but ill bet there quite a few people out there whom would love to have your skill set and knowledge base! Keep up the good work and the blog- always entertaining.

  27. Alan says:

    Thanks for reminding me how many guys don’t give a hang about sports. Paying grown men big money to pretend they are warriors in bright clothes for my entertainment has never made sense to me.

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