This Stool is Brown, Waxy, a Bit Oily and Sticky


Sticky? Yes. It’s made from three sticks. So it’s quite “sticky.”

ROUBO212PrI just finished up this campaign stool based (loosely) on A.J. Roubo’s model shown in “L’Art du Menuisier.” I turned round legs, whereas Roubo shows legs that are pie-shaped in section. When those legs fold together, they make a cylinder. Clever.

I know how to make legs like this, but I have to come up with a way to do this that doesn’t waste a lot of wood.

As I explained in an earlier post, the pivoting hardware is made using an eye bolt, all-thread rod, washers and acorn nuts. It looks OK, but I’m going to use different hardware for the next version to make it look bad-asser.

The leather, oiled latigo from the saddle industry, is great. Ty Black finished hand-stitching the seat last night. I attached the seat to the legs using No 10 x 1-1/4” solid brass screws from the maritime industry – they are sweet – plus some brass finishing washers from the home center that look like they had been hanging out there since Johnson was in office.

The stool sits really well. It barely weighs a thing. And it folds up nicely. That’s pretty good for a second prototype. But the next stool will be better.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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48 Responses to This Stool is Brown, Waxy, a Bit Oily and Sticky

  1. Thomas Priest says:

    Ill take it! Love how it turned out!!

  2. Derek Carter says:

    not a single picture of it collapsed?

  3. joemcglynn says:

    (from my 12 year old)

    What’s brown and sticky? A stick.

    What’s red and sticky? It’s that bloody stick again.

  4. Bob Davidson says:

    I wonder if any of Napoleon’s staff had stools like this at waterloo???
    Is it possible that any of the Duke of Wellington’s staff had any stools like this? Would any Englishman have such a stool in 1815, even though the design came from France?

    • Clay Dowling says:

      English soldiers were notorious for using captured French military equipment, as it tended to be of superior quality, so I expect quite a few English soldiers had stools like this.

  5. jasongc says:

    Is it stable? To quote someone famous, the worst gift you can give is a loose stool.

  6. Matt S. says:

    Gee, thanks. First thing I read after leaving my “Fully Monty” physical.

    Have you tried to play guitar while sitting in it? Perhaps not tall enough?

  7. Marhk says:

    How does one sit astride this? Saddle horns between the legs or beside the hips.

  8. Robert Justiana says:


    Some others I’ve seen of this type have a shoulder/carrying strap. Would that be period-correct or is that someone’s modern add-on?

    Robert J.

  9. Tim Henriksen says:

    I like. You guys are starting to remind me of Dave Munson or Col. Littleton. So with your scraps, have Ty consider an index sized reporter style journal for shop notes and a sleeve for mechanical pencils or nail sets so they don’t get lost in the bottom of the drawers in my chest.

  10. Mark says:

    Does a point go in the crotch or the rearend?

  11. Hello, nice stool! How long are the legs?

  12. Jeremy says:

    As far as ideas for making the pie shaped pieces:
    Hide glue three 120° pieces together prior to turning, then separate. no doubt some localized

    There should be little waste from one wide board ripped into multiple beveled strips though you’ll have to either rip by hand or add some sort of wedge to you bandsaw to get the right bevel angle. I suspect that ripping with a table saw and planing the right angle on it will still waste less wood than starting from 3 separate square blanks.

  13. jprid says:

    That’s a sweet stool.
    Much better than a Walkstool® Comfort,120,43456,65663

  14. Marilyn says:

    Eww .. I’m sure that blog title was on purpose .. but eewwwwwwww! (said like a 10 year old girl would say it).

    Nice … seat .. Ok, that still gets me in trouble but maybe less. 🙂

  15. Harlan Janes says:

    Spell-check. Could it be “badder-ass”? or “badder-assed”?

  16. Brian says:

    The pie shaped legs may have been riven from a stave. But what would I know?

    • lostartpress says:


      I’ve never seen a stave riven into three parts like that. Riving is usually a process of halving. I can’t even imagine how that could be rived.

      If you know something — speak up!

      • Brian says:

        Not that all three parts were split from a closed cylinder. Maybe split from a much larger diameter which would yield an even number of legs, like six? No, you would not easily split three, but four, six, eight or ten. That means the grain would run straight and the leg would be stronger, no grain run out. It’s how I would approach it.

      • Brian says:

        My thought process is that a craftsman would be making many stools, not just one. So along those lines a stump could yield many legs.

  17. Michael Brady says:

    I had one of those in my bedroom in the 1950’s. It was heavy tooling leather left plain, as in your Rhoorkee chair; round oak legs. I have no idea where it came from, but not the Boar War, for sure! I used that chair a lot. I had not thought of it until you posted your first photos. Thanks for the memories! I’m going to make one of these using my leftover leather..

  18. Graham Burbank says:

    yeah, but how does it smell?

  19. sawdustmaker says:

    Looks like Ty did a great job

  20. Thomas Priest says:

    Almost looks like it could be used as a fold up saw bench, knee between two legs with the third across from your knee. With your body weight pushing the board against the leather might hold in place decent. Probably work in a pinch especially if you had a pair with you, could even fit in the bottom of the Dutch.

  21. Jonas Jensen says:

    To make the pie shaped legs, I would take a 1″ x 5″ board, adjust the tablesaw for a 25 degrees cut. (If you look at the Roubo illustration, the angle is a little less than 120 degrees.)
    board flat on the table, first cut to meet the upper corner. The board stays in the same orientation during the process.
    2nd cut should make a diamond shaped parallelogram with 4 equal sides.
    3rd and 4th cut are the same as the 2nd one.
    Mount the diamond shapes between the dogs with the 115 degrees angle up (and down). plane a nice rounding.
    I hope the above makes sense. A 4.5″ wide board should be enough, if the sawkerf left by the tablesaw is about 1/8″ wide

    • lostartpress says:


      That is very clever and saves labor and wood. Thanks!

    • Matt S. says:

      I like this idea (and the pie-shaped legs idea) – but one side affect may be that it will be a lot harder to install the hinge hardware Chris came up with.

      When folded up, the leg with the eye bolt needs to meet the bolt through the other two legs at 90*. This requires the through-bolt to pass through the two legs on their mutual diameters, As such: 0-0

      With the profile of the pie-shaped legs, it will be a lot harder to get the hole for the through bolt lined up right.

      Ohhh! Maybe one approach would be to drill a hole through the short edge of the stock BEFORE you rip the board on the table saw!

      Any other ideas? I’d enjoy seeing someone make one of these pie-stools. I would try it myself, but we are in the process of moving, and there won’t be shop-time for me for some months from now . . .

      • Matt S. says:

        Eh – never mind what I just proposed. That won’t work. What you need to do is lay one edge flat, and drill perpendicular to that edge (which means the hole is 90* to one edge, and off of the perpendicular on the other). You then mate the sides where the holes are perpendicular. You will need to cave out some relief on the opposite sides so the hardware can still be installed on a flat.

        Like so: \|-|/

        I have no idea what hardware Roubo had in mind per Figure 8. That is what started me down this line of thinking.

  22. Eric Erb says:

    Hey, if it keeps your butt out of the mud it’s doing it’s job. Looks great! thanks for the post

    Eric Erb

    mobile: 240-328-3373

  23. Chris , a year ago I was given a leather tool seat like this with some fancy designs but he had lost the legs long ago. I have been looking for a leg design. This is it! Question. Are the top of the legs squared or rounded off? Or do they look llike the feet?
    Bill Akins

  24. “Maritime” screws would be bronze, not brass. Bronze is a copper-tin alloy whereas brass is copper-zinc. The latter does not do well in a salt-water environment because the zinc is lost sacrificially in what amounts to an electrolyte. Bronze, containing a bit of silicon as a hardening/strengthening agent has a brownish color rather than a bright brassy color. The old brass washers were tarnished.

  25. Clay Dowling says:

    I was going to make rohrkee chairs as camp chairs, but these look light enough and small enough that I could take them hiking without needing to hire a bearer. Which is good because the number of people looking for work as bearers is remarkably low.

  26. bobjones2000 says:

    The first view on the roubo plate looks like the seat should be longer in one direction, but the other view does not seem to agree. Does the text clairifty?

  27. Lee Laird says:


    Nice job! My dad made two of these for our family back in the ’60s. One was similar sized to yours, and the other was about half-sized, since I too was about half-sized back then. Ha.

    See ya around.


  28. Paleotool says:

    Reblogged this on Paleotool's Weblog and commented:
    I gotta make a couple of these.

  29. Steve says:

    Looks great, Chris and Ty. Did you form or harden the leather near the leg attachments or was it stiff enough already?

  30. vern says:

    so i dont get it. how is the third leg attached?

  31. Shelldon says:

    I remember coming across these in a 2nd hand shop in the Natal (South Africa) midlands… circa Anglo/Zulu war and Anglo/Boer war, but I was way to young to have taken an interest. I am curious now, I can see the two legs are joined together by the bolt method you described in your post, but the third leg, is that loose and just held in place by the weight of the sitter, sort of like a lever?

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