The Second Backstool, Designed for Work (or Space?)


The underside of the seat of the backstool.

The second backstool for “The Furniture of Necessity” is going to be significantly different than the first three-legged example from last month.

I’ve slimmed the seat down and replaced its rounded shape with tapers and flat chamfers. Though there is still one curve at the rear that will mimic the crest’s curve.

The seat will be a bit lower than the first example, which was tall enough to sit at a modern dining table. This one is going to be a few inches lower so it will be suited for work by the fireplace, playing guitar or drinking a beer in the living room with friends.


The smushed hexagon legs. majQa’!

I’m experimenting with the legs. While the first backstool had tapered and shaved round legs, this one is going to have tapered octagons or (maybe) smushed hexagons. I have two sets of legs planed up at this point. The high-gravity hexagons looked good to me at first, but now I think they look a wee bit Klingon.

I’ll cut joinery for both and take some test photos before committing to a shape.

Finally, the crest is going to be a little lower to hit the sitter below the shoulder blades and condense the chair vertically a little more.

And now back to finishing up Peter Galbert’s “Chairmaker’s Notebook.” We will be taking pre-publication orders starting this week. As usual, all pre-publication orders will receive free domestic shipping.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
This entry was posted in Chairmaker's Notebook, The Anarchist's Design Book. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to The Second Backstool, Designed for Work (or Space?)

  1. bobprime0 says:

    The first sentence may have a typo, or I can’t read. Or both.

  2. Total newb question: You’ll probably go into this in your book, but I’m curious if these legs are green or dry wood? And how important straight grain is? I’ve begun experimenting with tapered mortises, and I was able to pretty easily snap the ‘leg’ along the grain near the joint since it wasn’t straight grain. Granted it was a pretty thin piece (less than an inch), but as I’m experimenting for my own chair, not sure how scared I should be.

    Also can’t wait for Peter’s book!

    • I’ll get into explaining wood selection in a few weeks. Bottom line: rived wood is best. Second-best: imitating rived wood through careful sawing.

      The legs shown are fairly strong, but not at full strength. The other set of legs (not shown) are crazy strong.

      Good question. And one I have been avoiding answering to this point.

  3. Yahoo Mail says:


    How thick is the seat?



  4. toolnut says:

    A chair designed for guitar playing and beer drinking; I’m in heaven.

  5. pfollansbee says:

    Octagons. there’s a reason you never see legs that are hexagonal. a.) they’re stupid. b.) they’re ugly. Huh. two reasons. says me, anyway. Otherwise, I like smaller. The chair will look better.

    • raney says:

      I’m glad someone said it. My bet is they’d work as novelty for a while, but I think in several years it’d be the sort of thing that would make me groan.

      Since you didn’t ask for a vote, I’m voting octagons. All the way.

  6. beshriver says:

    The legs kind of look like hammer handles, in a good way. That being said…if it’s a guitar playing beer drinking chair, you’re going to need a cup holder 🙂

  7. Rachael Boyd says:

    you just mix it up anyway you wish. you know I sure as heck would …..

  8. Bill Palmer says:

    Three legs should have three facets, truncate one edge and you’ve got a stance.

  9. domanicoj says:

    Looking forward to “The Furniture of Necessity” and “Chairmakers Notebook”!! I have been interested in a shorter chair since I saw Wille Sundqvist use one in “The Spoon, the Bowl and the Knife”.

  10. ccmanny says:

    Reblogged this on ccmanny.

  11. Brian Clites says:

    Awesome! I fell in love with the Jan one at first sight. But I think I missed the apparent correlation between “just 3 legs” and “furniture of necessity.” Are the 3 (instead of 4) legs important to the book’s aims or the build approach it is resurrecting? Does it really save much labor to skip the 4th leg? Does the “necessity” mean something other than utility & simplicity in your approach? Thanks again!

    • Only a few pieces in the book will have three legs – a table and two backstools. The Welsh armchairs will have four legs. The dining table… six!

      My interest has always been in exploring old forms (benches, chests etc.) and understanding them. Three-legged backstools are less material, less work to make, more stable on uneven ground, and plenty stable on regular floors.

Comments are closed.