Octagons for the Win


There aren’t many things I miss about corporate America – except for Teresa.

Teresa runs the mailroom at F+W Media (among other things), and was always there to sign for packages and put them in your hands so you could race past the deadline (not a good metaphor) to victory! And riches! And a cocaine party with a puppy!

So today I was afraid to shower or even leave the front room of our house as I awaited delivery of the final cover drawing for Peter Galbert’s “Chairmaker’s Notebook.” Peter sent it overnight, and it was supposed to be here at noon.

By 2 p.m., I smelled a nasty stew. It was me. The package is still in Boston and we have lost a day. So I showered.


The good news was that I sneaked in 30 minutes in the shop to make the conical tenons for the next three-legged backstool. Deciding on the final shape was no contest. The six-sided legs look ridiculous – I’m going shave them into octagons as punishment. The octagonal legs look great. And the new seat sits remarkably well, even though it is unsaddled.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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21 Responses to Octagons for the Win

  1. “…I sneaked in…”

    Made my day. Thanks, Chris.

    And thank you, mom, for not giving up on the Do-You-Decline-It-Sneak-Snack-Snuck? lectures. I’m sorry you had to give it to me so many times.

  2. Rachael Boyd says:

    I don’t like the seat as of right now, looks way to thick. I assume it is still 2 1/2 ” . I hope when you put the back on it will make it all tie together..

  3. beshriver says:

    i like the the way the seat is faceted. this may be a novice question, tables and planing or just brute force?

  4. carpenterman says:

    A great loss for the Klingons.

  5. spokeshave27 says:

    Might be more than one day late – Boston is renamed Snomagedon!!

  6. Be it angly tre-leg, due it ned a trangle butt-plat too, or nat?

  7. Any trick to aligning the tapered tenon cutter on an octagonal leg? I use the Veritas mega pencil sharpener cutter and can’t seem to get my tenons straight.

    • Yup. It’s how you hold it. I hold the tool in my left hand and rotate the leg with my right as I eyeball the gap between the tool and the work. It’s easy to keep the gap consistent this way and keep the tenon centered.

  8. Two men enter, one man leaves….

    You know, the octagon? Oh nevermind.

  9. Daniel Roy says:

    Aren’t we gonna re-live the ‘it can’t be stable, you should put the 1 leg in front, 2 in back’ stupid conversation?

  10. jenohdit says:

    7 sided legs would be a nice compromise?? Closer to traditional but just a bit edgy.

    Speaking of snow, a book of cool wooden toys with plans for making traditional wooden skis, kicksleds and the like is something I’d buy. It wouldn’t hurt my feelings if it’s not something you would write or sell, just sayin’.

  11. Brian Clites says:

    The backlighting on the top photo played a clever trick on my eyes, and so at first I thought I was looking at a THIRD new chair design, this one with a seat only had only one pointey angle on it. (I don’t know what that shape would be called, but it would be the product of taking the dividers in the LAP logo and splaying them wide, then draing an arch instead of a line to connect the two open ends.) Although I quickly realized my mistake, that woudl be a really cool shape for you to experiment with on the 3-legged designs. It would allow weirdos like me – who alternate between sitting frontwards and “backwards” on barstools – a disinct feeling three countours for switching postures in between various types of work.

    Sad everyone agreed the hexagons were so ugly, but I agree with you that these Octos look great!

  12. rickandsarah says:

    great blog. a good deal of genius. one question though, where is/are buildings of necessity, can you move from the workshop to the site?

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