Staked High Stool


I didn’t intend to start revising or adding to “The Anarchist’s Design Book,” but new designs are gushing out of my sketchbook these days, so I’ve stopped resisting.

This stool design started with a Welsh stool from the 18th century and came together in two days. It needs a second prototype to reach the finish line, but it’s good enough to show. Here are some details if you are interested in designing your own.

The stool is 25-1/2” tall, which is perfect for me. I can sit on the bench with my feet resting flat on the floor. The stretcher is 6-3/4” off the floor, so when I put my feet on it, my legs are in a traditional sitting arrangement.


The seat is 1-3/4” x 12” x 20”. This gives you enough depth so you don’t feel as if you are falling off and you won’t cut off blood circulation to your legs if you sit back on the seat. (Also, 12” is a classic stool depth.) The 20” length is suited so you can place your hands on the seat to either side of your torso. This allows you to easily reposition yourself or to help give you a push if you wish to hop off the seat.

The 45° cuts at the back remove weight – visual and literal.

The legs are 1-3/4” double-tapered octagons and start life about 27” long. The double tapers meet at the point where the stretchers intersect the legs – a natural place for bulk. The front legs use the following angles: 26° sightline and 13° resultant. The rear leg has a 0° sightline and 22° resultant. These angles give the stool immense stability.


The legs have 1-1/4” diameter tenons at the top. They start out about 2” long. The tenons are not tapered on this design.

The stretchers start as 1-1/8” octagons and are turned. The front stretcher is a cigar shape and terminates at each end with a cove and a 5/8” diameter x 1” tenon. The T-stretcher is 1-1/8” diameter at the rear leg and tapers to 3/4” at the front stretcher. Both ends have 5/8”-diameter tenons. (Note I swiped this tapered tenon from Bern Chandley, a chairmaker in Melbourne, Australia.)

What am I going to change for Stool 2.0? I’m going to add a wide and flat chamfer all around the top of the seat and saddle the seat. I’m going to bulk up the legs and stretchers a bit to see what happens. I might replace the 45° angles on the seat with ellipses.

But the second prototype will have to wait. I have tea coasters (yes, coasters) to build for a special client.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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21 Responses to Staked High Stool

  1. pinusmuricata says:

    Handsome piece, tho I don’t care for the pokey front corners.


  2. Kansas John says:

    What drill bits do you use to drill the holes for your tenons?


  3. @TheRainford says:

    I like it.
    For 2.0 I think tapering the bottom of the legs a hair would look nice.
    With the ellipse details you describe, my mind’s eye thinks it might turn out to look a bit like simplified Frid stool w/o the back. I bought some wood this weekend to make a pair of Tage’s stools in the coming weeks and will have to do a lot of fairing of curves.

    I like that your traditional design can be implemented in a straightforward way.


    • Thanks Bill,

      The bottom of the legs do taper, but perhaps it needs to be more pronounced to be noticeable.

      I feel certain Frid’s fantastic design started with vernacular stools. You can see it in the DNA. He obviously took it to a very high level.


      • rwyoung says:

        I think Frid wrote an article for Vol 2, #1 FWW that discusses these stools. May have the issue wrong but it is the early ones that were A4-ish sized paper, black-and-white and I think there is also an article inside from Krenov.


        • @TheRainford says:

          Beyond the earlier FWW article, in Tage Frid Teaches Woodworking Vol 3 he goes into detail about his design process and genesis of the design — was sitting on a rail fence during a horse show when he realized how he was sitting and what was being supported etc and how he originally had turned legs and didn’t like it and left it in his shop for several weeks and would look at it each day and folks would sit on it etc. Eventually he revised the design to have more of a tapered oval leg profile which gave it a lighter feel.


          • rwyoung says:

            Didn’t volume 3 come out in 1989? The FWW article was from 1977. And the text of the article is nearly that of what is in the book.


            • @TheRainford says:

              Yep per the earlier comment I mentioned the article was earlier and called out the book as more folks may have it for reference. I agree the text in both places is quite similar. The article was FWW 7, summer 1977 and Book Vol 3 was January 1989 as you mentioned.


  4. Roger Hylr says:

    Please discuss the making or the double-tapered octagons. Ripped on a table saw then hand beveled and tapered or with a jig or jigs, please? Thanks!


    • These were roughed out to octagonal shape with a table saw. Then tapered with a jack plane. Finished with a smoother.

      You can also do the tapers on the jointer (discussed fully in the appendix of “Anarchist’s Design Book).


  5. Greg Merritt says:

    Looks great! I agree that increasing the taper at the foot of the leg will make that detail pop and visually lighten/lift the stool. Of course opinions are like….

    Thanks for including the details. I’m just about to complete 12′ of tables and my focus will be shifting to seating.


  6. Lee B says:

    It looks like you could stack four or six of these neatly, with the ones on top upside down, if you wanted to store them out of the way. Seems like a nice advantage over backstools. Could you retain that and saddle the seats? Maybe just leave a broad enough flat on the sides?


  7. Derek Long says:

    I’ve been roughing out ideas for a bench stool, but I like this stool a lot. Guess I’m done with the design work. It’ll do just fine for sitting at the bench to sharpen saws or do some carving.


  8. With all these nice additions, when would an updated book be off the presses?


  9. charlie says:

    Looks like an old cutlers stool. The only thing missing is a few years of toil, to break it in.


  10. ccw505 says:

    I feel like this stool is the marijuana (i.e. gateway drug) of staked furniture. Though I appreciate the design, I haven’t felt the urge to build any of it. However, I want to make this!


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