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I made these a couple of years ago and use them all of the time.  The nice thing about  wooden ones is, if you drop them on a project they don’t leave dents in things.

Over time they will go out of true, but a couple of passes with the plane and they are back to close enough.


Marking Gauges


These are an 18th century French design.  These are a couple of years old, a very simple robust design. It was one of the first hand-tool-only projects that I did.  When I made them I did not have very many tools.


These don’t look like much, but they are my mortice marking gauges.  The one that says “PIG” (top, darker)  is for a “pig sticker chisel”.  These were used to mark out all of the mortices on the joined stools.

Mallets, a still life.


Two carving mallets, and one general purpose mallet.

The two carving mallets are turned maple. These were made for doing the low relief carving; they are more for tapping than pounding.  They are both sections of a 3″ maple blank from Rockler that was supposed to be a bench screw but it was too hard to work with.

I use the large mallet (top right) all of the time. It was one of my first projects several years ago when I got back into wood working.   It is a simple laminated design in beech, tough as nails and delivers a fairly stout blow.  Goes well with a mortice chisel.

Second Pine Stool


This was second jointed stool. One of my other posts is a day by day work log of all the various actions involved to make it.

All total about 28 hours of work.

This one is a little “fancier.” I put a little decoration on this one and put stop chamfers on the bottom rails so that my lady can rest her feet on them.  The tennons are nearly 3/8″ verses the 1/4″ from the first one, also the mortices are much deeper.  This time none of the tennons cracked when I used the spoon bit to bore the holes (something I really struggled with on the first one), so this stool got assembled without the glue.  A coat of linseed oil and it was done.

As with the first one, this stool was made from the white pine trees at the back of my city lot. The next one will be in oak.

Work Log for the Second Pine Stool.

This is a log of the time and the task that I was working on. The first three days were over a weekend, the rest of the days have been when I felt like working on the project.

3 hours of splitting, busted up all of the remaining log sections from the first cutting.  About half of the sections are useful.
1 hour for roughing in the legs with a draw knife, one yard bag of shavings.
Day 1: 4 hours of work.

1 hour to final square the first leg, still getting used to the process, also includes cleanup and sharpening time.
30 minutes leg #2, minor tearout on one face.
20 minutes leg #3, two cases are not full size the whole way, still salvageable.
40 minutes leg #4 & #5, now I can pick the best of the four legs.
2 hours, finish squaring up stiles, the insides of the wide ones are only finished with a draw knife to save time.
30 minutes working on the top, sawed in half and working with a drawknife.  Will glue back together once thickness is correct.
Day 2: 5 hours of work, running total 9 hours

45 minutes working on the top, bottom flattened with a drawknife, top planed–a little concerned about the top of the board, it is difficult to plane.
15 minutes jointed the edge and glued up, technically no glue should be needed but this should make it a little easier to handle.
30 minutes making a story stick and cutting all of the legs to the same length (something I did not do last time)
30 minutes marked all of the legs for the mortises and made a new mortice gauge because of the new chisel.
40 minutes leg one mortised, the larger pig sticker seems a little quicker, might be the larger mortise.
Day 3: 2 hours and 40 minutes, running total 11 hours 40 minutes

15 minutes pulled the top out of the clamps, trimmed the ends, flattened the bottom, smoothed the top.
Day 4: 15 minutes, running total 12 hours and 5 minutes

15 minutes tested some chip carving on some scrap, the bead and bullet pattern will work.
45 minutes pounded out two sets of legs, trust the hammer.
20 minutes pounded out the final leg.
Day 5: 1 hour and 20 minutes, running total 13 hours and 25 minutes

2 hours of making pins, done over a couple of days because it is boring.
Day 6: 2 hours, running total 15 hours and 25 minutes

1 hour 35 minutes, marked and bored the holes, then discovered the mortises were too shallow added depth.
30 minutes marked the leg decoration and started to cut the chamfers.
Day 7: 2 hours and 5 minutes, running total 17 hours and 30 minutes

1 hour 30 minutes using a draw knife and a carving knife to put the chamfers and lambs tongues on, two legs are finished now.
Day 8: 1 hour 30 mins, running total 19 hours.

1 hour 20 mins, made the tennons in the top stile, and put a stop chamfer in the bottom stile.
Day 9: 1 hour 20 minutes, running total 20 hours 20 minutes.

1 hour 20 mins, top and bottom stiles and the stop chamfer in the bottom stile
Day 10: 1 hour 20 minutes,  running total 21 hours 40 minutes.

2 hours tennons on the bottom stiles
30 minutes of adding decoration to the sides
1 hour pinning it together, no broken pins this time.
Day 11: 3 hours 30 minutes, running total 25 hours and 10 minutes.

2 hours final fitting of the top
20 minutes trimming the legs and putting on a coat of linseed oil, done.
Day 12: 2 hours and twenty minutes.

Total time: 28 hours.

A stool from a tree is done !


This was a white pine in my back yard, right next to the power lines.  I had a professional take down the tree and leave me the trunk so that I could attempt to make a stool from it.

The project was a success; you can sit on the stool and it is very comfortable (it was made to the dimensions of my saw bench).

No power tools or sand paper were used on it.  All of the tools are ones that someone from the past would recognize.  I cut up the trunk into sections with a 36″ one-man cross cut saw, then from there used wedges and a sledge to split it, a broad axe to shape the boards, then a plane to refine the pieces.  All of the draw bored joinery was done with a mortice chisel and spoon bit to drill the holes.   The pegs were done with a draw knife.

I did glue the joints just to be sure; the 1/4″ tenons felt very thin so I wanted to make sure it would not fall apart.

The next one I’ll make a few changes but nothing too major. It will be a little smaller so that it fits my wife comfortably.  I will keep better track of time; I think this one was 3-5 solid days of work spread over 5-6 weeks.

The Roubo is “done”

IMG_3259_overallIMG_3260_vice IMG_3261_joint

My new bench was made mostly with handtools following the general principles from the Workbench books by Christopher Schwarz.  The legs are 6x6s from Home Depot, the top is 8/4 Beech and 8/4 Maple, with an additional layer of pine 2x6s for added thickness.  The stringers and the shelf are pine 2×6 or 2×4.

Overall it has been a success.  I definitely learned a ton doing making it, but that will be the subject of another post.

The leg vice uses the wood screws that I made earlier; all total it can crush something about 6″ thick before I run out of threads.

Like all major projects this one is pretty much never ending.  I’m going to finish drilling the line of bench dog holes as I need them.  Also I’m going to put on a planing stop just past the leg vice on the end.

The bench has not had any finish applied as I live in a wintery state and until I can open up the windows… it will stay unfinished.