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Walnut And Maple Stool

author-gravatar tqizzle Sep 10, 2018

I decided to give the reddit.com/r/woodworking Mortise/Tenon Challenge a go in order to challenge myself with wedged mortise/tenon based somewhat off of the design in Nick Offermans book "Good Clean Fun". Overall, this was a challenging project for me doing some elements I haven't done before and was a test in patience.

Finding a 12x12 piece of 8/4 Maple was challenging for my area. Woodcraft had a piece they cut off the end of a longer board for me, here it is rough cut.

Beginning the planing process using a jig that I use old business cards in order to take out wobble.

The piece of 8/4 Walnut I purchased from Woodcraft for this project. I should have gotten a longer piece in order to do 4 legs for this project. It was already S4S and didn't need much work.

Circles are very hard in 8/4 Maple without good tools or good process apparently. I broke a bandsaw blade trying to make it into a circle. Decided to go with a rectangle instead but it didn't look right so went with the octagon. I only purchased enough walnut to make this a 3 legged stool based on a circle top, so this would have to do. This was somewhat of a practice project for me as it will be a toddler stool for my son and I have a lot to learn.

Angles are hard! I almost took to cutting these perfectly square before realizing they will be offset under the stool so I needed to account for how the shoulder would sit.

Everything rough cut and ready to begin the Mortises

Used the head of the legs to transfer the mortise over and then scored with a chisel. I took out the majority of material with a drill bit. This was definitely not the ideal way to do this and I should have picked up a Forstner bit for this

Finished with the initial drill out. I still ended up having to do a bunch of chisel work, so probably wasn't worth this. 

The tops were fairly clean and I am fairly happy with them for my second attempt ever at mortise/tenon work. One thing I forced myself to do with this project that I haven't really done before is to force myself to slow down. If I felt I was starting to rush I called it for that session and went and did something else. This was one of the longer parts outside of sanding/finish.

The bottoms came out a bit rough compared to the tops. I suppose I need sharper chisels or to take off less material when coming down from the top. 

Cutting out the tenons. Used a japanese pull saw to do the majority of the work and then chisels to clean up the shoulders.

Used the same pull saw to cut the kerfs that the wedges would go into. 

Wedges handcut, there has to be a better way! Having a bandsaw with a jig would have been significantly better.

Drilled a 1/4 hole at the bottom. In Nick Offermans book he says it is to prevent splitting of the wood when the wedges are pounded in.

The first test fit of a leg! This was a pretty cool moment to see it fit fairly cleanly, at least from the top.

Rounded over and ready for glue-up. Later I would realize I shouldn't have rounded over the bottoms of the legs as one foot didn't make great contact with the floor and I ended up reworking them some.

Glue up and wedged! These were already a pretty tight fit and I was surprised how far the wedges were still able to go in. I probably didn't really even need glue, but it's not going anywhere. 

Flush cutting the tenons/wedges.

After glue up and flush cut. I didn't account well for the fact that the legs would flip from how I marked out the mortises. The top one came out very clean and the bottom two just needed a bit of fixing.

Closer picture of the tightest one. 

Closer picture of the more severe gap.

A little wedge in overnight should do the job. The smaller gaps I did the glue and sawdust trick to fill those.

Final picture of the mortises with mistakes filled.

I didn't get too many pictures of the bottom but it's not really pretty. Apparently the sawdust/glue trick doesn't work well for lighter color wood like Maple as the combo sort of dried a dark yellow. I tried sanding down and doing a higher concentrate of sawdust to glue and it still didn't look right. Lesson learned, just get better ha.

Sanded to 220 and then dampened with final sand to 220. Sanding took a decent bit of time especially with my random orbital sander being too big to hit much of the bottom.

First coat of Tung Oil. The Walnut really pops! I didn't have any pictures of it dried as I ran out of time for the challenge.

First coat of Tung Oil. The Walnut really pops! I didn't have any pictures of it dried as I ran out of time for the challenge.

First coat of Tung Oil. The Walnut really pops! I didn't have any pictures of it dried as I ran out of time for the challenge.

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