Scrap Wood Stool on a New Mexico Farm

a sturdy stool that aint screwin around

I haven't had much time to myself for projects during my year-long bicycle tour, but while WWOOFing here on the Sheridan Project Farm in New Mexico this season, I've had a bit more free time to relax and get up to some hobbies. I've also had access to a lot of raw materials in the form of construction scrap, which got me thinking about what I could do to spruce up my partner's and my living accomodations.

a single roomed green cabin with a small front porch

It's a small space, but in the lovely weather this spring, it's just what we need. However, we realized it'd be nice to have a little space on the front porch to have breakfast in the morning sun. My partner came up with the idea to build a high table along the railing, but we realized it'd be even better if someone had a stool to sit at while we're there.

Trash to Treasure

I personally don't ever like buying new materials for hobby projects.* The way I see it, there's already so much trash in perfectly good condition trash out there, it's almost criminal to buy new. So it makes me really happy when I come to a space with a stack of leftover materials that are just waiting to be put to good use.

a stack of unevenly cut 4x4 inch boards

This looks like some grade A material to me, but you might notice that those 4x4 boards are all cut to very inconsistent lengths. In practice, that would mean that there wasn't enough material to get a full height barstool out of any single cut, but by carefully choosing the lengths, I could retain the longest pieces possible. This still left the problem of how to connect them, but with a little brainstorming we cam up with something that we figured would both look at least semi-intentional and not fall apart.

a sketch of a stool design with multiple tiers of legs

The Stool Build

The technique for the build was to take three 4x4s cut at a very slight angle on the ends so they would lean inward. This gives the feet stability and makes it less likely to tip over. For the seat I used a scrap of very nice wood that had been used for benches elsewhere on the property, and then I spent an inordinate amount of time trying (and failing) to get the symmetry of a triangle of rectangles right on the seat. After sawing and sanding, I just brushed the wood with some tung oil to treat it.

standing the boards up many drawn attempts at symmetry on a wooden piece wood with tung oil can next to it

Finally, the most interesting part was how to connect the different layers, while also giving the legs in/outward stability. To do this. I sandwiched some particle board from a dempolished RV on site between the 4x4 layers. My favorit part was that I was able to figure out a way to do it that hid all of the screws either between pieces of wood or on the underside of the stool.

screwing pieces of wood into an upside down stool

My cuts weren't anywhere near perfect, and my alignment was more than a little off in places, but that gives it the homemade look. And despite the aesthetic mishaps, it was still very sturdy. It was also extremely heavy, which is actually a good thing as the winds here in New Mexico get quite fierce this time of year.

finished stool

Now the only question was how does it look in place?

A front porch fit for a New Mexican Sunrise

After much head scratching, my partner eventually came up with this super beautiful design for the porch countertop. And as a bonus, it even matched the design of the stool!

stool in place with counter

This little nook is now the perfect place to eat breakfast and let the sunrise warm us up. We're happy with how it turned out and grateful to be able to gift these to Sandy and Dan for their tiny house at the Sheridan Farm Project. I hope this front porch brings many WWOOFers a happy moments in the years to come.

stool in place with counter

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