David Richards, Bar stool, foot stool and pot stand from offcuts of stool. (TABLES, CHAIRS, DESKS 2022)

I joined the MenzShed in New Plymouth New Zealand following a family bereavement in late 2020, the shed specialises in wood work and despite not having a great deal of prior knowledge or experience in the field of wood work I have been encouraged by the current members and our co-ordinator, Phil Taylor, to take on a number of projects. I expressed a desire to make a “bar stool” along the lines of a smaller version that another member had made. The major difference in my bar stool is the height and hence the need for the “spider” to tie the base of the stool legs together. The materials used are all donated and recycled timber, the top is made from English Plane wood to which the legs are secured and 3 sections of a Japanese wood believed to be “Paulownia” the Empress Splendour. The Paulownia came from Japan at least the packing crate wood that we processed had “Japan” stencilled on the outside. The top when oiled now shines and the pattern appears to change when viewed from different angles. The legs are made from one piece of timber processed in 4 strips for each leg from Matai. The same material was used for the spider, getting the angles right took practice and with Phil’s encouragement I practiced on the drop saw with some pine to start with and then finally cut the spider to fit into the 3 legs. Prior to gluing up a couple of dry runs allowed for practising and ensuring clamps etc. where ready to hand. The legs are also pinned with brass dowels for added security. The glue up took approximately one and a half hours with Phil and me working to complete the work before the glue set. Following final assembly 3 coats of Danish Oil have been applied and Bee’s Wax then stool taken into use. I realised that your legs tended to dangle over the side of the stool which proved uncomfortable hence I made a foot stool using longer offcuts of the original stool timbers and created the simple box design with box joints using a band saw, another first for me. I could not bring myself to throw the seat offcuts in the fire-wood box so turned the triangle offcuts into a hexagonal pot stand with the leg offcuts as a surround. All in all the project has been great fun and much admired by shed members the sense of satisfaction and experience gained will enable me to tackle even more projects in the future. I would recommend a MenzShed to anybody looking for something to occupy oneself in retirement or just as a place to learn new skills. To quote Phil “what’s the worst that can happen you end up with fancy fire wood!” give it a Go.