How to Build a Stump Stool

Learn how to build a stump stool from a fallen tree in the forest, includes helpful tips on constructing the wooden stool.

| November/December 1977

Learn how to build a stump stool out of a natural log from the forest.

How to Build a Stump Stool

You've probably seen a tree trunk-type footrest before, in which case you don't need me to tell you what a stump stool is. Until you've actually owned one of these dandy foot supports yourself, however, you won't appreciate how aesthetic and functional an addition to your living room one or two of the leg rests can be.

Stump stools are eye-catching . . . fun to manipulate with your feet (they can do for your feet what a worry stone does for the hands) . . . and — best of all — easy to make. A bucksaw and a rasp are all the tools you'll need to make a stump stool, and the raw material costs you nothing except a walk in the forest.

When I'm scouring the woods for stool material, I look for dead trees that have been weathered clean of their bark. Their weather-stripped trunks are usually a delightful shade of gray or brown and (because they're so dry) very light and strong. A tree with a diameter of 9 inches to 18 inches will do just fine.

If you can, try to find one of the weathered trunks that's blown part of the way over, but still isn't touching the ground. (Trees that have come in contact with the earth are usually rotted out, or beginning to rot.) A tree that lists is easier to fell with a bucksaw than one that stands straight up.

I find it's easiest just to cut the stools right in the woods and take 'em home with me ten at a time in a duffel bag. (Ten is a good number . . . it represents about an afternoon's worth of rasping and sanding.) Once you've felled a tree, just make two crosswise cuts — one at right angles to the tree's centerline, and one at an angle of 30 degrees to the first cut — in the thickest area(s) of the trunk. (The short side of the bole should measure approximately 7 inches to 9 inches.) Keep doing this until you have the number of stools you want.

Ted Frumkin
10/2/2008 2:08:16 PM

Try cutting legs into the piece. Can be seen at :

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