DIY

A Stool Styled by Zapotec Indians

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Diagram shows the dimensions and assembly method of the stool.
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The concave seat design—originated by the Zapotec Indians of southern Mexico—looks uncomfortable but actually fits the human anatomy very well.

If you’ve ever been stuck without a sturdy support to sit
on, you’ll appreciate this simple stool based upon a
design that’s been used, for ages, by the Zapotec Indians
of southern Mexico. To make one, round up a five-foot
length of 1 X 12 (old shelving is fine), 16 four-penny
finishing nails, some white or yellow carpenter’s glue, a
ruler, a protractor, and a saw.

Start by cutting the board into two 14″ and two 16″
lengths, then trim a V-shaped 135° notch in one end of
each 14″ section (you can also remove a decorative
3 1/4″ X 3 1/4″ X 5″ wedge from the opposite end of the two
components, if you wish). Next, from each of your remaining
two pieces of lumber, cut two (lengthwise) parts: the first
6 1/2″ wide, the other only 2″ wide and lopped down to
14″ in length. Now place one of the 6 1/2″ X 16″ seat
halves, temporarily, into position on one slope of the
V-notch, and mark the inside edge of the slanted board so
you’ll be able to trim off an appropriate-sized sliver (in
order to allow the plank to meet its “mate” smoothly).
Repeat the process with the other seat portion to complete
the mitered V-joint, then fashion two 3/4″ X 2″ notches
in each of the stool’s leg planks–midway between top and
bottom–to accommodate the struts.

With all the pieces trimmed to size, assemble your project
by simply “white gluing” the parts together and securing
them with finishing nails.
(Yes, the seat is supposed to extend beyond the legs
slightly!) After giving it a light sanding, you’ll find
that this very uncomfortable-looking stool is actually a
pleasure to sit on … because the handmade hassock was
designed with the behind in mind!