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10 Incredible Custom Wood Sitting Stools from Our Woodworking Contest

by Mark Stephens | November 16th, 2014
All photos use

For five months, nearly 100 woodworkers have been working on custom hand-made wood stools to submit to our woodworking contest. It came due on November 8, and in the end 38 pulled through.

On Friday November 14, we held reception and awards ceremony at Practical Art in downtown Phoenix. The folks who came got to see the projects up close and personal, talk with the makers, sample the seats, and enjoy the experience. It’s not too often that furniture made out of wood gets treated like an art form that can draw the attention of the public. But we try.

Those who came got to cast their votes for the pieces they admired the most. Below are the winners. We boxed this event up as a contest, but if you’ve seen a room full of custom wood furniture before, you’ll know that it’s nearly impossible to compare one piece to another. How to you grade a sculpted bar stool with arms and a back and put it on the same scale as a short three-leg milking stool? It’s not easy, and that’s why we put the power in the public. A bigger pool of opinions helped us whittle it all down to these top ten projects. But everyone who participated should be proud because they built beautiful furniture with their bare hands.

Congratulations to these winners, and thanks to our fine sponsors who provided prizes

 

First Place: Contemporary Counter Stool
by Bill Barrand

Woods used: Quartered Amara Ebony, Quilted Sapele, Mahogany

Bill’s project appears to blossom like a flower, the bent ebony and sapele support legs rising from petal-like mahogany feet. His striking choice of woods, unusual design, and flawless clear finish rose to the top of the list by earning the most votes in this contest.

Prize: JET Benchtop Spindle Sander, Tenryu Gold Medal Table Saw Blade

More images, click to enlarge:

 

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Second Place: Puzzle Seat Bar Stool
by John Porter

Woods used: Walnut, Quilted Maple, Ebony

John’s stool uses a turned segmented ring for the foot rest and for the seat base. The seat is attached to barstool swivel hardware, and the seat itself is hard to miss. He scrolled a puzzle from a piece of highly figured quilted maple, glued it back together, and put a bead of ebony around it.

Prize: Fein MultiMaster, Imperial Blades 3pc Set, Tenryu Gold Medal Table Saw Blade

More images, click to enlarge:

 

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Third Place: Swivel Musician’s Stool
by Barry Richardson

Woods used: Cherry, Walnut

Look close. The the four forked legs come together perfectly at the segmented base that hides a seat swivel inside — and there’s no small amount of hours put into the shaping and sculpting of these perfect cherry legs with chocolate-dipped feet. The seat diameter is over 18″, and was gently scooped and turned on the lathe. Check out the foot rest, it’s another segmented turning with butterfly keys at four major joints.

Prize: Bora Track Clamp, Tenryu Gold Medal Table Saw Blade

More images, click to enlarge:

 

Fourth Place: Sculpted Walnut Barstool
by Eric Larsen

Woods used: Walnut

Making a few nods to the styles of chair makers Sam Maloof and Scott Morrison, Eric pulled no punches when he sculpted this barstool. All the joints blend and curve into the surrounding wood giving the illusion that this stool was whittled out of a single chunk of a walnut tree – but not so. Ebony plugs accent the strength of the joinery and endear the hidden screws. Untold hours and days of grinding, scraping and sanding went into this piece. In the end, the entire piece, complete with arm rests, invite the dusty craftsman to sit down and drink a well-deserved cold one.

Prize: Kreg Jig K5 with Screw Kit

More images, click to enlarge:

 

Fifth Place: Tractor Seat Short Stool
by Brett Eichmann

Materials used: Walnut, steel

The chunk of walnut Brett used in his seat came from, in his words, “A Craigslist find on my road trip across Nebraska. This guy had a couple of walnut logs his wife wanted gone. I offered him twenty bucks. He wanted more than that. He looked at his wife, he looked at the twenty bucks, and, well, the wood is mine!” Brett dimpled the seat to give it a tooled leather look, each dimple painstakingly placed with a rotary carver. One at a time.

Prize: Kreg Set UP Bars

More images, click to enlarge:

Sixth Place: Toadstool
by Paul Porter

Woods used: Ash

Surely this one earns the humor award, too: a toadstool shaped sitting stool? This stool is about 15″ tall, and turned from a solid chunk of ash – yes, it’s heavy. Paul bleached the entire piece, then dyed the top with fabric dye, then limed the open ash grain with white wax for a rather cunning representation of a toadstool. Paul snaked this wood from an ash tree that came down in a neighborhood near 7th Ave and Bethany Home Road in Phoenix.

Prize: Whiteside 3-pc Router Bit Set for undersized plywood

More images, click to enlarge:

Seventh Place: Wine Barrel Bar Stool
by Michael McKovich

Woods used: Wine barrel staves, quarter sawn white oak

Mike salvaged some oak barrel staves and added a bit of his own quarter sawn oak to complete this bar stool that will no doubt find a home in a wine-lover’s hangout. Lag bolts secure the joints and a steel band for a foot rest ensure this stool will get through the test of time.

Prize: Taunton Press Book: Furniture and Cabinet Construction

More images, click to enlarge:

Eighth Place: Milking Stool
by Ryan Nelson

Woods used: Walnut, olive

The photos might deceive your eyes, but this stool just a about 14″ tall. In size and style it draws on the type of stool you might use when you’re milking a cow. Classic through-tenons join the legs to the seat, and a series of lap joints connect the lower rails. Ryan found a piece of locally cut olive to use as the center of the seat.

Prize: Taunton Press DVD, Small Tool Cabinet with Garrett Hack

More images, click to enlarge:

 

Ninth Place: Three-Legged Stool
by Brianna Voron

Woods used: Pecan

The symmetry in Brianna’s project makes it shine. The seat is a perfect round with squared edges, the legs turned dead-straight without embellishment. She also applied a Danish oil to the lower half of the legs to set them apart. The proportions, gentle raked and splayed legs, and the mineral-streaked piece of pecan all come together for a strong impression and a great looking piece of furniture.

Prize: Taunton Press Plans: Arts & Crafts Coffee Table Plans

More images, click to enlarge:

Tenth Place: Arts & Crafts Dressing Stool
by Robert Zicafoose

Woods used: Quarter sawn white oak

It takes a certain amount of courage to submit a wood stool with a leather-cushioned seat to a woodworking contest, but if you do take a leaf from Bob’s book. The Arts & Crafts style of the late 1800’s stands the test of time and furniture made in the genre leans on the craftsman’s touch to end up with a beautiful and well-executed piece of furniture. Bob pulled it off with just-right proportions (e.g., thinner vertical slats, nice rail heights, and squared legs), minor details (e.g., chamfered exposed tenons, beveled tops of the legs), and a classic dark mission finish.

Prize: Taunton Press Books: Handmade Furniture; Designing Furniture

More images, click to enlarge:

These Woodworkers Made 38 Custom Wood Stools, Now Vote For Your Favorites

by Mark Stephens | November 12th, 2014
All photos use

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UPDATE: We Have a Winner

Congratulations to John Beck, creator of Stool 101! He’s won this “round” of voting in the stool contest.

Tonight we’ll have a separate vote during the reception which will decide the winners of the tool packages and other prizes. Come to Practical Art at 7:00 pm (late is okay, come before 8:00 pm to participate in the live vote) tonight.

Come See The Exhibit In Phoenix

Friday November 14, 2014
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Practical Art
5070 N Central Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85012
(602) 264-1414

The 38 entries in this woodworking contest are made by Arizona woodworkers who have spent months creating custom wood sitting stools of all shapes and sizes. On November 14, we’re having a maker’s reception at Practical Art in downtown Phoenix. We’d like to award them some prizes, but need your help deciding.

We will have a voting system in place that night – anyone who comes can check out the entries and cast their votes for their three favorites. We’ll award prize packages of woodworking tools based on that vote.

But if you can’t come that night, we’ve set up this separate poll just for you. The winner here will get ag. We’re having a different vote Friday night for the other prizes. Be mindful of what you see here, we’re only giving you three votes and no more. Pretty simple, right? You get three pictures of each project to help form your opinion, so click ‘em to zoom.

Results display on the right.

To cast your vote for a stool, send a text message. Here’s how:

  1. Pick a stool to vote for.
  2. Send a text message to 22333 with the stool code below each picture (ex: STOOL305)
  3. Send one text message for each stool you choose
  4. Repeat until you’ve voted for your three favorites!
  5. This voting closes at Noon November 14, 2014 (at the reception, different voting takes place starting at 7:00 pm)

Spread the joy, people . . . yes you get three votes, but you may only vote once per stool.

Go ahead and share your thoughts in the comments at the bottom, too.

Voting Results

Ends 12:00 pm (noon) Nov. 14, 2014
Click Here to Show Final Results

Results here are audited and final. Congratulations to John Beck, creator of Stool 101

Visit The Exhibit of Custom-Made Wood Sitting Stools by Arizona Woodworkers

by Mark Stephens | October 23rd, 2014
All photos use

 

bassam-fellows-tractor-2If you enjoy marveling at beautiful custom hand-made woodworking projects, you’ll get a kick out of this exhibit. For the last few months, woodworkers all over Arizona have been working hard on crafting wood sitting stools of any design, shape, and style for our woodworking contest.

This exhibit is open to the public, and you’re invited to check it out.

You’ll be dazzled by the variety of interpretations, choices of designs, and skillful uses of woods that each participant put effort into. In fact, you’ll be asked to cast your vote for your favorites, in turn we’ll award prizes to the top entries.

Come check it out:

When

Friday November 14, 2014
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Where

Practical Art
5070 N Central Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85012
(602) 264-1414

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