I was asked to make some kauri stools to match a table that a client is planning to make for his daughter. A commission does not come much better than this.
The client who is a very accomplished woodworker and wooden boat builder had a design in mind that we had both seen in a magazine article. Other than this he basically gave me “free reign” if I thought some changes were needed. The timber that the client supplied is some amazing quarter sawn kauri that he had from his boat building days and has been carefully storing for over twenty years. It is of this same kauri that he will be making the table.
I sent him a concept drawing that showed a few changes that I felt looked right and also improved the strength of the stool. Once this concept had been approved I started on the prototype that I wanted to make from a combination of kauri, totara and New Zealand silver beech timber. The stool height had been fixed to suit the table that they were for and I thought that one can’t have too many stools and I would be happy to keep this one. Most of the furniture that I make is of my own design and either in small batches or one-offs and I normally prefer to make a full sized prototype to decide on the best joinery for the job and to make sure that it will look and feel right.
Spring is always a busy time on a lifestyle block so I was fortunate that the client was not in a rush for his stools and I could spend some time on the upkeep of our property and all the timber trees that we are growing. After a few days of pruning and milling some timber with my chainsaw mill I was looking forward to again spending a day or two in my workshop making the stool.
These photos show a little of the process in planning and building a new product. The making of this stool required a lot of hand tool use especially in the shaping of the seat hollow. An inshave helped to get the rough hollow formed and then the travisher was a very efficient tool for smoothing out the hollow. I used a chisel for shaping the edges and the finer details. The legs and spindles have been shaped and now it’s some finishing touches that need doing and then the assembly and oiling before the stool prototype is ready for some testing.