I decided that I need a footstool. Not that I have a lot of time for putting my feet up, but I at least want the option. With that decision made, I moved on to design.
The lowly footstool has existed in just about every shape and form that can be imagined. Not that the footstool has been the focus of designers throughout the ages, but that it has been a piece ubiquitous furnishing. No matter the time period or the economic status, everyone seems to have need of a footstool. This gives me an almost endless array of choices. So naturally I came up with my own version. Well, loosely based upon this photo of a mid-century version.
Over the years I have amassed an eclectic collection of projects. There are a few traditional, several Japanese influenced and recently a few of the “staked” style. The trick has been to get them all to coexist as an ensemble. Material selection plays a big role. Mostly pine, oak and a smattering of other hardwoods. What really pulls the pieces together is my “decorative” elements. Wood burning, knot tieing and kolrosing can be found in varying degrees. The more pieces I build, the more effort I must put into ensuring that the aforementioned elements are incorporated to continue the semblance of a harmonious collection.
So, to design this little footstool I had a few goals in mind.
- Mid century modern flavor.
- Staked construction.
- Upholstered top.
- Fit on a 24″ square (I’ll explain).
- Proportional design.
Th top will be asymmetrical. A simple layout with a compass and straight edge using a module based upon the desired height of the stool. After some trial and error I found a layout that fit within my 24″ square constraint.
WARNING: For the faint of heart purest who has stumbled upon this blog. I make full use of the Devil’s lumber (cheap plywood) in this project. Continue reading at your own risk!
I’m not sure how it is in the rest of the world, but here in the USA plywood is sold in 2ft square configurations. The big box home center sells 24″x24″, 24″x48″ and 48″x96″ sheets of ply. I wanted a thick top and I knew that I would need a double layer of ply. So a piece of 24″x48″ ply would yield a double layer lamination 24″ square.
- Pure design would not consider material thicknesses and sizes.
- Production design weighs the yield of multiple assemblies against available materials and overall cost.
- Hillbilly design works within the constraints of commonly available materials and strives to keep functionality, accessibility, cost and form in balance for single assemblies. 😉
This thick top would add rigidity and durability to the staked construction. It would also add weight to anchor the footstool in place. There is nothing worse than a footstool that you have to constantly chase and return to the desired location. Lastly, a thick stop adds strength and durability. This footstool will mostly be used as intended, but will also be pressed into service for sitting and even standing on (we have all done this). So I want it to be rock solid. The top will also be upholstered for comfort.
The legs will be the same as for my other staked pieces, oak. When I ordered oak billets for the side tables I ordered two extra blanks in case something went wrong. Those two pieces of 1-1/2″ oak will provide enough material for the four required legs.
So I have a design…
I’ll go into more detail concerning the design and get the making started in Part 2.
Greg Merritt Part 2