Woodworking Projects: DIY Wooden Stool

After a band of powerful storms ripped across northwest Georgia a few years ago, Marvin Garner woke to find two large trees — a cherry and a sycamore — resting horizontally on his property. An avid craftsman, lover of trees, and recycler, my friend breathed new life into the trunks. He cut several wide slices from the felled trees, sanded the surfaces, added legs, brushed on a few coats of stain, and transformed the rough, woody rounds into rustic stools. 

I was the grateful recipient of one of Marvin’s magnificent cherry log stools. Today, it’s a showpiece in our home and collects compliments from every guest who sees it. I’ve always wanted to learn how to make my own stump stool, so when two tornadoes toppled trees in my yard last year, I asked Marvin for a stool-making lesson. He obliged.

Safety first

Prior to operating a chainsaw, ensure the saw is functioning properly and the chain is adjusted and sharpened according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Clear away dirt, debris, or small limbs before you start cutting the trunk. Wear proper personal protective equipment when operating a chainsaw, including chaps, work gloves, safety glasses, hearing protection and work boots. And as always, be cautious of saw kick-back.

Building the stool

According to Marvin, hardwood tree rounds produce the best stump stools. Hardwoods include oak, hickory, maple, cherry, walnut, elm, poplar, sycamore and more. “But sweet gum wood tends to crack a lot during the drying process, so I don’t use sweet gum,” he says.

Step 1: Make the Cuts

With a chainsaw, cut one or more 12- to 18-inch diameter rounds that are approximately 4 to 5 inches thick. Larger diameters and thicknesses will produce very heavy stools that will be almost impossible to lift and move around.

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