Monday, November 03, 2008

Tage Frid's stools

Oh, don't start snickering... I know that sounds funny. Frid's stools. But if you know who he is, and if you know the stools we're talking about, you'd be sitting up straight and paying attention. Especially considering the fellow who's building them, and how much work he's put into this project.

I meet a lot of nice people who read this blog. By "meet", I mean I exchange e-mails with them online. They come from all over the world, all walks of life, all professions and both sexes. I can't tell you how much I like talking about woodworking. I wake up in the morning thinking about what I am going to be doing in my woodshop, and I go to sleep with thoughts of my next day in the woodshop.

So when people write to me and want to "talk wood" - I am always game.

So this fellow Lynn wrote to me a while ago, asking me a few questions about building Tage Frid's stools. I built them a long time ago, maybe 20 years ago, and with what brain cells I have left, I recall that they were A CHALLENGE.

Here are my stools.

Frid's stools have details like hand cut dovetails, compound angles, long tapers and wedged tenons. In short, if you make these, you're a hell of a woodworker.

So Lynn contacted me a while ago, telling me that he was planning on building these stools, but he was planning on changing the dimensions, making them taller. I vaguely remember thinking - hey, good luck with that!

Imagine my surprise when I heard from him this week about his progress. Not only that, he sent me some great pictures of his progress, and I'll tell you... I'm totally impressed.

He not only tackled the complicated joinery, but managed to make a new and improved version of these stools. I love the new, elongated look of his stool.

By the way, using tenon cutters is a challenge in and of itself.

I think the first time I used a tenon cutter, I took off half a knuckle.

I don't know about you, but I'm in awe of people like him. OK, maybe it's the glass of wine that I'm drinking while I'm writing this, but understand this - building these stools isn't your basic weekend project. There's a lot going on in these eight pieces of wood.

And revising the design - by making it taller and with a different footprint, is quite impressive.

Lynn was concerned about a few things - while making the chair taller, he felt the seat was too small in relationship to the legs.

I completely agree. When I built these stools many years ago, I felt the seat was too small, as well. And that was without increasing the height.

Since Lynn built a prototype of these stools first, to iron out the details, I suspect that he'll increase the size of the seat.

He's also concerned that the footprint is a little too large, so he might tweak the angles a bit.

Lynn's still working on his stools, but has promised to send some photos when they're done. He still needs to make the lower stretchers, and has some shaping to do on the legs.

And finally, after all the adjustments, he felt like the angle of the seat was "off" a bit - so he's going to experiment with (possibly) shortening the back leg. It's ambitious, but I know he'll figure it out.

If Tage was still alive, I think he would be OK with that. Nice work, Lynn.

1 comment:

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