Weekend Project

Justin Newcombe's tips on outdoor DIY projects

Weekend project: Creating the perfect perch

By Justin Newcombe

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Whether it be for inside or for the workshed, a bar stool can be just the ticket for sitting down on the job. Justin Newcombe shows us how to make our own.

Justin Newcombe adds the finishing touches to his new bar stool. Photo / Richard Robinson
Justin Newcombe adds the finishing touches to his new bar stool. Photo / Richard Robinson

There are many times when we want a perch to roost on while we get on with our daily jobs. Considering the diversity of work surfaces we use, that perch might need to encompass considerable variations in height and width. Your classic bar stool is tall and slender allowing for adequate seating at a standing-bench height but the design of this stool could also work at much lower altitudes. Once it is cut out, the stool is easy to assemble, can be finished in a variety of ways and with a little elbow grease will look as much at home in a kitchen as the workshop.

I cut out the components using a small skill saw and a straight edge. The cuts are mitred on a 45 degree angle and the straight edge ensures I get a straight cut each time. I used a router for the internal cuts to reduce the amount of finishing I would have to do but a jig saw, skill saw, hand saw or combination of these will do.

Options for enhancing the timber, even the cheap ply I'm using here, are numerous. There's paint of course, and stain, but my preference is for dye. It has the interesting quality of enhancing the variations in the grain but you do have to be meticulous in your surface preparation, as any marks you make will be picked up by the dye. Lastly, I polished the stool with furniture wax which gave a fine lustrous finish. Wax can be applied after the dye has dried or directly to the bare wood: either way you'll find even the most mundane looking surfaces will take on a more interesting, pearly hue.

Step 1

Measure the area you'll be using the stool in and where it will be stored. This will help you work out the height and width you need. My stool is 50mm wider at the bottom than the top. Draw a template on a piece of MDF or stiff cardboard. The template will be full length but only one half of the profile is required.

Step 2

Using the template, draw the first half of the profile on the ply wood then flip it over and draw the other half. The stool is flared at the bottom, so by using this method you should get a symmetrically exact profile - important not only for construction but it will also make cutting out really efficient.

Step 3

Using a straight edge and a skill saw on a 45 degree angle, cut out the four sides required. Mark out the internal openings and cut using a router, jig saw, skill saw, hand saw or a combination.

Step 4

Place the pieces together like a fan and tape together on the outside join using wide sticky tape or gaffer tape. Glue the inside of the seam using Gorilla polyurethane glue that expands into the joints, fold the sides together like a box and tape to join. Allow to dry thoroughly - I allow a day - then remove the tape.

Step 5

Screw in 90 degree brackets at the top of stool and allow to dry.

Step 6

Screw on seat top, sand and finish with paint, dye or stain and wax.

- NZ Herald

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