Prototype Art Deco Piano Stool

We have this old piano stool in need of some love. It’s a bit banged up and a previous owner’s cat used to sharpen its claws on it.

The upholstery could do with a refresh also. Restoring it would be a good idea, but I was loathe to destroy a perfectly serviceable (if a bit dinged up) piano stool without a replacement.

So I decided to prototype a more angular version of the design, a bit art deco, using an old scaffolding board and some pine boards.

I particularly like the octagonal handles that taper with a curve to a square tenon. With the sharp edges remove, they feel lovely.

They started out as 1″ / 25mm square blanks. I used a spokeshave to create the tapers, then simply planed down the four corners to create the octagonal shape.

The long sides are sub-assemblies with half-blind dovetails. The legs have recessed housings (dados) for the short sides of the box, which then use small mortise and tenon joints to bring the box together.

Each leg also tapers in on the inside edges.

The base of the box is some thin (1/8″ / 3mm) board housed in a simple groove.

It’s much easier to assemble the long sides first… (hindsight is a wonderful thing).

The point of a prototype is to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

The dovetails were originally going to look like this, but they were way too weak, especially with a mortise right next to them – and I screwed them up.

So I ended up with single dovetails and a slightly narrower piano stool than intended.

I finished up with a basic hinged lid from some more of the reclaimed scaffold boards and a couple of coats of shellac.

With a bit of refinement and some slightly harder wood, I reckon this would work well as a piano stool. I think I’d add some geometric detailing at the tops of the legs to lay claim to the art deco description.

Still have to teach myself how to upholster seats, mind.

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