Introduction

Building Off the Grid: Alaska Range

Using scrap wood and firewood, the Whites built children’s stools for the upstairs loft. These adorable stump stools are sturdy and easy to make, but will be treasured and used for many years.

Step 1

Building Off the Grid: Alaska Range

Photo by: Ana White

Ana White

Cut Firewood

Cut firewood rounds about 2” thick from a 10”-14” diameter tree, using a chain saw.

Pro Tip

Trees harvested in the winter, when sap is not running in the tree, normally retain bark better, and will seep less sap.

Step 2

Building Off the Grid: Alaska Range

Photo by: Ana White

Ana White

Create a Plywood Base

Trace the firewood piece out on to a scrap piece of 1/4" thick plywood.

Pro Tip

The secret to the sturdiness of these stools is a hidden plywood piece under the firewood stump top. As the firewood piece dries, it will split, creating weakness in the stool top. The plywood will prevent the firewood piece from completely splitting appart.

Step 3

Building Off the Grid: Alaska Range

Photo by: Ana White

Ana White

Cut the Base

Use a jigsaw to cut the traced shape out, cutting about 1/2” inside the traced line so the plywood piece is not visible from the sides when attached.

Step 4

Building Off the Grid: Alaska Range

Photo by: Ana White

Ana White

Glue the Base

Apply glue generously to the firewood piece underside.

Step 5

Building Off the Grid: Alaska Range

Photo by: Ana White

Ana White

Attach the Plywood

Use a staple gun, nail gun or screws to attach the plywood piece to the underside of the stump. Keep fasteners around outside of plywood piece, avoiding center area where legs will be attached.

Step 6

Building Off the Grid: Alaska Range

Photo by: Ana White

Ana White

Cut the Legs

Use a compound miter saw, set to 20 degrees off square, to cut the legs. You will need three legs per stool, each leg cut 12” long, long point to short point measurement, ends cut parallel at 20 degrees off square.

Pro Tip

Three legs are recommended over four. The stool will not rock, even if the firewood piece is not cut perfectly square or warps over time.

Step 7

Building Off the Grid: Alaska Range

Photo by: Ana White

Ana White

Drill Holes

Drill two pocket holes on one end of each of the legs, with the pocket hole jig set for 1-1/2” thick stock. The pocket holes should be drilled on the long end of the angle cuts.

Step 8

Building Off the Grid: Alaska Range

Photo by: Ana White

Ana White

Insert Screws

Insert screws in the pocket holes and place the legs on the stool underside, equally spaced in between.

Step 9

Building Off the Grid: Alaska Range

Photo by: Ana White

Ana White

Attach Legs

Attach legs with 2-1/2” pocket hole screws and wood glue.

Step 10

Building Off the Grid: Alaska Range

Photo by: Ana White

Ana White

Test the Weight

Test the stools to make sure they will support adequate weight and are stable and sturdy.

Step 11

Building Off the Grid: Alaska Range

Photo by: Ana White

Ana White

Paint the Legs

Turn the stool upside down and paint the legs.

Step 12

Building Off the Grid: Alaska Range

Photo by: Ana White

Ana White

Personalize It

The best part of a handmade project is the unique customizations.  Use a paint markers to personalize the stool top.

Step 13

Building Off the Grid: Alaska Range

Photo by: Ana White

Ana White

Coat It

The stool top should be coated with a clear poly. Several coats are recommended to fully seal the bark and end grain.