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Finishing Touches for Rustic Handmade Stools or “how to fix a rocky stool or chair”

April 19, 2014

Finishing Touches for Rustic Handmade Stools or “how to fix a rocky stool or chair”

At one time or another  especially if you love vintage finds or just need a cheap chair from a kit or department store you may find that all four feet will not sit evenly on the floor or they may have not even been trimmed down so the whole footprint of the foot is on the floor. Not just annoying but even really cheap chairs or stools will last so much longer. Seating takes more abuse than any other piece of furniture..anything you can do to help it stay together with the twisting and shifting weight they have to hold is a good thing. saves dents to your floor and even helps keep the felts on because the weight is on the whole surface of the felt.

HoneyBear Lane

notice each leg is not sitting on the floor surface


Heidi from HoneyBear Lane gathered up some production windsors [the link takes you to her great tutorial on painting them ombre] and her photo shows how just the edge of each leg is on the floor surface.

I made my son a farmhouse table and just bought cheap kit windsors like these to paint and send along with it…threw out the horrid glue that came with them, used two part epoxy instead and levelled the legs…they are still as sturdy as they were 10 years ago..not from lack of use.




As I was just putting the finishing touches a series of rustic wood stools /side tables for a couple of custom orders I took a few photos to show you how easy it is to square them up nice and level. This technique will help you fix a rocky stool or chair. Anyone can do this and it might be obvious but here is how I do it.


My workbench is flat and level, just find a comfortable surface that does that for you.

leveling rustic wood stool

the freshly made stool with attention needed to the feet


I place a small round level on the seat and if it is not sitting square I put a small wedge under the feet to level the whole thing.

rustic stool

small wood wedge to hold it square


Find a flat thin piece of wood [ I do so many I have different thickness’ with a hole in them] just make sure the thickness will allow a pencil held on it’s side to mark the highest point that does not touch the bench surface , you may have to hunt around, even a sturdy flat piece of cardboard would do the trick

leveling rustic stool foot

make sure the side of the pencil stays flat

marking stool leg

pencil and mark



Then you keep the pencil level on your wood and draw a line around each foot. When you have them all marked you have to SAW the waste away, it is not too difficult just go slowly and try to keep the saw at the angle you have marked. Some folks use a stationary disc sander to do this quickly, I find it marks up my leg and is not as accurate.

leveling stool leg

carefully sawing below my line

My dozuki saw is king for hold it at the angle and gently saw the waste away leaving the line, that way if it is not perfect you can either resaw carefully or sand down to the line. I sand with a block to take away the saw marks and make sure each is just touching the pencil line. If you do not have one of these saws in your tool kit try to buy one, i use it often and not just for my work…any homeowner especially the DIYer should have one, they are accurate and so easy to use.

Rustic Stool

freshly cut ready to sand

Rustic Stool

Sanding with a block to keep the bottom flat


Keep your block angled so you do not lose your marks or sand unevenly. Then just soften the edges of your cut with a folded piece of sandpaper, that looks so nice plus it keeps the foot from chipping, with a hard knock it might dent but a piece will not break off.

Rustic Stool

Softening the edges, taking away pencil mark


And there you are..looks finished and lovely.  Just seven more to go then off to my finishing room.

Rustic Stool

sitting flat

Rustic Stool



Rustic Stool

marking leg



And hoping these rustic handmade stools are happy in their new homes, sitting flat and steady on the floor, carefully made here at Cattails Woodwork.

The post Finishing Touches for Rustic Handmade Stools or “how to fix a rocky stool or chair” appeared first on Cattails Woodwork by Brenda Watts.

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