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I want to build a bench with legs that go through the top that is similar to this: enter image description here I have two main questions.

  1. I am thinking of doing the legs straight up and down for a more minimal, easier construction. What does it change structurally if I wanted have the legs straight?

  2. If i wanted to copy the angled assembly, I planned on drilling through the top with a drill press set at a fixed angle, but I'm not sure how to go about removing the material for the leg at an angle?

  • @graphus, Certainly there are many ways to do this, but with the jig, I can ensure that every leg is the same length from the bottom of the <fill in the blank>, and more importantly, running a handsaw across the top of a jig takes a lot of scribe/measure/mark operations out of my hands. I ran three legs on a stool in less than 5 min (conservatively). – user3158591 Sep 11 at 18:13
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I am thinking of doing the legs straight up and down for a more minimal, easier construction. What does it change structurally if I wanted to have the legs straight?

The stool is slightly less stable front-to-back if the legs don't splay. Or to put it another way, it'll tend to want to tip forwards or backwards unless the seat of the stool is deep enough front to back that the legs are far enough apart. For a narrow stool the legs splaying is an important feature.

I'd encourage you to draw a sketch or better yet, make a quick mockup of the design with vertical legs. They're less common not only because of lower stability, they also tend to look a bit odd..... although some of that might be from us being conditioned to expect splay in chair legs :-)

If I wanted to copy the angled assembly, I planned on drilling through the top with a drill press set at a fixed angle

Remember legs like in the pictured stool are at a compound angle, that is, they angle outwards in two directions.

Once you get your head around the angles it isn't too difficult to learn to do this manually (using a brace or with a power drill) along with a pair of bevel gauges or other angle guides to help check and maintain alignment. There are numerous guides to this process in books, magazine articles and online if you want to explore this option.

But there's no shame in doing it on a drill press, if you own one you might as well use it! There's a good old guide to doing this on the drill press in the Nov. 1941 issue of Popular Mechanics which you can see here on Google Books.

I'm not sure how to go about removing the material for the leg at an angle?

Make the tenon portion deliberately overlong and then saw flush if you have a suitable saw1, or nearly flush with another type of saw (protecting the surface from scratching if needed), after which you use some combination of planing, paring with a chisel or sanding to remove the excess. Regardless of which you do expect that some final planing, scraping or sanding will be necessary for a perfectly smooth and flush finished result.

As these things are fundamental to the process of making a stool such as this I think you could do with reading a good guide to making any similar stool, and/or looking at a video or two. These will cover the above, as well as other important aspects2 which will help ensure your project is a success.


1 Flush-cutting saws, are now widely and inexpesively available e.g. from Amazon.

2 Marking the legs for cutting them to final length is one, how to safely wedge the through-tenons is another.

  • thanks for your kind and detailed answer! and thank you for the links. i have made a sketch and it does seem like it would be less stable. i was planning on removing the wood for the tenson with a table saw like in this video youtube.com/watch?v=PEHVyde0J5A i understand that the holes through the bench would be drilled at compound angles, i just dont seem how i could cut the tensons at at angle to match? maybe a jig on the table saw. – B. Chas Aug 29 at 13:53
  • Welcome, that's what we're here for. Are you wondering about getting the "shoulder* of each leg (the bump-out below the tenon) at the correct angle? Often this is not actually done, if there is a shoulder it's just straight across. But typically well-made chairs don't have a shoulder on their legs, there's a smooth transition from the leg's upper diameter to the tenon if that makes sense. You'll see this clearly in some of the guides out there as it's the norm for e.g. windsor chairs. – Graphus Aug 29 at 18:25
  • To somewhat extend, cutting the "feet" in a project I had, meant creating a jig to the right height that had a flat surface (representing what would be the floor). That gave me a way to cut all legs the same length, and without calculating all the compound angles. – user3158591 Aug 29 at 21:32
  • @user3158591, can't the same be accomplished by just shimming up the shorter legs, scribing all four, and then trimming to the scribe line? – Graphus Aug 30 at 6:52
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    @Graphus , sorry im new to the technical terms, yes curious about cutting the shoulder correctly. Ive seen tutorials of the chairs with no shoulder, very nice. Thanks for suggesting videos and how-tos, i think i have pulled together the info to build. – B. Chas Aug 30 at 7:06

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