100% Pallet Wood Stool

3 Materials
I had some wood left over from my greenhouse build and decided to make a pallet wood stool for my workshop. If you exclude the glue and finish it is 100% pallet wood and therefore very cheap indeed to build! I'll take you through the main steps below and if you head over to my YouTube channel you can see a more detailed 3 part tutorial. Thank you very much for checking my post out!
I started by finding 5 lengths of pallet wood around 100cm long each (around 39") and cutting them in half. Then I cut each of those pieces down their length, giving me 20 equal lengths. The lengths were glued up overnight.
Pallet wood cut and glued.
24 hours later I planed the pallet wood block flat and squared the edges making it rectangular. If you have access to a power planer or a planer thicknesser then this step is much easier! You could of course leave it as is, if you want to retain the worn colour of the pallet wood.
Planing the seat flat.
Once its flat you can draw two lines diagonally from corner to corner, these lines will determine the path of the legs. I came in from each corner around 10cm to determine the centre of the mortice for the legs.
Fully marked out.
This is where it gets a little more complicated! It's a good idea to have the legs splay out a little, this gives the stool more rigidity and less prone to swaying. Checking online I found a few sources citing the ideal angle for the mortices as 14 degrees (detailed in the photo below). So I set my bevel gauge to that angle and made sure to drill each hole to the angle, checking it every few turns to make sure I was still on course.
Keeping the angle for the mortices.
Mortices drilled and ready!
The next step is to make the tenons on the legs. Find the centre of the end of the leg, once again with diagonal lines, and use a compass to draw a circle to the size of the mortice in the middle. Use a saw and a chisel (or just a saw if you wish) to make the rough shape of the tenons and finish off with sandpaper or a chisel, I used a rounding plane also which you can see in the video.
Tenons being cut and rounded.
I didn't have any plan for the shape of the legs, I just carved them down to a shape that pleased me! It's a good idea to label each leg to a mortice as the sizes always seem to differ, so if you make each leg to fit a particular mortice you'll get a much better fit at the end.
All 4 legs done!
When it came to carving the seat out I used a chisel to take away most of the waste wood before coming in with a spoon plane to smooth it off some more.
Chiseling out the bulk of the waste.
I cut the two back corners off the seat with a saw to give it a less square look and took off the edges with a spokeshave. I then used a file to smooth it some more.
A spokeshave is a joy to use.
I took some 60 grit sandpaper and went over the whole seat to smooth off any rough edges and any possible splinters. This isn't the final sanding but more of a vigorous sanding.
Sanding down the seat.
The next step is to push the legs in and draw where the wedges will go into the tenons. When using this kind of joinery glue alone wont do to keep the legs in place. So in order to make them fit tightly, you put wedges into the tops of the tenons. This makes the tenon expand at the top and therefore its impossible for the leg to wiggle out of place. You have to make sure the orientation of the wedges is at a right angle to the grain (as shown below). If I were to bash the wedges in along the grain, the seat could split apart.
Drawing the wedge line.
Once you've trimmed the tenons off to just above the surface of the stool, you can then cut the lines for the wedges and make the wedges to go inside them. The easiest way to make the wedges is to cut some hardwood along the grain in the rough shape of the wedge you want. Then you can trim it down with a chisel whilst pushing against a block of wood, as seen in the photo.
Cutting the wedge slot and making a wedge.
The next step is the most horrifying, the glue up! Start by laying the stool seat on your work surface, top down. Get all your legs in order and glue them up one by one, spreading the glue evenly over the whole tenon. Push the legs in one by one and then flip the stool over and stand the stool on its legs. Line up the legs properly and use a rubber mallet to hit the seat down around the tenons to get a tight fit, making sure the legs are fully seated.
Take a wedge and apply a small amount of glue evenly to each side and slot into the top of a tenon, keep some pressure down on the seat and start to tap the wedge in with a hammer. Eventually you'll hear the sound of hitting the wedge change, as if the wedge and the stool have become one. When you feel as if that has happened, you can stop and move onto the next wedge. Leave the stool to dry overnight.
Gluing up and hitting the wedges in.
24 hours after the glue up you can cut the tenons and wedges off which are protruding above the seat and then give it a final sanding with 240 grit sandpaper. After that you can apply whatever finish you like, I prefer Danish oil for its low lustre finish.
The final product, sturdy and comfortable.
All that's left to do is to leave it for around 48 hours to make sure its fully dry and then put it to good use! Thanks a lot for looking through the steps and please if you like what I do and would like to support me in making bigger and better things then have a look at my Patreon page:
Thank you very much! Please feel free to ask any questions you may have below.

Suggested materials:

  • Pallet Wood   (Various sources for free)
  • PVA Glue   (Amazon)
  • Danish Oil   (Amazon)

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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