Staked Stool


This is true European peasant furniture at its most typical... such a familiar form of construction that a vocabulary of terms has hardly been found to describe it, but some early inventories seem to refer to it as 'staked,' or 'with stake feet.' — Victor Chinnery, Oak Furniture: The British Tradition (1979)

Some sources refer to this construction as “Windsor type” (including Chinnery) as a less-sophisticated precursor to those famous chairs, but “staked” seems appropriately frank for a furniture form which is, bluntly, stakes in a plank.  A careful study of Medieval and Renaissance paintings reveals many examples throughout Europe, as stools, chairs, and tables.  Christopher Schwarz has cornered the market with these images on his Lost Art Press blog, so I won’t repeat them here.  In German this form is known as Brettstuhl, which can be translated as “plank stool”.

<em>Brettstuhl</em> Staked chair and stool from German ebay listing

In the December 2012 issue of Popular Woodworking, Schwarz authored a piece about a Moravian Stool (shown below), based on examples at historic Old Salem, North Carolina.  About twenty years ago, Roy Underhill illustrated a “backstool” or chair version on The Woodwright’s Shop and in one of his books.

Moravian Stool from <em>Popular Woodworking</em> December 2012

I used the article as a basis, but I did not follow the construction precisely.  I simplified the shape of the battens, making the entire long sides beveled rather than just shallow beveled notches.  Instead of round turned tenons and bored mortises, I made tapered tenons and matching tapered mortises.