Fir Woodcutter’s Stool

At 18″ tall (45 cm dining chair height) this little stool is the perfect size for woodcutters to enjoy a quiet lunch. But looks are deceiving, despite its small stature, this stool weighs 40 lbs (18 kgs). That’s a heavy slab of fir. The legs are also bulky, approximately 3″ thick lengths of maple.

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The joints are notched out then pounded together to form a tight fit when the fibres dry. The legs have dowels inset and the fir top is pounded down with a heavy mallet. Some glue was added to the maple joints to prevent splitting. There are four legs, with pairs connected by a trestle. The pairs are then joined with a third trestle. The front legs have a wider gap to take advantage of the odd shaped round, with a narrower gap at the back of the stool. The design takes a lot of adjusting in the mitre saw to fit all pieces together. It’s patient work. This is a very sturdy stool. The wood is thick and heavy, and this becomes obvious sitting on it.

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The fir top was rough sanded with 60 grit and then the entire round was smothered in left over clear oil finish to seal up any cracks and prevent new ones. Once dry, the edge was ground to a smooth, touchable surface and the entire top was coated in water-based polyurethane semi-gloss finish. The legs were quite light in color so a torch was used to add some artificial age. The result is a warm, soft appearance that begs to be handled. The bark is left on.

The goal was to give some reverence to a nice fir round we found in a wood pile. It had a unique crescent shape probably formed from this tree growing too close to a neighboring tree. The wood came from a farm down the road and the maple is grown at our site. We grow pine, hazelnut, maple, fir, spruce, cedar, apple, cherry, plum, walnut, hawthorn and mountain ash.

#10-22-19 is spoken for and will find a home in a cozy cottage near a hearth. It will be a great stool to perch on in a big housecoat and warm up by the stove. For these images, we took the stool out back to a creek under a Tree of Heaven. The autumn colors make a great setting to sit, have a snack, and watch rush hour… Prairie Bench style.

Live Edge Picture Frames

A fun project using left over mill planks that were left with live edges… rough cuts.

The large one is hemlock and approx. 48″x24″. The interior image area is considerably smaller, approx. 12″x36″. A simple wide sketch might be appropriate, maybe using parts of the frame as elements of the picture. We were thinking a western motiff, perhaps a rider on a horse overlooking a vista on the high plains.

The smaller frame is cedar and aged. No finish is used. The size is approx. 36″x 18″. A light sanding with 80 grit removed any slivers. It is tricky to find usable 45° angles to join the sides of the frame. Little cuts are made until matching edges line up. The frames are both glued with PL, a construction grade adhesive.

Both frames are not numbered and created as an experiment. We’ll post an update when we find appropriate pictures to use in the frames.

Hemlock Live Edge Bench – for two

42″ long, 18″ high, 18″ wide. Uses 3″ thick slab of Hemlock on walnut legs with a walnut trestle design. The legs are glued with a cross beam, but pegged to the slab using gravity. The trestle then joins the legs with a snug fit. No metal is used.

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The Hemlock bench is finished in a mix of 50% polyurethane and 50% paint thinner. This mix leaves the appearance of a hand-worn lustre, instead of a shiny gloss. The bench is now on a front patio under cover, with a view of a beautiful rock garden.

Cedar Burl Scrying Bowl

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An ancient (over two hundred years old) river bourne cedar scrying bowl set upon Rowan branches.

This is a one-of-a-kind, very unique showpiece and an original Prairie Bench design. The hand ground Cedar Burl Scrying Bowl has been displayed in local studios and used by fortune tellers who look into future events.

The rich burgundy tones pop on the polished surface which holds approx. 1 liter of water. The legs are twisting and interlocking English Mountain Ash known as Rowan (used for wands) and harvested on site, then joined without metal to create a stunning tripod that cradles the bowl.

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The burl is large with an oval shape 40″ long and 24″ across. It’s approximately 12″ thick and set on the stand, the surface is 30″ tall.

‘River bourne’ means this burl came from a tree which fell naturally, swept into a river and later harvested by a licensed tug operator. On the ocean, we call it beachcombing. The source tree fell of it’s own accord or came down naturally. The only cut was to separate the burl from the timber.

The cedar burl has deep burn marks attributed to a lightning strike. You can see in the cross section where a bolt traveled into the wood. This is a unique feature showing burns directly next to untouched wood.

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Scrying is a custom used by sages and fortune tellers to ‘peer’ into the future through a medium such as water in a bowl. The practice is most commonly associated with Nostradamus.

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The Cedar Burl Scrying Bowl is precious and one of a kind so packaging will be extra heavy duty. The burl will need to be set carefully onto the legs once you have chosen its perfect position.

This unique showpiece is the original created by Prairie Bench Poco Canada, our small woodworkers studio that locates interesting examples of wood and uses them in designs. We use natural and safe synthetic materials to preserve and enhance features left by nature. See our moonlight test of the Cedar Scrying Bowl… click here.

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Garden Picture Frame and Mirror

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Another piece of wood on the todo pile was this interesting live edge cut of hemlock. There wasn’t enough length to create a table and the wood grain is interesting enough that in this case, form doesn’t need function. We’ve dubbed it the Garden Picture Frame.

The piece is 30″ square, hand ground and finished in weather resistant Prairie Bench Storybook finish. We might commission a painting, but for now it will sit on a rough cut easel and provide a simple window on imagination.

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Update: We’ve added a mirror!