W&F Project for Design*Sponge

You’ll need some tools:
  • Pocket screw guide
  • Drill
  • Saw
  • Square
  • Sandpaper
  • Rags to apply finish
You’ll need a few materials:
  • #6 carpet or upholstery tacks
  • Strap material, leather or upholstery webbing
  • 2x2 oak for legs
  • 1x2 oak for stringers
  • Pocket screws
  • Danish oil

Just wanted to welcome any new readers visiting from my project post over at Design*Sponge this morning! For those who haven’t seen it, I was kindly asked to create a project for them, and I hope it leads to some more. Thought I’d re-cap things here, but you can see the original post with this link – Matt’s Woven Leather Stool

Measure your leg height and mark the boards with a square. Perfectly square cuts will ensure you don’t create a wobbly bench. I cut mine for a fifteen inch height. Next cut all your stinger boards. To make a rectangular bench, I cut four eighteen inches in length and four at twelve inches.

Next, I drilled all my pocket screw guide holes. You can find an inexpensive pocket guide at most hardware stores. I use a Kreg model. Clamp it to the board and drill all your holes.

After all boards are cut and drilled, sand them to a smooth finish. It’s much easier to sand now than after it’s assembled. Sanding to at least a 220 grit will give you a furniture-grade surface.

Now it’s time to assemble. I cut a couple 3/8 pieces of scrap board to help position the stringers in the center of the leg pieces before attaching. I also used some scraps to uniformly space the lower stringers from the top. Now a complete side can positioned on your work surface before driving all the screws. Assemble both complete ends and then attach the two with your remaining stringer boards.

Now you have your complete frame to apply finish. I love using danish oil because it’s so easy to apply for a beautiful finish. Follow the instructions on the can and make sure it’s completely dry before adding your straps.

I had a bunch of short leather 1 1/2 inch straps from a previous project, so it was the perfect choice for the woven top. Otherwise you can use seatbelt webbing or upholstery straps. Cut your straps long enough to wrap completely around your boards. Using a tack hammer, I attached all the long pieces first and then weaved the remaining ones in and attached one by one. Because the leather straps were such thick material, its necessary to have gaps between them so they can be woven. The thinner your strap material, the closer they can be woven.

I chose to leave the leather natural and used light walnut colored Danish oil -but any number of stains, finishes or waxes can be used to create yours.

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20 Responses to “W&F Project for Design*Sponge”

  1. Wow, really beautiful work. I was really excited to see that you used a pocket guide. I usually think of projects like these as out of my reach because I don’t have the tools, but this makes it possible. I’ve wanted to try the pocket guide technique since reading about it several years ago in a book about cabinet-making. Seeing it in action in a simple, approachable (but well-designed) project makes it a lot more likely that I will go for it!

  2. Sally says:

    Hey Matt How do you attach the leather straps? Do you use special tacks or nails? Also are they wrapped the whole way around? We are in need of some footstools (I would love the Albini one you have but can’t find them in Australia) and these would be great…your work is amazing as always!

    • MMP says:

      Hey Sally, I used carpet tacks and just nailed each strap to the inside of the rails. There’s more pics on the Design*Sponge link of the inside. And thanks, I’m glad you like!

  3. Jorge says:

    Nice work! A shot from the bottom after weaving would be helpful…

  4. Logan says:

    Very cool dude! I was wondering what your “secret project” was gonna be with the leather and oak. I have a Kreg pocketdrill jig too, I used it when I built my dining table. This stool looks awesome, and congrats for the design*sponge post. Great idea!

  5. Emerald Son says:

    If I had the tools, I feel like I’d be half way there.

    Amazing, very.

  6. Jenn says:

    I think I am in love.

  7. chairsmith says:

    You make it look so easy! A beautiful piece – love the natural leather finish.

  8. steve says:

    Great site. Keep up the good work.

  9. I want to build a really long version of this to go behind my sofa. Looks so good!

  10. Nicholas Post says:

    Your woven leather stool is brilliant!

    I have a nice house which my wife and I purchased a couple years ago. We would love to have some custom made furniture and your woven leather stool would make a very nice addition to any room anywhere.

    I have a good woodcraft friend who own a wood shop with all possible power machines. I don’t think I will have any problem making one.

    One question, is it possible to make one as a double-seat leather stool, with middle reinforcement added something in it? Would you share your advise?

    I look forward hearing from you again soon.
    Nicholas Post

    • MMP says:

      Thanks, Nicholas. This could easily be built larger with either middle legs added or just use stronger spanning boards. If you’ve got a woodworking friend, they should be able to find the best route for your desired width. Good luck!

  11. I once had a wooden car, with wooden wheels, a wooden gear stick and a wooden engine. It wooden start.

  12. Mark says:

    Is your 2″x2″ oak used in the legs two pieces of 1″x2″ oak joined? I am having a hard time finding 2″x2″ oak.

    • MMP says:

      Hi Mark, those were glued up 2x2s. I wanted to use materials that were more accessible to most folks, so I used the oak joined boards from Home Depot. Sorry not to clarify!

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