wood-stool-diy-ho-to-make-bar-stool-tutorial_0040Alright, it’s day 2 of the DIY workshop stool. I’ve finished figuring out how to put together the Grrripper (a device that lifts your hand away from the wood as you feed it through he table saw – they include a DVD which if you still have one of those ancient players it is well worth watching through), and now it’s time to prep the table saw. Initially I fed a piece of lumber through the table saw only to feel it resist an abnormal amount. It was not a pretty sight and felt a bit dangerous so I quickly hit the ‘stop’ button on the saw with my knee. After all the last thing you want is kickback – where the board slams you in the face and you have to come up with excuses for your girlfriend. Turns out my table saw needed a bit of rust sanded off the surface and a wax job. Now everything slides right through, always take care of your equipment. I ripped each leg of the stool to be 1.5 inches wide.wood-stool-diy-ho-to-make-bar-stool-tutorial_0041With the digital angle meter I measured the actual angle of the miter saw table (though I am not sure I did this at the time or after I cut everything – it would be a good idea to do it first!)wood-stool-diy-ho-to-make-bar-stool-tutorial_0042Since the angle of the legs needs to be a compound cut of 7 degrees on the blade and 7 degrees on the table I added in the relative angle of 3 degrees to make 10. Ok I know I lost most of you there…but follow if you can, or just push forward because you can always correct it later on as I seemed to have done.wood-stool-diy-ho-to-make-bar-stool-tutorial_0045wood-stool-diy-ho-to-make-bar-stool-tutorial_0046To make all legs exactly the same length I ganged them together and clamped them tight.wood-stool-diy-ho-to-make-bar-stool-tutorial_0047Then I made the compound miter cut of 10 degrees on the blade (due to the relative angle of the saw), and 7 degrees on the table.wood-stool-diy-ho-to-make-bar-stool-tutorial_0050wood-stool-diy-ho-to-make-bar-stool-tutorial_0049I needed to make the same cut on the other end of the legs. The trick is not to flip the wood – just slide it over.wood-stool-diy-ho-to-make-bar-stool-tutorial_0052wood-stool-diy-ho-to-make-bar-stool-tutorial_0055Done with the compound miter cuts, all legs should angle inwards toward the center.wood-stool-diy-ho-to-make-bar-stool-tutorial_0056wood-stool-diy-ho-to-make-bar-stool-tutorial_0059Holding the legs in the position above it’s easy to mark which sides get the holes drilled for the dowels. Look closely and you will see my arrow markings. This is an important step.wood-stool-diy-ho-to-make-bar-stool-tutorial_0057Ok – so in hind sight here is where I went wrong. I adjusted my drill press table to be at a 7 degree angle…without accounting for the relative angle of the floor it was sitting on. Make sure to factor in the relative angle first and add it in or subtract it… trust me you will save a few extra steps.

wood-stool-diy-ho-to-make-bar-stool-tutorial_0061Some of the holes are drilled at 9 inches out and the others are at 10 inches out (see that guy’s youtube video). I measured from the center of my drill bit – the forstner bit – out to 10 inches and clamped a board down there to help act as a jig for drilling all the legs.wood-stool-diy-ho-to-make-bar-stool-tutorial_0063wood-stool-diy-ho-to-make-bar-stool-tutorial_0062Next I set my depth adjustment on the drill press to only go 1/2 the width deep.wood-stool-diy-ho-to-make-bar-stool-tutorial_0065The sides that get the 10 inch distance are drilled away. Then I readjusted for the 9 inch distance and drilled the other sides.wood-stool-diy-ho-to-make-bar-stool-tutorial_0064wood-stool-diy-ho-to-make-bar-stool-tutorial_0066wood-stool-diy-ho-to-make-bar-stool-tutorial_0067Then I drilled the other ends of the legs, keeping the table in the same angle, but moving my stop block to the other end. This keeps all of the holes with the same angles. Don’t even try it otherwise.wood-stool-diy-ho-to-make-bar-stool-tutorial_0069wood-stool-diy-ho-to-make-bar-stool-tutorial_0073

That’s enough brain power for today. The next step is moving on to the template and putting this thing together!



Now I’m not typically a ‘precision’ kind of guy. At least in the field of woodworking and joinery (in leatherwork I couldn’t stop that evolution). So when I decided to build this stool for my workshop I kind of thought it would be fairly simple. Boy was I wrong…and sometimes you have to face that as a DIYer. The fact is, with a stool – the more precise you can be in measuring lengths and angles…the less headaches you will have down the road. That’s why I bought this electric angle gauge:


It measures down to 1/10 of a degree – allowing me to set up my drill press and table saw precisely. Unfortunately as you will read on further into the DIY, I may not have calculated the relative angle of slope of the garage. That’ll make more sense later though so let’s get on with it.


As you can see above there are a few specialty tools you can use to make this a whole lot simpler. Starting from top left to bottom right: pencil, tape measure, ruler (I know this one looks special but any old ruler will do), right angle attachment for the drill (super handy), Kreg jig (very handy for attaching the seat), digital angle reader, rounded edge router bit (1/2 inch), forstner bit for cutting dowel holes, drill, Grrripper used to push wood along table saw (seems safer than other methods). I am sure I have skipped a few but, let’s just go with that for now!


So – you are going to need some wood. I always try to buy a bit extra simply because once in a while I measure wrong and the extra $10 saves me another trip to the hardware store for more wood. Before we dive into this head on I need to mention that I am building a version of this stool based on this very handy and interesting fellow: Make a Wooden Bar Stool   There are also plans and a cut list on there, so have a look then come on back for an armchair travel guide to building it!

Day 1:

Ah, day 1. The beginning of the build, where to start? The seat – it’s where you’ll be spending most of your time after you’re done.

wood-stool-diy-ho-to-make-bar-stool-tutorial_0005I used a 1 3/4 inch thick piece for my seat so I wouldn’t have to glue a few pieces together. It saves time but you risk warping. Since this is for my workshop I kind of like the risk. Above you can see some splitting in the wood, make sure to avoid using these areas and just chop them off instead. Or – even better, buy wood that doesn’t have any imperfections – good luck!


I measured out 15 inches or so…and later on down the line realized this was way to long. Shoot for a square-ish shaped seat, you will thank yourself later. Basically with a workshop stool you want to be able to sit on it quickly from any angle…versus a bar stool that is designed to have a front and back, and can be rectangular and wide – basically meant for drunks looking to stay put. Half the time in the workshop I find myself sitting on the diagonal, it’s just comfy.


I measured about a half an inch in to cut a 45 degree angle off the corners. I prefer a square seat to a circular one, but be my guest if you decide to get fancy.


Settin’ up the miter saw to cut the corners off.

wood-stool-diy-ho-to-make-bar-stool-tutorial_0017wood-stool-diy-ho-to-make-bar-stool-tutorial_0018With the corners cut I set up the router to cut rounded edges for a bit of comfort.

wood-stool-diy-ho-to-make-bar-stool-tutorial_0019Now on to the legs. I had a few 2 x 6 boards that I wanted to rip down to size.

wood-stool-diy-ho-to-make-bar-stool-tutorial_0020A 2X6 actual size is 1.5 inches by 5.5 inches. I wanted square legs so I measured across and made ticks at 1.5 inch intervals (take care to note the ‘kerf’ of your blade may be about 1/8 of an inch, I always measure the first cut, cut it, then remeasure for the second cut to make sure I am getting equal cuts. It takes longer but is slightly more accurate).

wood-stool-diy-ho-to-make-bar-stool-tutorial_0021On the plans the legs should be 30 inches…later on I realized this is “Bar Stool” height and not the working height of a workshop stool. I believe I ended up with a 26 inch leg height when all was said and done.

wood-stool-diy-ho-to-make-bar-stool-tutorial_0022The cross cut comes first to make handling the wood through the table saw later on that much easier.

wood-stool-diy-ho-to-make-bar-stool-tutorial_0024wood-stool-diy-ho-to-make-bar-stool-tutorial_0025On my table saw I set the fence to 1.5 inches from the blade.

wood-stool-diy-ho-to-make-bar-stool-tutorial_0026Here you can see the 1/8 inch kerf, which is the amount of wood removed from the cut and needs to be factored in to all the following measurements. As well the measurement from blade to fence is 1.5 inches when taken from the tip of the widest part of the blade.

wood-stool-diy-ho-to-make-bar-stool-tutorial_0028Before making the rip cut of 1.5 inches down the length of the board I realized I finally needed to sit down and figure out how to put together this Grrripper thing. It helps to keep your hands further from the table saw blade. I admit I am a sucker for these safety tools – and I saw this first on that guy’s youtube video which pinged around in my brain until I had to buy. Well, I bought, and there it sat for about a month or two. A mess of 40 or so parts waiting to be assembled. Being the functional type of guy that I am I waited until I really needed it until finally putting it together. I can tell you as well – that after using it and understanding the different uses, it is a must have (nobody paid me for that).

Let’s take a break and reconvene in a few days. I will have part 2 for ya in a bit, but this should get y’all going for now

Click here to go to: part 2

It’s the age old question: What do I buy for my father for Father’s day? There’s also all of those husbands out there and grandfathers…what do they need or can use in their lives? Well to be honest there’s only a few things in life a man needs and one of them is a good quality built wallet that will last through a lifetime of heavy use. I think that’s where I come in – I have chosen a few of my popular wallets for y’all to get started with the browsing. Everything is currently on sale for a very short period of time.

It’s 10% off an order of $60 or more…or 20% off an order of $120 or more

mens leather wallet brown bifoldThis shot above shows a personalized wallet – branded with a super hot branding iron.

mens leather wallet tan bifoldmens leather wallet black bifold

mens leather walletThis simple bifold is a classic men’s wallet for those who enjoy functional minimalism.mens leather walletmens-leather-wallet-minimal-bifold_black-0077

mens leather wallet

Another version of a minimal bifold. This one keeps it slim while also making it easy to access your cash with a separated bill section.

mens leather wallet

leather passport walletleather passport walletFor those traveling dudes out there – a leather Passport Wallet is an easy choice to help secure travel documents and a few cards as well.

GrabBagToday a temporary product hits the shop…the Surprise wallet. When making leather wallets the natural way – hand cutting, dyeing and oiling – there can be a few mistakes made… or even just natural blemishes that appear. I will never purposely ship out a wallet that don’t look its best, so what I have been doing is slowly acquiring a small stack of random wallets that just didn’t quite pass the beauty test. That may be a little harsh – the reality is that they have very subtle surface blemishes on them. Say for example a minor scratch, or a discolored spot, an oddly placed scar, a dented rivet – you know the kinds of things that full-price doesn’t justify. All of these wallets are in great useable shape and the blemishes will not affect their durability of longevity in any way – so they are now for sale here. The more you buy at once, the more you save. Cheers!

leather wallet saleGet ’em while their hot. I recently overbought a bunch of hides and decided that rather than let them sit here in the shop for too long, I’d  put out a sale on specific wallets in the Sun Tanned Natural Color. The wallets on sale will shift randomly, so if you see one you’ve been wanting – make sure to grab it. As of the writing of this post these wallets are on sale: Traditional, Thin, and Simple Snap.

BackPackJTree03__0024The Desert is a vast and empty space, capable of absorbing all thought going in and expelling the visitor with a mindless sense of calm. It stretches its broad and parched plains outward in all directions, seemingly without end. Silence prevails here, not a drop nor tweet nor howl of the wind. A silence so stark the heartbeat can deafen. A silence broken only in the night by the packs of roaming coyotes out on their nightly prowl.


The desert is a place I go to recapture my sense of primal humanity. Over the last year I have journeyed out into the arid lands once every few months. It clears out my thoughts, and reminds me of how incredible and serene the natural world truly is. Significant thoughts of a few days earlier become meaningless as I press on gaining miles and searching for spots to sleep before nightfall.



BackPackJTree03__0001When backpacking, the basic daily needs of back-country life take over your focus, and all that is left are a few stray thoughts from your city life well beyond the horizon.


In hiking through the wild, I try to step off the trail for at least half the journey. Breaking my own path narrows my focus down to only a few key thoughts: watch out for rattlers, keep track of time – pace – heading – and approximate position, dodge the thorny plants, keep an eye out 15 yards ahead for the best route through the brush, and find a spot to settle for the night out of the prevailing winds.


When I head off the trail I typically get vast distances all to myself without a single person in sight. I generally pay for it though by having to work my way through unexpected obstacles not apparent on the map. A simple ridge descent can turn into a long and slippery slope sliding down loose rocks and having to push through thorny brush while keeping from going over either edge.


But no complaint is ever made when campsites like those above are found. The views are endless. The night is quiet.


I now travel fairly light. It helps in getting me further into the wild. Above is my entire cook kit. A light titanium mug, a tin foil lid, and beneath is a small container that holds a bit of 180 proof liquor used as fuel.

BackPackJTree03__0069As I have always said, try to take a break yourself and get out into nature. It’ll cure you of some of those city-borne ailments in no time.


Well, the time has come to upgrade my line of briefcases. After several fans out there requested a larger size…I went ahead with it and upgraded the fastening system to a belt design, giving things a sturdier feel and a nice way to adjust the tension for those who carry more. The larger size option will give you 2 extra inches of space lengthwise and 1 inch more vertical. That means y’all can fit yer Macbook Pro 15 inch laptops in there. These guys should be ready in the shop for purchase within a week – just gotta photograph them first and put up the new details.

Brown leather briefcase

  • Timur civan - February 4, 2016 - 7:09 am

    Man, I could really USE this bag. I have the smaller one, and despite its beauty and quality, the fact it doesn’t fit my computer means it hangs on the wall more often than not. Looking forward to this.ReplyCancel


Well yet another year has come and gone and instead of taking a look back into the dust to see what was accomplished I thought I’d set my sights on the horizon this time. It’s best to travel forward and be inspired by what”s to come. Don’t get me wrong – the last year was full of huge and wonderful changes…but it’s this next one that I am looking forward to. Every year around this time I start to get quite a few ideas rattlin around my brain. I finally have some time after the Holiday rush of orders to settle back into a rhythm in the workshop and plan out the year ahead. How about some New Year’s Resolutions to kick off 2016:

Get outside more.

This includes just some of the simple pleasures like taking a nice walk on down to the workshop in the morning, perhaps as the sun is rising out over the foothills to the East.

Go further outside and closer to nature.

Over the last year or so I have been honing some of my backpacking skills and cutting down on gear and weights. Taking a few ultralight trips out into the deserts in the Eastern edges of California. Solo trips are the best and going light is a must, especially in the desert where you typically need to carry all of your water. This next year I plan to make quite a few more trips out into the sticks and take some photos along the way to share on here.

Acquire some new leatherworking skills.

I already have a head start on this one with my whipmaking adventure (see post here). In doing so I am learning a great deal about plaiting leather which can come in handy to create a whole different style of braided items. I am also looking into dragging my leather sewing machine out of storage to see if I can fire it up again and potentially add to the complexity of bag designs in the next year. I am all for rivets in my work, but there are a few applications that can benefit from the stitch. Anyhow -the idea is that the learning never stops and that’s probably the most fun part of working with your hands. Always something new to master.

Blog about things that inspire me.

This past year I focused a lot on building up my social media presence for the biz. It is a ton of work and very distracting The end result I find is that I post things that are of semi-importance without much real substance behind them. You know – photos taken just for that instagram post or a product shot to promote a new design on Facebook. In doing this I had neglected this blog, my photography and other artistic passions I used to pursue in favor of the quick and dirty social media post. Well, I am drawing the line right here and now. I aim to post right here on the blog first – about things that inspire me. If you dig deeper back into this blog site to my first posts you will get an idea of what I will be aiming for in the next year. Just a bit more pure unfettered artistic expression.

Try to stop answering customer emails after 9pm.

Ha! That’s a tough one because I never really feel that I am working now that I have found something I  love to do. Though any form of technology should probably be shut off for me around this time and instead – just grab a good ol’ fashioned book.

Take a few risks.

I am not sure what they are quite yet, but there are always plenty to choose from in a year. I like taking calculated ones, but sometimes you gotta just jump right into it and cross your fingers.

I hope all y’all have some things in mind to help guide you into the new year, feel free to share them in the comments below. It’s good to have a focus and some thoughts on how we can keep improving our lives. Just keep on traveling forward, the horizon will always be just in sight.