I measured out three marks on two sides of a scrap of 3/4″ plywood.
..I put down some blue tape to reduce chip out, then used a straight edge to draw a line between the points.
..Using a circular saw, I cut along these three lines. The pieces are not identical, but they’re close enough in shape so that it’s not noticeable.
..This is the shape of each piece.
…I used a metal cutting bandsaw to cut a 48″ piano hinge in half. You could also use a cut off wheel on a grinder or dremel.
…I used a file to soften the cut edges of the hinge.
…I lined up the bottom edge of two of the leg pieces, and placed the hinge between them. It’s important that the edges of the pieces and the hinge are all parallel, otherwise the hinge won’t swing freely.
…I drew marks for the top and bottom holes of the hinge, then predrilled and drove in a screw to each.
…These held the hinge in place so I could predrill and screw in the rest of the screws.
…I lined up the other side of the hinge and repeated the process.
…To add the third leg, I used a piece of wood to make sure all three legs were flush at the bottom.
…I screwed on the third leg as I did with the others.
…On another scrap of plywood, I used a compass set to 6″ to draw a 12″ circle.
…I’m not super exact on the band saw, so I cut it out, outside the line to a rough shape.
…I spun the piece as I sanded it on the disc sander to creep up on the line. Spinning the piece constantly helps avoid flat spots from sanding.
…I used a router to round over what would become the top surface of the seat.
…I drew a line from the center point of the circle to the edge, and used it to line up one of the outside faces of the leg assembly.
…I set my digital protractor to 120˚ (1/3 of the circle) and used it to align the remaining two legs.
…I also had to adjust it to be roughly centered within the seat, since there is nothing resting dead center in the circle.
…Once in place, I traced the outline of all three legs.
…I added two small hinges with their outside face in line with the outside of one of the leg shapes.
…Then I screwed the hinges into the leg.
…At this point, the stool works. The legs can fold together…
…and they can fold down onto the seat.
…To make the legs more stable, I laid some mending plates over the traced leg areas, and traced them as well.
…I cut along those lines with a utility knife, using the steel plate as a guide.
…I used a small chisel to remove the wood to allow the mending plates to sit flush with the surface. Cutting the top layer with the knife helps avoid ripping along the grain.
…After clearing out enough material, I dropped in the plates and screwed them in place.
…I had some rare earth magnets so I found a drill bit that matched their diameter.
…I added some blue tape to the bit, matching the height of the magnets, so that I wouldn’t drill too deep.
…I put some CA glue into each hole and knocked the magnet in with a hammer until it was flush with the surface.
…I added six magnets total, but that could easily have been twelve. They did hold the plates, but more magnets would create a better hold.
…They did hold the plates, but more magnets would create a better hold.
…I ran over the whole thing with some sand paper and added a few coats of spray lacquer.
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