Matthieu Leblanc

Stories Stool

Douglas Fir Stool

This project is really all about reclamation and why I love what I do. As an artist and wood worker, I am always looking to learn new skills. My latest goal was to learn to use an Alaskan Mill. This difficult technique involves using a large chainsaw and a special attachment so you can cut your own boards out of logs when they’re still in the woods.

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After hours of working on one particular Douglas Fir, I was rewarded with a beautiful 12 foot board. I took it home with no particular idea of what I would do with it but I knew inspiration would hit at some unlikely time.

And it did late one night while driving through a downtown Vancouver alley. I spotted a stool that someone had thrown out, and although half the seat was missing, the base seemed to be in excellent shape. I loved the idea of marrying reclaimed wood with a reclaimed piece of furniture.

Although I now had the materials, I still had to figure out how this would work. Prototyping is always an exhilarating and anxious endeavor. As always when I’m working with wood, I love seeing the shape emerge from the wood as you work the medium. The process of molding something new out of wood is always different.

I started by measuring off a piece of wood that would allow most people to sit comfortably, and began to work the wood, seeking out the lines of the seat. At first, the thought a saddle-like form would be the best but one quick sit-down made it clear that that wouldn’t work. Instead, I chose a flatter more streamline look. It took a lot of adjusting but eventually I got the lines and comfort I sought.

From there it was simply a matter of finishing it off with a blend of oils and waxes that truly are worthy of the wood. It was a long process, but prototyping always is and now I have a great design for stools that are comfortable and beautiful.