You may have accomplished many woodworking and joinery projects. But do you know what is a Luban stool?
Luban Stool is a foldable stool that consists of a single piece of wood. It is made with carving, planning, chiseling, and refining of wood without using any glue or adhesive.
But that’s not all because, in this article, I am going to tell you what are the uses of a Luban stool.
Besides that, I will also tell you how much it costs to make one and how you can make a Luban stool yourself.
If that sounds interesting enough to you then keep on reading and discover everything related to the Luban stool.
What Is A Luban Stool?
Before I answer that question, let me ask you a couple of questions. Have you ever seen a puzzle box? Have you ever sat on a bench/stool with carving work done on it?
If your answers are yes then I can say for sure that you have seen something related to Luban stool already.
Luban stool is basically a foldable stool that consists of one single piece of wood. If you take the legs off then it becomes a stump that can be used as a side table or for other purposes.
It is made with carving, planning, chiseling, and refining without using any glue or adhesive. It was originally created and manufactured in China.
But the design is so effective that it has its spread around the world. You can find Luban stool in countries like Japan, Vietnam, and other Asian countries as well.
Luban Stool – Unique Design And Benefits Of Using It!
As mentioned previously, you can sit on a Luban stool just like any normal stool. But when you take the legs off, it becomes a stump.
It is very easy to make as well because all you need to do is carve the body of the tree trunk by hand. You can rest it on your lap while carving or fix it with something else for stability.
Luban stool has some unique benefits which are not offered by any other stool in the world.
It is the perfect seat for the elderly and people who cannot stand for a long time. Foldable Luban stool can be used as a foot stool when folded and, therefore, it provides convenience to old age people.
Luban stools do not have any wooden joints that come loose or need tightening. Therefore, there is no chance of breakage or damage.
On the other hand, it has a very unique design and shapes that can enhance the beauty of your living room or any place it is placed in. Unlike traditional chairs and stools, Luban stool does not take much space.
By now you must be thinking that it is just a piece of bench/stool that cannot be used for any other purpose. Well, you are wrong! It can serve as a bench or bench set if placed at the right place.
And don’t forget about its foldability because it makes transportation easy and fast. You can carry it with you if you want to go to the picnic, garden or any place else.
How Much Does It Cost To Make One?
Well, it depends on how much wood do you want to use for carving and what type of wood is it? But, in general, it can cost around $15 to $20.
If you are thinking about the time then I can tell that carving Luban stool requires patience and time. It takes at least 10 to 15 hours of continuous work because it is made with wood after all.
It may sound like too much but keep in mind that it is made with just one single piece of wood. It makes the work much easier because there are no joints or glue involved.
What Kind of Wood Can we Use to Make a Luban Stool?
Another important fact to know about making the Luban stool is the type of wood to be used. People think that a Luban stool is made with any kind of wood but it’s not true. In fact, the Luban stool can only be carved from one single piece of a hardwood tree trunk.
There are different kinds of wood available in the market and each has its own uniqueness and benefits. You can choose any wood as long as it is a hardwood tree trunk. Some popular types of wood used to manufacture Luban stool are:
Oak – Oak is very strong and tough, which means that it will last for a long time even when you use it regularly.
Maple – Maple has very fine grains and smooth texture. It is very strong, durable, and easy to carve.
Kapok – Kapok is a very dense type of wood that makes your Luban stool heavy but keeps it standing because of its gravity.
How Is The Luban Stool Handled in Construction Projects?
Actually, the thing about these stools is they don’t really come up in construction projects. But I have found one.
A construction worker uses his custom-made Luban stool made of a Kapok tree trunk to take a nap during lunch break at work.
It is not really something you will find easily but it goes to show that Luban stools are being used even in the modern world, just not as much as they used to be.
How Much Does It Weigh?
It’s pretty hard to determine the weight of a Luban stool because it depends on which one you are using.
There are different types of stools that come with different features, which makes it difficult to size them all up.
But in general, most Luban stools weigh somewhere between 500g and 2kg.
How Can You Make a Luban Stool? (General Overview)
Last but not the least; when you read all the benefits and know how much does it cost to make one then undoubtedly, you must be interested in making a Luban stool.
The first thing you need to do is find a good and straight tree trunk that has a diameter of 20-25 cm or 8-10 inches. The height should be around 60-75 cm or 24-30 inches for an adult person.
Choose a clean and bug-free trunk because it will affect the final product. Chop off the entire trunk close to the ground.
After chopping, start carving and creating a seat in it using a chisel and knife-like tools. Try to make it as round, smooth, and comfortable as possible.
Use sandpaper or any other thing that can give it a fine finish after the carving is over; this step is optional but recommended.
Take a saw and cut the trunk in half using both hands. Now you have two pieces of wood that will be your Luban stool’s legs.
Create some circular rings on both legs to make them stronger and support the weight of the person sitting on it. Carve these rings carefully, smoothen if required, and add a finishing touch.
Attach the legs on both sides of the stool and wait for a week or two before using it. This will let the wood absorb some moisture and become stronger than before.
Step by Step Process of Making a Luban Stool
the above method was just an overview of making Luban stool. Now that you’ve learned how to choose the right wood for making a Luban stool, let’s see how to make one.
Step 1: Choose the Right Wood for the Project
The wood is the primary material you will use to make a Luban stool, so it is important that you choose the right one.
Keep in mind that this project requires hardwood trees such as Kapok and Maple. Other types of woods may also do but won’t be as good as those two.
There are many different kinds of hardwood trees available in the market but these are some of the best ones you can use for this particular project.
Once you have decided on a type of wood, you need to look out for a trunk or some pieces that will work well according to your needs and requirements.
The more straight and clean it is the better because it will help you complete the project in less time and it will be easier for you to carve.
You should also ensure that the trunk must not have any bug or worm holes or other serious deformities because these can be dangerous when cutting and carving.
Step 2: Take Measurements with a Ruler and Pencil
The next step is to put the wood on something straight and use your ruler and pencil to take measurements.
You need to measure the length, width, and height of the piece you are going to use for making your Luban stool.
If it is possible then try to find two matching pieces that have the same measurements. It may seem a lot complex at first but if you practice two to three times you will eventually figure it out. Check out the image and see what kind of marks you need to put on the wood.
Step 3: Sawing the Trunk
Once you find a clean trunk, take your saw and slowly start sawing it in the center.
Use both your hands and press against the trunk to avoid any bumps or accidents. Saw slowly so that you can control the direction and cut properly.
When you reach near one end, turn the trunk and continue the process until it’s completely cut into two pieces. During the process make sure you have clamped the wood and it is not moving around.
Remember Luban stool requires a lot of precision in measurements. So you have to be very careful when sawing the wood. Another issue is that you can’t use miter saws or circular saws in this project.
It is simply because the architecture of the stool is too complex for such tools and can only be made with hand tools.
Step 4: Drill Holes in the Wood At the Top of Marked Area
The next step is to drill holes in the wood.
You need to press and hold the trunk against a surface and use your hammer and chisel to make holes on the marked area.
This part will be very hard because you have to use both hands.
For this reason, it is better if you get help from another person to hold the wood steady and drill holes.
After drilling, remove all the cracked pieces carefully with your hands. Make sure that you hold them tight because there can be small splinters which might hurt you.
Step 5: Chop Out More Wood from the Trunk
Now it’s time for removing more wood out of the trunk.
This part is very important because this will help you achieve the shape and size of your Luban stool.
Use a hatchet or a machete for this step and be careful not to damage the top holes which were already drilled in the previous step. Chop out wood with a few smooth strokes until you get a rectangular piece of wood in your hand.
Ensure that you got rid of all the protruding edges so that the stool looks polished when you are done.
Step 6: Take Measurements and Drill Holes on the Bottom Side
Now comes another important step where you need to measure and drill holes again, but this time on the bottom side of the wood.
Once again use a ruler and pencil, mark the measurements and then drill holes. Make sure that you measure twice and then only drill the right size of hole. You can use your hammer or mallet to make these holes.
It will take some time but it is very important to get the shape and size correct for an exact fit later on.
Step 7: Cut the Wood in Half and Remove More Wood
The next step is very easy but also challenging at the same time because this where you will cut the wood exactly in half.
You should use a sharp saw for this operation because if you are using a blunt one it will take forever to complete. Be extra careful when cutting the wood because you want a perfect fit.
After that is done, carefully remove all the protruding pieces of wood from the middle with your fingers.
You might hurt yourself in this step so make sure you wear gloves when doing it.
Step 8: Test Your Luban Stool and Drill Holes on the Top Side
This is the most important step where you will test your Luban stool.
Just slip it in and sit on it to see if you are happy with its shape and size. Once you are satisfied with the measurements, take out your ruler again and mark drill holes on the top side of wood. This time you need a different kind of drill which has a bigger diameter.
Drill holes all the way through the wood but make sure you are standing on top of it, or else it can split apart during this process.
You don’t have to worry about damaging the bottom holes because they will be covered with cushions anyways.
Step 9: Finish the Carving Process
The last step requires you to finish up the carving process by removing small pieces of wood from the legs and bottom part of stool.
You can use a hatchet or machete for this task and remember that you should hold it against a surface in order not to injure yourself in the process.
Once done, sandpaper is used to give a finishing touch to the stool, which will make it smooth and shiny.
So what is a Luban Stool?
We have already mentioned that Luban is a very old type of stool, which was mainly used by the Vietnamese community during the Chinese era.
This furniture piece can be dated back to more than one hundred years ago and only about ten pieces of this wonderful woodcraft are made every year in Vietnam.
The Luban stool has a very simple design and it’s made from a single block of wood.
It can be used in many different places, but nowadays people use it mostly as an ornamental piece in their homes to add some originality.
However, this particular type of stool is not widely known or sold at furniture shops in the modern world even though it has an interesting history.
Thank you for reading!