The Plumber's Stool

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Industrial and practical, this stacking stool has all the charm of a vintage piece as the design was actually inspired by a set of old stacking school chairs seen in a customer’s kitchen. Gently curved plywood with a beautiful oak veneer and dark satin steel tube, a real classic.

handsomely vintage, by deVOL

We're always on the lookout for inspiration when it comes to stools & chairs, it can be so easy to get it wrong that when you finally see something that gets it right then you really sit up and start paying attention. The Plumber's Stool was inspired by a set of vintage stacking school chairs from a deVOL customer’s kitchen that we photographed in Summer 2017. We loved the industrial and time-worn look of them. The strength, simplicity and lightness of the shapes and the fact that these shapes were necessitated by the stackable aspect of the chairs made them all the more impressive. We pride ourselves on keeping every stage of product development in-house, when designers are able to play with the materials or processes involved in making a piece of furniture it usually turns out more successful. We had never made a tubular steel frame for a stool before, but we bought a pipe bender and started to rough out the overall proportions using copper piping. This is when we started calling it The Plumber's Stool and the working title just seemed to stick. It took us well over a year to settle on a shape, the limitations of strength and stack-ability proved a challenge at first but we couldn't be happier with how it has turned out.
The frame is welded from 19mm mild steel tube, the legs flare out just enough to clear the seat pan, the open base prevents conflict with the back-rest when stacked and the stretchers that run along the base make it solid and sturdy. We opted for a clear powder coated lacquer with a dark tint which gives a consistent and soft sheen whilst letting some of the natural texture and colour of the metal show through. The 13mm thick curved seat and back-rest are made from laminated sheets of 1mm birch plywood with a beautiful quarter cut oak veneer on top – the seat also has a beech veneer on the underside for a nice contrast in texture. We chose a one-coat tinted oil which gives a lovely aged and hard-wearing finish and is incredibly easy to repair if ever damaged. We’re so pleased with the final design. With the Plumber’s Stool, every detail has been carefully considered with the bigger picture in mind; from the oxidised black screws to match the dark frame, to the soft curves on the seat and back-rest for added comfort. It’s a beautiful and skilfully crafted piece of furniture but it doesn’t shout about it. It’s understated, practical and made to last.