His Scandinavian approach to design was bold
but with careful attention to detail. The form, function,
and proportions are all well thought out. As Frid wrote: “I
think that proportions—the correct relationship among
dimensions—is the most difficult thing to learn.
Many of my students have the same problem.
Inappropriate proportions can ruin a good design.” (Tage
Frid Teaches Woodworking – Furnituremaking, Taunton, pg.
By walking in the footsteps of this old
master we produced good results, following Frid’s own
description of the project. We could imagine the privilege
of those who had him as a teacher.
In this article I show the construction of
the three-legged stool, from Tage Frid Teaches Woodworking –
Furnituremaking, Taunton Press, p. 145–154, assisted by my
student Eduardo Serra, an architect and amateur woodworker.
Tage Frid (1915-2004) was a well-known
furniture maker, designer, and teacher, and served as a
contributing editor to Fine Woodworking magazine from issue
#1 through #171. He is also the author of the classic series
of books Tage Frid Teaches Woodworking, published by The
Back cover photo from Tage Frid Teaches
A native of Denmark, Frid apprenticed to a
master craftsman named Gronlund Jensen beginning at the age
of 13. Five years later he was awarded journeyman status. He
continued to pursue a university degree in interior
architecture while working in a cabinet shop and building
furniture in his trademark Danish-modern style. In 1948 Frid
moved to the United States to take a job teaching
woodworking at the School for American Craftsmen, first at
Alfred University and then later at Rochester Institute of
Technology. Then in 1962 Frid launched the first
college-level program in woodworking and furniture design at
Rhode Island School of Design, where his influence
flourished for the next quarter century.
The Three-Legged Stool
Created in 1982, the original was done in
walnut. Frid made three versions of this stool, changing
only the length of the legs.
He criticized the design of the usual
three-legged stool as dangerous. If a person seated on it
leaned to one side, it could tip and fall. In his design
Frid avoided that problem with his “T”-shaped seat. “The
T-shaped seat counters the tendency of the stool to tip,
because there is no place on the back part of the seat to
push it out of balance. The weight of the body is over the
two front legs, resulting in a stable three-legged stool.”
(Tage Frid Teaches Woodworking – Furnituremaking. pg. 145)
Tage Frid Teaches Woodworking Set: Three Step-By-Step Guidebooks to Essential Woodworking Techniques.