Thursday, February 1, 2018

3-Legged Stools

I've been working on a Peter Galbert-designed 3-legged perch.  It's odd in that that legs all rake toward the front of the stool (I know, it's hard to imagine) relative to the bottom of the seat, but since the front leg is so much shorter, the seat slopes 10 degrees and it works.

Perch "in the white," meaning without paint.
I used ash for all of the legs, but I only had 2 long pieces to turn for the back legs.  For the front leg, I used a piece that was an inch shorter than the plans called for.  Upon leveling the stool the first time, I couldn't bring myself to cut an inch from the back legs.  Hence, the stool sloped more than 10 degrees.  It sat ok, but not quite right.  Working up the nerve to cut the back legs wasn't easy, but now that I have, all seems right with the world, or at least the small corner of the world where the new perch sits.

The funny, and hopefully obvious, thing is:  the stool sits solidly no matter what.  Three legs are hard to beat in terms of stability.  Unless you are an ox.  Then, three legs are not quite good enough.

Zeus, my Dutch Belted ox, has been nursing a sore leg for months now.  The second week of November I put him out with the other two boys for a short time to graze, but when I got ready to put them back in their paddock, he was not very mobile.  He could stand on three legs, but couldn't put weight on his left rear leg.  He had to hop to get anywhere. 

Rather than let them push him around, I made a quick temporary paddock with one hot wire in the yard before dark that night, thinking he'd be ok shortly, but it became his new home through Thanksgiving and on toward December. 

Zeus' leg early on, with quite a bit of swelling.
He never got so bad that he couldn't move at all, but the pain he was obviously in ebbed and flowed, depending on the day.  The vet was out once to assess him that first week and I gave him painkillers and anti-inflammatories, as Doc thought he most likely had a soft tissue injury. 

In early December, he went back in with Brutus and Cassius but was still walking stiffly.  By the time January arrived, I was starting to imagine him as a pet without much labor value anymore; His leg just didn't want to get better.

Thankfully, though, the last month has seen steady improvement.  In the last two weeks, he's even been in the yoke with Cassius, once to simply walk for a few minutes and once to pull a light load. 

Keep your fingers crossed that the three-legged stools all come out of the woodshop and not the pasture.  I like them better that way. 

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