A Woodworking Project

ZEBRAWOOD SEAT

Replacement Toilet Seat


by Stan Moore -- July 10, 2003



tseat101 The seat on a 1960 American Standard toilet had broken.   It was a "designer" style fixture with a non-standard shape and mounting dimensions.
The seat was patched with a tie-bar recessed into the bottom, but while that made the seat functional, it wasn't aesthetically very pleasing.   All attempts to find a replacement failed, so it was decided to make one of wood. tseat102
tseat103 The outline of the seat was traced, and the tracing marked with radial lines.   The sections were numbered, a copy was made, and the sections cutout.
Each section pattern was glued to a block of zebrawood... tseat104
tseat105 then held with a clamping jig ....         
               ... and trimmed on the table saw. tseat106
tseat107 A disk sander was used to precisely shape the sides of each section.
Starting at the center rear, sections were glued together using polyurethane glue. Clamps and wedges were used to hold the pieces in position with their patterns aligned. tseat108
tseat109 This process continued two sections at a time until the rear half of the seat had been done.   The front half of the seat was glued up in similar fashion, but the halves were not joined until the inside and outside had been rough trimmed on the bandsaw.
The polyurethane joints turned out to be very weak and most broke apart. tseat121
tseat120 Close inspection revealed that the glue had formed a closed cell foam in the joint with very thin cell walls having essentially no strength.    Most of the joints had to be re-glued -- this time with epoxy.
The top and bottom of the assembled seat were sanded flat with a disk sander. tseat110
tseat111 A copy of the original pattern was used to make a routing template from 1/8" Masonite.
Double-sided tape was used to hold the template to the seat... tseat112
tseat113 ... and the outside edge was sanded close to the template to minimize the amount of wood to be routed.
Sticks were attached temporarily to the bottom to hold the seat away from the table during routing. tseat114
tseat115 A 1" long, piloted, straight, router bit was used to true the inside and outside surfaces of the seat.
Next holes were drilled for the mounting hardware.   Then a 1/4" round-over bit was used to route all around.   Finally, the seat was contoured with a belt sander and files, and finished with an orbital sander. tseat116
tseat119 New brass tubes were installed, and the springs and brass pins from the original seat were reused.
Four coats of Waterlox Original Sealer/Finish were applied with light sanding between coats. tseat118
tseat122 The finished seat was installed, and is a big improvement over the patched-up original.