We’ve been fans of Portland, Oregon based studio Merkled, led by designer Kari Merkl, for years, crushing on their modern seating and clever coat hooks. When you observe their work in person, you see just how finely crafted each piece is and their incredible attention to detail. In today’s Deconstruction, they take us through the manufacturing process of their Merkled Net Stool, which combines a machined and welded steel frame with a flexible knotted seat. Take a look.
Before we start production we lay out all the jigs and drawings to make sure everything is set to go.
Each stool frame is made from cold rolled flat bar. All flat stock material is cut to length for the legs, seat and bracing. Once it is cut to length the legs and seating pieces are sent to the laser cutter so the cord slots can be cut.
We then take all the slotted flat material and prepare each piece for bending. The legs get a more severe bend at about 84 degrees. The seating pieces get a very subtle bend just enough for the cording to sit above the sides when finalized.
This image shows the legs, seating and leg bracing piles getting ready for the next step of beveling each joint before getting welded.
Since all the joints are welded and ground smooth, they each have to be beveled and prepped so each joint will hold up to constant weight and movement in each seat.
Each bottom leg brace gets drilled for rubber bumpers.
Once all the pieces are prepped and ready they are assembled into a jig, clamped and are then TIG welded together.
Finishing the final welds is one the most meticulously crafted details on each net stool. Gathering all of the finishing tools together is one of the final steps. Aside from the grinders, our most loved detailing tool are the files that perfectly finish the joints.
Once the grinding and filing of all the joints is finalized we scotch brite the entire frame and prep it for the powder-coaters. Everything is taken to get a fine texture powder coat in either grey or white.
This image shows our workshop where we knot all the cord for ordered pieces as well as insert the rubber bumpers. Each stool is corded when ordered so custom color combinations are possible. We hang all the cords next to the stool we are working on so everything is ready to go. Each stool uses 90 total feet of cord, 30 feet in the middle and 60 feet in the sides. Below the shelves you can see an older cotton corded stool, one of first iterations before switching to more durable nylon cord.
Details of the cord getting pulled tight and knotted. This process allows for buoyancy and structure on each seat.
The knotted seat, which is available in 10 color combinations (or you can get a custom color combination). The base is available in two colors.
Photos by Merkled Studio / Ali Gradischer.