A Modern Foot Stove

As you all probably know by now, it can be pretty cold on the lonesome hill here in Central Portugal. And although we have the modern comfort of electricity and internet, a lot of things still happen here as it did hundreds of years ago like warming the house with a wood stove. When it's really cold that burner is on all day, choking up dozens of logs in a day. But on the just chilly day's that makes no sence, wood doesn't come for free, and if it does it takes a lot of work to get it cut to size, stacked and dried. That's the reason to use it sensible and make sure you don't burn all before winter is gone. Still if you want to sit comfortably on the kitchen table some sort of warmth is highly welcome.

In the old day's, going back for centuries, people used little foot-stoves that were filled with hot coals. These foot-warmers helped to make you feel comfortable if you sat in a chair. Foot warmers are visible on 16th and 17th century paintings, but they could be completely hidden under a long skirt or cloak. After 10 years of using a blanket or wearing snow boots while sitting on the kitchen table, I think it's time to make my lovely wife a modern version.

For years now she uses a little fruit box underneath her feet to compensate the height of the kitchen chairs and so I will use that box to measure the size. Now we are originally from the Netherlands, and the typically Dutch foot stove was a wooden box with holes in the top and an earthenware or metal pot holding glowing coals inside. These foot stoves were also common in northern Germany. A stone slab was an alternative to the wooden top with holes.

These days, in the century of USB charged gadgets, there are very handy heat cushions for sale and I found one for just 6,95 at a local supermarket. The challenge was to make a box that fit's with our "Amsterdam School" furniture and has enough room to hold that cushion. The materials used were reclaimed oak, beech and mahogany, plywood for the bottom, some bamboo and beech dowels, aluminium foil from chocolate bars and the whole project was finished with wax.

The whole project was glued, and the dowels are to support the pressure on the legs. No nails or screws were used.



And here's a video on the making of the foot stove.