Narrowboat Cabin Cracket Stool

Cabin "Cracket" Stool in Red by Carishei

Hand made and then hand painted in the traditional “Canal Art” style. A rustic, attractive and practical wooden cabin cracket stool adds a splash of colour to any home or narrowboat.

Getting into the swing with a cracket…

“a coal miners low level seat, or at times even a headrest”
Green cabin "Cracket Stool" in the traditional style by Carishei
Green cabin stool in the traditional “Cracket”  style by Carishei ~ Sold

An ideal gift for any canal boat owner or enthusiast. These would have been found on many a working narrowboat, particularly in the North East of England. This is where the traditional style of stool is thought to have originated. As a coal miners low level seat, or at times even headrest it was for hewing coal from a narrow seam.

The miner would need to sit down very low on his “cracket.” In very confined spaces he’d rest his head upon it while swinging his pick. Imagine if you will, trying to stand or crouch while swinging a pick below knee level. Now you can understand the value of getting down lower and gaining more of a swing.

Having a crack…

“purely practical and never pretending to be otherwise”
Red cabin "Cracket Stool" in the traditional style by Carishei
Red cabin stool in the traditional “Crackett” style by Carishei ~ Sold

Generally knocked together from off-cuts of planks and any old nails laying around the pit. No real care was taken in the design or construction, all that was required was a borrowed saw and hammer. Purely practical and never pretending to be otherwise.

The name is presumed to stem from the term “crack.” Where Southerners would sit down for a chat “Geordies” would “have a crack.” I’ve also seen them called “Clacket Stools” presumably for the same reason or possibly a miss-quote that stuck?

A true cracket has a finger hole on the top surface to help the miner carry it with one hand. His pick in the other hand he’s off to the next point of the workings. This feature has been deliberately left out on our versions so far, although I think will be introduced into crackets to come.

Homely Cracket Stool…

Once finished for the day the miner would return to his cottage. Then sit on his cracket to remove his boots before getting into his bath. Obviously so avoiding coal dust of the other furniture upsetting his wife.

She would find the cracket very useful too when making up the fireplace, it was just the right height. In fact at least one cracket and usually more could be found in most households in the North East of England especially up to the 1950’s.

Practically charming…

“standing is not a recommended use for a cracket stool”

A cracket stool really makes a great piece of incidental furniture for the home. Also an ideal seat for a small child and always a talking point. Practical too. They serve a purpose as stool or step and to this end ours have a coat of tough varnish. Standing is not a recommended use though on modern “health and safety” grounds!

With an number of flat surfaces they lend themselves perfect for canal art or canalware.

They do sell very quickly when we do have some in stock. In most cases I think they have become coffee tables on narrowboats. They are quite small and do vary in dimensions but the specific sizes are quoted when they’re listed for sale.

Any questions or comments? Please use the box below and I’ll try to answer as soon as possible…

Etsy Reviews:

Hand-Painted Traditional Canal Art ~ Handmade Wooden Cabin StoolKaren on 10 Dec, 2014 – Really beautiful and traditional stool for our boat. So pleased


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