Good, I didn't kick the dog or do anything else dumb. Bottom line some days the magic works, some days it doesn't.
Both seats split when I set the legs. When setting the legs you should tap 'em in just until they sound "right". If you add a tap a split is likely. The first seat split in two places. I did not think I had done the extra tap but the results tell the truth. I was able to save the legs, they will live to be used on another day.
I was extra careful with the second stool, so careful when I turned it over the back leg fell out. Back to the tap-tap-tap drill. When I turned it over everything looked ok so I started wedging the legs. The wedges drove in true and everything looked good up to the last wedge just as I finished the seat split.
I'll probably keep the second stool, butterfly the crack and use it in my shop.
There isn't enough time to start over so I'll have to figure out something else to give this year.