Sunday, February 16, 2014

Building and Finishing a Step Stool - Part 1

I have been making a LOT of signs recently, but also have requests for furniture, which I enjoy making.  I had a customer ask if I could make a pine step stool for a visiting granddaughter.

Being a woodworker with tools to make furniture from scratch means that I can make parts to any size from rough wood.  I also am able to design pieces, so that I don't need to buy plans.

The first thing I do with a request like this is to ask what the buyer had in mind, what size, what style, and what finish. Then I go online and search for samples and we narrow it down to a preferred piece, using a photo as inspiration.

So, we will need five pieces:
                 two sides, a brace, a step, and a top

This is the (right) side piece, with the two holes drilled on the inner face, for the brace.  The holes do not go through to the outside, this way no screws are used and therefore no screws show in the finished stool:

This is the back brace, which sits between the sides.  I glued two dowels on each end which will fit into holes drilled into the side pieces:

This is the step piece, for the bottom step.  It has holes drilled right through for four dowels, two on each side:

The top is the same size as the step piece and has the same holes drilled through.  This buyer wanted a handle cut into the top which I did with my drill press and jigsaw.  You can see how I did this here, when I made my storage boxes.

Now we have all the pieces, and we can assemble the stool.

The following photo shows the brace fitted against the inner (left) side piece.  The end of the brace and the dowels are glued to the side piece:

I use a long clamp to hold the brace in place while the glue dries on both sides:

Then I sit the top and step pieces on the sides and (after centering them there) I mark where holes need to be drilled in the top of the side pieces:

 The holes take dowels that are glued level with the top and step pieces and right into the sides:

In my next blog post I will show how I finished the first step stool.  Oh, I suppose I never said, but I made two of them. I often do this because then I can sell the one I was commissioned to make and keep one to sell later.

Sharing at the following blog parties:


  1. Oh my, how that brings back memories. My father-in-law made a bunch like those when Hubby was a little boy and the one he kept for their family used to sit by the back door the whole time I knew him.

  2. Beautiful!! I envy your mad skills!!


  3. Very cool! I just bought a similar stool from IKEA. I love that style of step stool. :) Anxious to see how you finished it!

  4. great stool, and a super tutorial Julie! I think it's great that you make 2.

  5. What a fabulous tutorial - John would tell you not to tell anyone how you made them LMHO -love the stool ::)

  6. Love it! Thanks for the great tutorial, Julie!

  7. Thanks for sharing this wonderful tutorial at my party this week.



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