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How to Make a Step Stool

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Step Stool FinishedI made a step stool real similar to this years ago.  I really like how solid it feels and the contrast in the finishes between the steps and sides look great.  This step stool was easy to make; with pocket holes used for all the joinery you can easily make this in a few hours.  If you’re not familiar with pocket holes you should definitely look into them.  I’ll include a link at the bottom of this post.  They’re easy to use and make joinery really easy.  In fact I use pocket holes whenever I can.  I made the entire stool out of Oak.  The steps are solid oak, and the sides and stretchers I used oak plywood.  For the finish I used boiled linseed oil on the steps.  For the sides I stained them with a red mahogany stain, and then applied a layer of polyurethane on top of that.  The finish has a great contrast and I’ll be using this one for years to come.

If you make one of these be sure to post a picture of it over on the WoodLogger Facebook Page.  I’d love to see how yours turns out.


Material List

  • (1) 1″ x 4′ x 4′ Oak Plywood
  • (1) 1″ 8″ x 4′ Oak

Cut List

  • (2)  Sides – 3/4  x  15-3/4″ (front to back length) x  14″ (top to bottom length)
  • (4)  Stretchers – 3/4  x  2  x  14″
  • (1)  Top Step – 3/4  x  9-1/4  x  17″
  • (1)  Bottom Step – 3/4  x  7-1/2  x  17″

Milling & Assembly

Step Stool Rough CutsTo get started making my step stool; I cut the sides and stretchers out of plywood.  The top and bottom step were made from 3/4″ thick oak.
Step Stool AssemblyThis step stool is really basic.  Only eight boards are required.
(2) Sides (A notch is cut into the sides 7″ deep and 7″ from the top, I used my scroll saw to do this)
(2) Steps
(4) Stretchers
Step Stool Pocket Home AssemblyStep Stool Pocket Hole AssemblyTo get started I drilled pocket holes into the sides for the steps to be attached.  I also drilled pocket holes into the ends of the stretchers.
Step Stool Edge Glue UpStep Stool Edge Glue-UpAfter I had my pocket holes drilled; I used Oak edge banding on all the exposed plywood sides.  Edge banding comes veneered in many wood types.  They have glue on one side that is activated by applying heat to one side.  Edge veneer is easy to apply and any excess can be trimmed off.  Edge veneer can be stained and improves the look of any exposed plywood sides.
Step Stool AssemblyFor the assembly I used 1-1/4″ pocket hole screws.  The entire can be assembled in just minutes using pocket holes.
Step Stool AssemblyStep Stool AssemblyHere is a view of the step stool from the side and front.  Assembly is made much easier using pocket holes, but it could easily be assembled by simply drilling screws into the sides and into the stretchers.
Step Stool AssemblyFor the steps I used 1-1/4″ pocket hole screws to secure the steps.
Step Stool FinishingI sanded the project by hand using various grits till I got to a 180 grit sand paper.
Step Stool FinishingFor the finish I applied 2 coats of a boiled linseed oil for the steps.  Use more coats to make the color richer and darker.
Step Stool FinishingFor the sides I used a red mahogany stain, and then applied a coats of a poly urethane to protect it.
Step Stool FinishedThe end product turned out great.  This was an easy and fun project to make and can be made in a just a few hours.


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  1. Hey there mate.
    Very helpful videos. Just a suggestion to make your life easier in the future. For the edge banding you can use your wife’s steam iron. You don’t need to use steam. Just let it warm up and it sticks instantaneously.
    Keep the good work

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