How to Build a Wooden Step Stool

Free Woodworking Plans from Lee's Wood Projects

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Every home needs a wooden step stool to help get to those out-of-reach places. When you need to change a light bulb or reach an item from an upper cabinet, just use this convenient, light weight stool. When not needed as a stool, it can substitute as a small bench to hold potted plants, etc. Tole painting your own design can add a personal touch to the finish of your step stool.

Click On Image to See Larger Scalable Drawing

Technical Information for Building a Building a Wooden Step Stool

A. Materials List:

1 A Top 3/4" x 9 3/4" x 18" Pine
2 B Rails 3/4" x 2 3/4" x 17 1/4" Pine
2 C Sides 3/4" x 9 3/4" x 9 5/8" Pine
2 D Braces 3/4" x 3/4" x 12 15/16" Pine
2 E Braces 3/4" x 1" x 4 1/2 " Pine


Ponderosa Pine

B. Patterns:

  1. Scale sides (C) to the drawing dimension size. This can easily be accomplished by measuring the printout drawing and dividing that size into the dimension size of the drawing. This will give a multi-factor that can be used to determine the enlargement size for the pattern. Most companies that do duplicating can make the enlargement required for the pattern.
  2. Transfer the pattern enlargement onto poster board, and use a pair of scissors to cut out the pattern.

C. Cutting Procedures:

  1. All materials can be cut from a 3/4" x 10" x 60" piece of pine.
  2. Use a jointer to joint one edge of the board.
  3. Use a radial arm saw and a table saw to respectively cut the pieces to proper lengths and widths.
  4. Determine the center of top (A) and measure, parallel with the edges, 2 1/4 " on each side of the center mark. These points will be the centers for drilling the slot. Install a 1" diameter Foerstner bit in a drill press and at the two centers drill holes. Use a scroll saw to cut out the excess wood between the holes to form the slot.
  5. Use a spindle sander to finish the slot.
  6. Mark a 1/2" radius at each corner of top (A). Use a band saw to round the corners. Use a belt sander to sand the corners.
  7. Adjust the radial arm saw to 16 degrees. Cut both ends of sides (C) so that the angles are parallel to one another.
  8. Trace the pattern onto sides (C). Cut out the sides using a band saw. Also sand the sides using a spindle sander.
  9. Adjust the radial arm saw blade back to "0" degrees. Install an adjustable dado blade on the radial arm saw, and adjust the width to cut 3/4". Next swivel the dado blade to cut a 16 degree angle. Adjust the blade height to 3/8".
  10. Cut dado joints at each end of the rails (B). The cuts should start 1" in from the end of each rail.
  11. Mark a 1" radius on the bottom ends of each rail (B), and use a band saw to round the corners. Use a belt sander to sand the corners.
  12. Tilt the radial arm saw blade to 16 degrees and cut both ends of braces (D). The braces should be 12 15/16" long.
  13. Adjust the table saw blade to 16 degrees. Rip one edge of each brace (E).
  14. Use a router and a 1/4 " quarter round bit to rout the edges of top (A), rails (B), and sides (C). Do not rout the top edge of the rails or the top and bottom edges of the sides.

D. Wooden Step Stool Sanding Procedures:

  1. Rough sand all parts with an orbital sander and 80 grit sandpaper.
  2. Intermediate sand all parts with an orbital sander and 120 grit sandpaper.
  3. Rough and intermediate, sanding should be completed before assembly procedure.
  4. Finish sand all parts with an orbital sander and 220 grit sandpaper after the assembly procedure.
  5. Hand sand all edges, details, with 220 grit sandpaper just prior to the finish procedure.

E. Assembly Procedures:

  1. Place wood glue in the dado joints of rails (B). Insert the sides (C) in the dado joints and tighten using two bar clamps. Allow the glue to dry for 24 hours. When the glue has dried, remove the clamps and use a nail gun with 1 1/2 " nails to secure the assembly.
  2. Turn the top (A) upside down. Place wood glue on the top edges of the rail/side assembly and position it in the proper place on the top. Once positioned, secure temporarily with hand screw clamps.
  3. Place glue on two adjacent edge of the braces (D) & (E) and put them in place and secure with a nail gun and 1 1/4 " nails. Be sure to nail through the braces and into the top (A) as well as the sides (C).

F. Finish Procedures:

  1. Use plastic wood dough to fill all holes, cracks and imperfections.
  2. Hand sand all edges with 220 grit sandpaper.
  3. If stain is desired, apply with a brush and allow to dry penetrate for 5-10 minutes, then remove with a clean rag.
  4. Allow stain to dry 6 hours and then repeat with a second coat.
  5. Apply a clear finish coat such as Varathane, Polyurethane, etc. using a pure-bristle brush. Allow to dry 12 hours.
  6. Lightly had sand finish with 220 grit sandpaper.
  7. Apply second coat of clear finish.
  8. If third or fourth coats are desired, be sure to allow the finish to dry properly then lightly hand sand with 220 grit sandpaper between coats.
  9. Allow final coat to dry 24 hours before using the step stool.

Congratulations, your wooden step stool is finished and ready to use!

Related Projects:

  • Bed End Bench
  • Wooden Heart Bench