Photos and Drawings by David Radtke
Whether you’re removing tight fitting boots or slip on shoes, you’ll love the quick and easy mechanical advantage of this do-it-yourself boot jack. We’ve laid it all out for you so you can easily learn how to make a boot jack too. We also provide boot jack plans below so you can make it in no time!
Here’s a home-made gift that anyone on your gift list would delight in. It’s designed to remove the most stubborn tight-fitting boots without bending over! You can make yours out of any hardwood scrap pieces. I used ¾” thick red oak for the top and a ¾” thick piece of walnut for the support foot.
Cut a piece of ¾” x 4-1/4” x 12-1/2” hardwood, then cut the traction kerfs.
Hot glue a thin wood gauge to help you visually line up your saw blade with 15 marks starting two inches from the bottom and spaced every ¼”. Set your saw to cut 1/16” deep kerfs into the surface. I glued some sandpaper to the backside of the miter gauge to keep the wood from slipping as I pushed the workpiece through the blade.
Sand the edges of the kerfs with 150-grit sandpaper to keep them from chipping. Just ease the edges. You’ll want to retain a bit of an edge to act as a gripping surface for your shoe or sock. This added texture will make slipping your boots off a piece of cake.
Cut the tapers on the sides of the blank with a sled, tapering jig or a bandsaw. Each side tapers about 5/8”.
Click here to download the templates.
Print out the 2-page template and tape the halves together to get a full-size template so it looks like the image here. Trim and match the pages to fit your blank. I used 3-M spray adhesive to glue it to the wood blank to act as a guide while cutting the shapes. If you don’t have a printer, draw a grid on some thin plywood or MDF and then sketch the pattern using this drawing as a guide. The shape doesn’t have to be perfect to work.
Use a band saw or a scroll saw to cut out the shapes at the top and bottom of the blank.
Cut the support foot from ¾” stock. The long side (toward the large cut-out) should be 1-3/4” and then beveled back at an 11-degree angle. I cut the bevel from longer stock on my table saw with the blade tilted and supported with the miter gauge. Drill two 3/8” holes ¾” deep then drill a pilot hole in each for the screws. Be careful not to drill all the way though! Assemble with screws and glue. Once the piece is assembled, give it a final sanding with 220-grit and apply a wipe-on oil finish.
Now you know how to make a boot jack! As a great companion to this project, you may want to make a long handled shoe horn, too. Continue your learning in the shop by starting one of the many woodworking projects we have on our site. We can keep you busy measuring and cutting all year long.
The leather in the jaws is an excellent idea. I’ve got one that I bought years ago in Texas, and have used it hundreds of times, and get compliments every time I use it in public (especially at the Barcelona Spain airport). The boot heel doesn’t have to go all the way in (to work). Mine has approximately the same size jaw opening, and I wear a size 15. Thanks for the ideas.
Thanks for the tremendous design.
Thank you for posting these plans and especially for making the templates downloadable, too!!👍👍👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
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Great plans.Been thinking of making one.After seeing your plans will do. Thanks,
can i have the planes for making a boot jack frome you pleas
Steps listed within the article, but they aren’t available to download as a plan–apologies!
Woodworkers Guild of America Video Membership
Hmm, I made the boot jack to the template and the dimensions and it is WAY too small to fit an adult boot. I’m going to try to enlarge the opening for the boot by sanding, but am a little discouraged. Any advice ?
Hello. Sorry that it didn’t work for you. I’d suggest making a copy, scaling up the size of the template. Cut out and check the size using the paper template before making the next one in wood.
Paul-Woodworkers Guild of America Video Membership
been making these for years now & a winter variant I’ve been planning is to make a double-wide version. eliminates the old “wet sock” issue 😉 will let you know here how it goes!
Just curious as to whether or not you made the double-wide. I hate the wet sock! Thanks in advance.
Being as i have essential tremors i find it difficult to copy the plan from pc therefore i was wondering if i could purchase the plan.I’m prepared to pay for it ,thank you & Happy Holidays
Hello Jean, I am sorry to hear that. The plan can be printed as well!
Didn’t have hardwood. Used 5/4 X 6 decking and made it a bit wider due to the softness of the pine.
and it works great! Thanks for the excellent plans. horace
is anybody knows the boot jack dimensions for kids, women and men
That one works fine for whole family
Great jack. I added a soft leather topping to the U to protect my wife’s fancy boot heels.
Made one this evening. Works fine for my size 11 boots. Thanks!
I’m making this as gifts for my whole family .it’s easy and cheap I’m a 71 yr old senior lady and loves woodworking. I live on a small pension but my niebours give.me wood ; they are in their 80s so I fix alot of things for them
For those that have attached leather to yours, what glue did you use?
Hi Amy. Rubber cement works well for this. Also, it is a good idea to use brass tacks to further secure the leather.
Thanks, will try it this weekend!
Nice job and thanks.
This is great if it’s a child’s shoe. Way too small of a dole for an adult boot
I’m having the same issue – way way too small for adult boot. Seems like others made it work. I made it to exact dimensions
Sorry that it didn’t work for you. I’d suggest making a copy, scaling up the size of the template. Cut out and check the size using the paper template before making the next one in wood.
Paul-Woodworkers Guild of America Video Membership
As a woodworker for 73 years (so far), I’d suggest making the lower support a bit thicker and with the grain running horizontally…. less chance of splitting. Thanks for the nice plan.
I have one suggestion…. Move this line “Click here to download the templates.” to the top of the page in bolder letters. I was at the stage of measuring where to attach the bottom piece and that is when I noticed a template was available.
Hi Paul. Thank you for your feedback. I will forward your comments on.
Jean-WWGOA Video Membership
Good idea to run the grain horizontally. I did mine that way.
This is an excellent idea for my brother and brothers-in-law for Christmas. Thank you
This is an excellent idea for Christmas. Thank you
cool idea as all men in my family wear boots.
I added some Leather wraps around the front horns makes for easy non marring of the boots. then added the Dallas cowboys on the top face. along with a drawn helmet.
Should have stayed in bed. 1st. I stuck the pattern with the image-side to the wood. 2nd. I cut the shape before I cut the traction kerfs. 3rd. I realized I had no way to accurately place the support — should have marked it first. 4th. my red oak had a hidden check that only appeared once I’d cut out the shape. New day and I will finish my jack — wish me luck.
Mission accomplished. Lesson learned: look before you leap!
I had one many years ago so that I could take off my riding boots and missed placed it and I made one for myself but I had glued a piece of leather in the opening to prevent scraping the back the boots when I take them off especially my daughter when she takes off her good boots. I also used a small piece of non skid rubber which has groves for the top.
Thanks for the idea and the measurements, your a life saver.
u smell like a roten garbage can
Very timely to see this on WWGOA. I’ve been wanting to make this and the layout is nice to have. Thanks!
I live in Maine. Last winter we had an especially deep snow load. I made a boot jack last winter and it helped get my L.L. Bean boots off dozens of times. It is nice to have a real pattern for the measurements especially. Bye, I’m going out to the shop to make a better boot jack.
Thanks for the idea , very interesting.