How to Make a Boot or Shoe Jack

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!

boot remove

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.

kerf cut setup

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.

sanding kerfs

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.

tapering with sled

Cut the tapers on the sides of the blank with a sled, tapering jig or a bandsaw. Each side tapers about 5/8”.

bootjack template

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.

bandsaw template

Use a band saw or a scroll saw to cut out the shapes at the top and bottom of the blank.

drumsanding curve
attach foot

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.

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31 Responses to “How to Make a Boot or Shoe Jack”
  1. JonP

    Very timely to see this on WWGOA. I’ve been wanting to make this and the layout is nice to have. Thanks!

    • Peg Lang

      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.

  2. John Christy

    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.

  3. Roy

    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.

  4. 1939curtis

    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.

  5. Ro Efa

    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.

    • Paul

      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.

      • Customer Service

        Hi Paul. Thank you for your feedback. I will forward your comments on.
        Jean-WWGOA Video Membership

    • Customer Service

      Hi Amy. Rubber cement works well for this. Also, it is a good idea to use brass tacks to further secure the leather.

  6. Darlene

    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 wood ; they are in their 80s so I fix alot of things for them

  7. Tom Casey

    Great jack. I added a soft leather topping to the U to protect my wife’s fancy boot heels.

  8. Horace

    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

  9. Jean Robert

    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

  10. Dan Copeland

    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!