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”.
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.