Kitchen Step Stool

hero All You Need Is An Afternoon For This Handy Gift. My family has tall kitchen cabinets. I got tired of my wife standing on the nice dining chairs to reach the top shelf for a fresh package of pasta. I thought Christmas was the perfect opportunity to make her a simple, dedicated step-stool that she can keep in the kitchen. It worked out so well, I want to tell you about it.

All the parts of this step-stool come out of one piece of 3/4″ x 10″ x 72″ lumber (see diagram). I used red oak, but any hardwood will work. If you want to paint your stool, you could choose poplar. The construction is very straightforward (no jigs to make!) and uses dowels to fix the end pieces to the aprons. It has a hole in the tall upright to use as a handle when it is moved around the kitchen.

Prep The Parts. First, I joint the parts and cut them to length. Next, I rip the aprons with the table-saw blade set at 6 degrees. Once the aprons are attached to the ends, the angles will be parallel to the ground and are ready for mounting the top. I put a small radius on the corners of the top.

bandsaw Taper The Ends. I mark a 6-degree taper on the tall end and cut off the waste on the bandsaw. I follow the line closely, and clean the edges up on the jointer. Then, I execute the same operation on the short end. For one-of-a-kind and less technical tapers, I prefer this technique to using a tablesaw because it is easier, and I don’t need to make a jig to only make four tapered cuts.

drill-press2 Bore The Handle Hole. Mark the hole for the handle on the tall upright. Bore the hole with a Forstner bit, keeping slow, even pressure on the quill. Place a support board on the back side to reduce tear-out. Before I glue-up, I round all of the edges, and sand all of the parts to 180 grit.

boring-holes-225x300 Assemble The Base. I clamp the parts together and bore holes for the dowels. To align the parts, I transfer the height of the short end to the tall end with a pencil. I lay all of the parts out while the tall end is laying on its back, and then I clamp it and tip it up. This step can use an extra hand, but it isn’t necessary. I tip the assembly up off the table and mark the holes for dowels (see diagram). Lastly, drill 2? deep holes through the ends and into the aprons. Once all of the holes are drilled, apply glue to dowels and drive them into the holes. Clean up the glue before it dries. When the glue sets, trim the dowels flush and sand the whole step stool one more time.

FIGURE-EIGHT TABLE-TOP FASTENERS

FIGURE-EIGHT TABLE-TOP FASTENERS

Attach The Top. I use figure-eight table-top fasteners for holding the top to the base. I bore holes in the top of the aprons with a Forstner bit, and attach the four figure-eight fasteners with screws. Then, I flip the bottom assembly over onto the top, and let the tall end hang off the edge of the table. I pre-drill pilot holes into the top and sink screws through the figure-eight fastener to hold the top firmly. My wife is going to love this, and I’m thrilled she won’t be standing on chairs anymore!

forstner-tabletopSource:

Desk Top Fasteners $4.00 for eight
Rockler
www.rockler.com
(800) 279-4441

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Discussion
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18 Responses to “Kitchen Step Stool”
  1. dman

    Wouldn’t it be a lot easier to use pocket holes to attach the top of the stool?

    Reply
    • WWGOA Team

      Hi, dman!

      The figure eight style fastener is a better choice here because they accommodate wood movement better than a pocket hole joint. I think you might actually find them to be easier/quicker than pocket holes as well. Don’t get me wrong; I’m a huge fan of pocket hole joinery, but not for this particular application.

      Reply
  2. John

    Simple in design, I like that, I am only wondering about the balance. Does it handle easily with one hand and does it hit the bottom cabinets?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, John. This design is comfortable to move around with one hand, and with the handle height set at 34″ it takes you right to the counter top height, which gives you a good alignment point to prevent banging it into the lower cabinets.

      Reply
  3. Frank

    Do you have any plans for a larger stool (with back) that would fit sitting at a workbench? I just built a simple workbench for my shed (I do book restorations) and want a rustic bench chair/stool for same. No higher than 28-29 inches, as the workbench sits around 33 inches high. Needs to have a back for comfort, but not arms. Appreciate any information you can provide. Email: fpdelrose@msn.com

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Frank. Thanks for your question. We do not have the exact plan that you are looking for, but if you like the look of it I suspect that you could modify the dimensions of this project to suit your needs.

      Reply
  4. Franklin

    Are there dimensioned drawings or plans available for this stool? Links didn’t work.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Franklin. The link for this has been fixed. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
      Thanks
      Jean-WWGOA Video Membership

      Reply
        • Customer Service

          Hi Greg. We are sorry that you are not able to view the diagram. Please try hard refreshing the page or using a different browser. If you are still not able to view the diagram, please give our customer service team a call at 1-855-253-0822 and they can assist you.
          Thanks
          Jean-WWGOA-Video Membership

          Reply
  5. Duane

    I made something like this years ago in high school. I took a class set up for the FFA members. My teacher said it wasn’t what he had in mind when he said build something useful so I received the lowest grade in the class that year. My mother used it from age 34 till she was 76 and my wife has used it now for 12 years. It has lasted longer than any of the other items made by fellow classmates. Both my mother and wife says the back is just what is needed to provide much needed balance and the stool also made a good time out place for our son when he was being naughty in his youngest years. I guess my teacher just couldn’t see the ‘useful’ in my choice of projects.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Larry. We are sorry that you are not able to view the diagram. Please try hard refreshing the page or using a different browser. If you are still not able to view the diagram, please give our customer service team a call at 1-855-253-0822 and they can assist you.
      Sincerely,
      Jean-WWGOA Video Membership

      Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Kerry. Because of the joinery that is used on this project I would not suggest using plywood. I’m concerned over the holding strength and potential for splitting.
      Thanks
      Paul-WWGOA

      Reply