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
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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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28 Responses to “How to Make a Boot or Shoe Jack”

  1. Robert Goodwill

    How do I get project plans

  2. Ray

    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.

  3. Eugenio

    Thanks for the tremendous design.

  4. DAVID

    Thank you for posting these plans and especially for making the templates downloadable, too!!👍👍👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻


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  6. Ellery Mathews

    no comment at this time

  7. larry

    Great plans.Been thinking of making one.After seeing your plans will do. Thanks,

  8. Mica Meigs Murray

    can i have the planes for making a boot jack frome you pleas


    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 ?

  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!