Shaker Stepstool from Drawings of Tommy Mac

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Project by BigMig posted 08-25-2014 04:45 PM 3573 views 6 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This stepstool was built from Tommy MacDonald’s drawings and program – Rough Cut Woodworking. I used maple that I got at the home center – it was flat enough for this project to work out just fine.

It’s maple – but it has cool figure and birds-eye looking details in some places – bonus, right? I kept some strange figure in some of the pins for effect – and they didn’t break out or anything.

I hand cut the dovetails and it took me quite a while as I had only practiced before this project. I used Titebond III glue and I finished it with Shellac flakes from Woodcraft. The finish was a bit frustrating as I hadn’t worked w shellac before. Learned a lot during this project.

The design of the stool is very pleasing to me – not too dressed up, but elegant in the simplicity.

My wife really likes the stool and even given its flaws – I really like it too.

-- Mike from Lansdowne, PA

5 comments so far

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

6947 posts in 3962 days

#1 posted 08-26-2014 04:32 PM

Very nice, BigMig….I remember seeing T.M. build that stool on his show…..Beautiful job you did with the dovetails….I like it….I’ve seen a few times I could use a stool like that in my shop….Sometimes, I’m just too short to reach things….....I built a mandolin years ago using curly birds-eye Maple for the back and sides…..There are just some projects that really makes this wood stand out…...Keep on the sunny side…....

-- " There's a better way.....find it"...... Thomas Edison.

View BigMig's profile


474 posts in 3381 days

#2 posted 08-26-2014 06:46 PM

Thanks, Rick. Yes, it’s a handy thing…can be used also as a short stool (in a pinch) while putting on shoes, etc. My wife uses it as a stepstool to get to the upper reaches of closets.

I also agree that maple is a great material – a sweet spot of availability, relatively low cost, and easy to work with. Tommy Mac’s drawing and dvd made it straight forward to build.

-- Mike from Lansdowne, PA

View Doug's profile


18 posts in 2515 days

#3 posted 09-21-2014 11:51 PM


Just looked at your Shaker stool, like it much, hand cut dado joint is still a little out of my league as my eyesight is not that good, had surgery on both eyes last year which has helped but still have problems with anything smaller than about 1/4” to 1/8”. The benches I build are patterned after the neat thin lines of Shaker furniture, somewhere in my library I have a excellent book on Shaker furniture, if I can come across it will get you the title as it has some really nice pieces which may interest your wife, then you, if you understand me.

Thanks, Doug

-- Doug

View BigMig's profile


474 posts in 3381 days

#4 posted 09-22-2014 12:27 PM

I have a book by Thomas Moser (re published +/- 2013) “How to Build Shaker Furniture” – not exactly a How to – like with detailed plans, but instead an overview of Shaker design and design elements. Nice idea book.

-- Mike from Lansdowne, PA

View Yowelkis's profile


6 posts in 1292 days

#5 posted 03-03-2017 12:59 PM

So cool, this type of joinery without the corrects tools, are so hard to create, We called “Banqueta” on Rep. Dominicana.

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