Wood Whisperer's Kid's Kitchen Stepstool *(Helper)

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Project by Justin posted 10-23-2017 08:36 PM 2902 views 3 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I can’t say enough good things about Marc Spagnuolo’s design, or the free plans he makes available for this project. I am very much still a novice, and this was my first fine furniture experience. It has its flaws and apprentice marks, but overall it turned out pretty well. Well enough to attract a lot of attention from visitors to the house, and well enough that I’ve since helped 2 other people make them for their kids/grandkids.

I finished this project about a year ago. It’s been used by my little girl every single day since then. She and Mom absolutely love it. It’s her dedicated breakfast and snack spot, as we have it pulled up to a dedicated spot at the bar-height kitchen table unless she’s helping at the kitchen counter.

This is black cherry lumber cut and milled on my in-law’s property right down the street, and air dried in my garage. I chose some book matched crotch pieces for the platform, and used some of the highly figured offcuts for two of the upper rails. Once planed to a nice finish the material measured 7/8”. A little thick, but it gives the piece a more substantial look.

I omitted the knock-down joinery and just built it solid. Only the platform is still movable. The only visible fasteners are the screws in the trim on the endgrain of the platform.

I built a router jig for the loose tenon joinery, and that worked really well. There are many variations of this jig concept on the web so I won’t go into detail, but my version is from Bill Hylton’s book Router Magic (I think). I used 1/4” hardwood stock for the tenons.

Finish is Enduro-Var, which I had a very hard time with. It’s absolutely beautiful, but I could not get it to lat flat. The brush streaks and runs/sags were a real problem. It also dries so fast that you really can’t expect to be able to rework any areas. Next time I’ll try a higher quality brush, but it’s possible this finish is best sprayed on. I know lots of folks love it, so it may well be my technique that needs help.

Anyway I hope this inspires others to go ahead and build this piece. It’s great concept and a really nice piece of furniture. It seems every visitor to the house asks about it, wants to know what it is and why. Once they see my daughter climb up into it, they get it.

5 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

24924 posts in 3906 days

#1 posted 10-23-2017 09:11 PM

Nice project. That is really nice and safe with support all around for the little ones!!

cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View robscastle's profile


7237 posts in 3005 days

#2 posted 10-23-2017 09:28 PM

A most impressive build considering its a first fine furniture venture, along with the timber preparation you have produced a very functional piece of furniture.
Keep up the good work.

-- Regards Rob

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3667 days

#3 posted 10-24-2017 07:48 PM

This is a very nice piece and the little ones will love it.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View JCamp's profile


1208 posts in 1351 days

#4 posted 10-25-2017 12:39 AM

Great project. I’m sure ur little helpers love it

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

View Justin's profile


22 posts in 1730 days

#5 posted 10-25-2017 01:00 PM

Thanks to all for the kind comments. I do hope it will be one of those family pieces that gets passed along. That was the idea, anyway. The piece sits near a window that gets a little morning sun, and the cherry has aged quite nicely and taken on a lovely rich color.

Yet this is one of those projects I sometimes wish I could do over again. I’ve learned so much during this project, and even more in the year since I finished it. I’ve improved my tooling and techniques quite a bit. I think a second one would turn out nearly perfect. It’s not really a very complicated piece, but somehow there is quite a bit going on. There are 56 mortises in total if you use the loose tenon method. Getting the thing together square & straight with no gaps is not easy!

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