Figured walnut shaker step stool

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Project by ytsejamr posted 10-25-2010 08:35 PM 6047 views 17 times favorited 41 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So a couple months ago I needed to make a step stool for my son. It needed to be big enough for him to reach the kitchen sink.

I searched around on the internets and found the design that Tommy Mac aka T-Chisel aka the new host of the Roughcut show on PBS. He had done a “forum build” a couple years ago with a bunch of people making the step stool. He had a few podcasts about it that I did watch.

I had also been given a gift certificate to a local lumber store for my birthday. I splurged on an expensive (>$100) figured walnut board.

So I broke out my dovetail saw and chisels and went to work.

I started with a wash coat of shellac. Then a little bit of danish oil. Then a few more coats of shellac, then topped off with a bunch of sprayed on coats of water based lacquer. A little paste wax topper and she was ready for pictures.

I have a feeling you’ll see a few more of these in the future.

41 comments so far

View 489tad's profile


4117 posts in 4347 days

#1 posted 10-25-2010 08:59 PM

Very nice. Your son will be proud to have his son use it.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View Millo's profile


543 posts in 4385 days

#2 posted 10-25-2010 09:08 PM

your handcut joinery looks great! Awesome! Spectacular wood, that figured walnut.

View Gintaras's profile


199 posts in 4256 days

#3 posted 10-25-2010 09:19 PM

so great wood

-- Gintaras,

View mcoyfrog's profile


4757 posts in 4930 days

#4 posted 10-25-2010 09:25 PM

Mann look at that wood, so beautiful

-- Wood and Glass they kick (well you know) Have a great day - Dug

View AaronK's profile


1512 posts in 4800 days

#5 posted 10-25-2010 09:28 PM

nice stool! it certainly looks too good to actually use :-)

just wondering: what’s your reasoning behind using all the different finishes in that particular order?

View ytsejamr's profile


84 posts in 4931 days

#6 posted 10-25-2010 09:32 PM

Yeah . . . the finishes. I was going to try to fill the grain a little with the shellac. So the first few coats of that were sanded down pretty good. Then the danish oil was to get a little oil in there. The danish oil alone didn’t quite have the look I was going for, so I did a couple coats of shellac again because I knew I was going to go water based on top of that. I never really did fully fill the grain. If I did it again, I would probably use a grain filler, some sort of oil and go right to the top coat. One of these days I’m going to build up a finish and rub it out, but I’m just not patient enough yet.

View AaronK's profile


1512 posts in 4800 days

#7 posted 10-25-2010 09:37 PM

gotcha. I can imagine myself doing the same thing. Actually, while I don’t ever really want to go for a full piano-like finish, I have gotten as close as I really care to get using poly. 1 coat of straight gloss poly put on there without too much care for dust nibs etc, then sanded back with ~500 grit paper does a really fine job. Using another coat or two of diluted “wiping” poly has gotten me pretty smooth finishes – actually smoother than I’d intended.

I’ve never tried shellac, but I was under the impression that it was kind of the perfect grain filler, since it dries so quickly. hmm.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


23290 posts in 5011 days

#8 posted 10-25-2010 09:42 PM

WOW!! That has to be the most expensive foot stool in the world!! sure looks good :-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View MickeyGee's profile


119 posts in 4229 days

#9 posted 10-25-2010 09:44 PM

Nicely done!
The board is really eye-catching but the joinery is equally nice!
Great job on featuring the craftsmanship in your photos.

I’m sure your little guy will love it. Great work.

-- -- Mike

View shimster's profile


96 posts in 4342 days

#10 posted 10-25-2010 09:55 PM


-- Less is More.....expensive

View CiscoKid's profile


375 posts in 4209 days

#11 posted 10-25-2010 10:02 PM

Beautiful work.

-- Al, Culpeper VA

View GabrielX's profile


231 posts in 4167 days

#12 posted 10-25-2010 10:06 PM

Thanks for the idea! Nice joins.

-- GX

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 4261 days

#13 posted 10-25-2010 10:07 PM

Amazing figure! Great workmanship!

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View Dusty56's profile


11868 posts in 5023 days

#14 posted 10-25-2010 10:52 PM

Did you try a sample piece by putting the oil on before the shellac ?
Was the oil able to penetrate the shellac on your project ?
Finishes and their order of application intrigue me sometimes.

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View rivergirl's profile


3201 posts in 4174 days

#15 posted 10-25-2010 10:59 PM

Beautiful wood on this stool! Wow!

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

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