walnut step stool

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Project by mattstott posted 01-07-2013 07:15 AM 2351 views 5 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my first piece of furniture ever, so I decided to start simple with a stool. After our recent move, my wife and I realized that many of the cabinets/shelves in the new place are too high for her to reach, so a stool was made (using my new bench-shaped table!). I wanted it to be sturdy enough to kick around the kitchen floor and tip-proof (don’t need my wife falling with armfuls of plates).

Made of 2” walnut, with a maple stretcher and ebony pins. The wedges on the through tenons are also maple. Finished with watco danish oil. All hand tools used, still trying to figure out how to sneak power tools into a small apartment shop without driving my neighbors to homocide.

I learned a LOT making this- mostly what not to do, and why certain things are the way they are. I hate the “oooh, that makes sense” moments- especially when they only come to me after a project or step has been completed.

I will do lots of things different next time, and hopefully pull it off a bit better- I am not too happy with the form/shape, and the joinery leaves a LOT to be desired- all for the next project.


18 comments so far

View pintodeluxe's profile


5975 posts in 3290 days

#1 posted 01-07-2013 08:13 AM

Nice job on the stool. I like the walnut.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 3579 days

#2 posted 01-07-2013 11:20 AM

Well, you could offer it up to the neighbors and then make yourself a better one. Two birds with one stone.
I think it looks good….....................

-- mike...............

View alekhine's profile


50 posts in 3036 days

#3 posted 01-07-2013 11:21 AM

This is really one nice looking stool made with an impressive piece of wood. Very well treated, keep going Matt.

-- Efe Yaparoglu ,Izmir.... Not getting what u wished is a sign that there is something better behind.

View Marcus's profile


1165 posts in 2497 days

#4 posted 01-07-2013 11:25 AM

Great looking project, and beautiful work. I love the wedges on the one leg turned 45 degrees. It adds a bit of whimsy to a very stout piece of furniture.

View snowdog's profile


1166 posts in 4460 days

#5 posted 01-07-2013 01:07 PM

Looks like a well done project. Not sure I like the maple stretcher (color) but that is more personal color preference. Maybe if there was more heart wood in the walnut it would blend better for me. But well done for sure, something to be proud of.

-- "so much to learn and so little time"..

View Chris P's profile

Chris P

93 posts in 2763 days

#6 posted 01-07-2013 03:22 PM

Wow awesome stool, love the stretcher and the tenon wedges. It’s looking pretty sturdy from here, should last for years and years!

-- Chris, Long Island

View david38's profile


3518 posts in 2821 days

#7 posted 01-07-2013 03:36 PM

nice looking stool

View YoungWilly's profile


101 posts in 2546 days

#8 posted 01-07-2013 04:00 PM

Matt, very nice stool! One question: I noticed the legs on your stool are angled outwards; how did you make the holes for passing the stretcher? I’m planning on making a very similar stool and what’s been bugging me are the angled mortise holes in the legs for the stretcher… Any advice would be VERY welcome, thanks!

-- -- Measure twice, cut once; why, did the wood grow?

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3334 days

#9 posted 01-07-2013 05:06 PM

That is a great stool
It has presence


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View mattstott's profile


4 posts in 2454 days

#10 posted 01-07-2013 05:39 PM

Thanks for all the comments and encouragement everyone! This project became an exercise in problem solving- that and tenon gap filling. The weight of the stool is my biggest concern- I have not put in on a scale but it is too heavy for my liking (an elephant could dance on top of it, though).

snowdog: I had two stretchers made- one maple and one walnut. I went with the maple, but not after a LOT of back and forth. The color of the photos is not very true, but I definitely get your point.

youngWilly: The legs are angled outwards in both directions (they are “A” shaped). I used one angle for everything on this project, so I needed to set my sliding bevel one time. Both the top mortises and the leg mortises are angled cuts- and getting these correct was the hardest part of the job (well, that and getting the wedges cut and sized properly). I had a scrap piece of wood (2×2x6”) that I cut to the same angle- I then clamped this piece on top of the legs to use as a guide for chopping the mortise. I can take a photo later tonight to clarify some, but it was a really simple setup. And I need to get a couple of proper mortise chisels.



View YoungWilly's profile


101 posts in 2546 days

#11 posted 01-07-2013 07:13 PM

I think I understand what you mean by using angled scrap wood, but I’m looking forward to seeing the pictures!



-- -- Measure twice, cut once; why, did the wood grow?

View bobasaurus's profile


3603 posts in 3661 days

#12 posted 01-07-2013 07:16 PM

I really like the design and wood choices. The wedged tenons look great, though something about the non-conforming X instead of + bothers me :) . The ebony pins are a nice touch.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View Dusty56's profile


11852 posts in 4165 days

#13 posted 01-07-2013 09:48 PM

Beautiful stool sample !
Is the “X” your signature ?
I think the Maple stretcher adds a lot to this piece..

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

View Mean_Dean's profile


6981 posts in 3624 days

#14 posted 01-07-2013 11:08 PM

Beautiful piece! It’s almost a shame to stand on it! Some polyurethane on the top might protect it better. Can apply right over the top of the Danish oil.

Livin’ and learnin’—that’s the key to life. Keep up the good work!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3167 days

#15 posted 01-08-2013 02:44 AM

I REALLY like it: a beautiful design skillfully crafted of nice woods. I personally like the contrast of the curly maple stretcher.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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