Craftsman Step Stool

  • Advertise with us
Project by Chris McDowell posted 11-22-2013 11:54 PM 2922 views 2 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I made this little step stool for my daughter. Actually I was wanting to build a project that would let me practice mortise and tenon joints. I also wanted something to try through tenons with. This stool has 14 mortise and tenon joints with 4 of those being through tenons. I also wanted to try SketchUp out. I ended up with this little stool.

I used an old 4×4 post I had for the legs; I just cut it up on the tablesaw. The spot I cut through had this brownish red streak which ended up on all 4 legs (the dark streaks you can see in the pictures). It doesn’t look too bad. I bought a piece of scrap pine for 50 cents out of the cull lumber rack at HD for the top. All of the other parts are from a 1×4 that I got for a couple of bucks also from HD.

I used a gel stain (aged oak color). I didn’t realize how messy gel stain could get. I wish I would have prestained everything before glue-up. It was so hard to get the stain out of all of the nooks and crannies, especially since this is such a small project. I finished it with 3 coats of wipe-on poly.

I hand chopped all of the mortises with a chisel & mallet and I cut the tenons on my table saw. The through tenons were only difficult because of how soft the pine was. It was hard not to dent the edges of the mortise on the show side. I tried to lever off of my finger, but nevertheless I did dent them a little and the stain got down in those little dents. I think in a harder wood it would not have been an issue. One day I will graduate to using nice wood for my projects.

My daughter likes it:

-- Chris, , FACEBOOK: , Proverbs 16:9

16 comments so far

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 3093 days

#1 posted 11-23-2013 12:46 AM

Very attractive stool—nicely done and obviously a big hit with your daughter.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 3288 days

#2 posted 11-23-2013 01:13 AM

cool stool!

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Chris McDowell's profile

Chris McDowell

645 posts in 2953 days

#3 posted 11-23-2013 01:43 AM

Thank you for the nice comments!

-- Chris, , FACEBOOK: , Proverbs 16:9

View gwolfe1977's profile


228 posts in 2611 days

#4 posted 11-23-2013 03:58 AM

I like it! The gel stain gave it a kinda rustic look. Nice design and good work on the mortise and tenon joints. Even cheap wood can be made into beautiful projects and I think that you just proved it. Nice job

-- Gary,Nebraska

View Chris McDowell's profile

Chris McDowell

645 posts in 2953 days

#5 posted 11-23-2013 11:06 AM

That’s what I thought about it. It has more of a rustic/country look than I was going for. But what did I expect with some knotty pine? I was going for Stickly, but got Cracker Barrel. I might as well put a rooster figurine on top of it.

Even though the stain didn’t come out like I wanted, the construction of the piece was fun. Working with small parts like this can be challenging, but it was a good learning experience for me.

I appreciate your kind comment!

-- Chris, , FACEBOOK: , Proverbs 16:9

View schroeder's profile


702 posts in 4926 days

#6 posted 11-23-2013 03:26 PM

Great! – nice job on the M&T, I like the design as well, your daughter will prolly be giving this little stool to her daughter some day! Nice job!


-- The Gnarly Wood Shoppe

View palaswood's profile


1061 posts in 2552 days

#7 posted 11-23-2013 04:55 PM

oh the stain looks fabulous cliff, stop being so humble. This stool is [email protected]$$. Bravo!! Now I gotta go chop some mortises…. thanks a lot! ....

-- Joseph, Irvine CA, @palas_woodcraft on Instagram

View a1Jim's profile


118079 posts in 4378 days

#8 posted 11-23-2013 04:59 PM

I like it Chris a good sturdy build and a darling little daughter too.


View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3667 days

#9 posted 11-23-2013 05:24 PM

You did a fine job on that stool.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Chris McDowell's profile

Chris McDowell

645 posts in 2953 days

#10 posted 11-23-2013 07:00 PM

Thanks everyone for the encouraging words. I do like the thought of making things that will hopefully be around long enough to pass on to the next generation. One day when I have developed some skill I would like to make things for those who don’t have anything at all. One of the goals I had when I started woodworking was to be able to make nice furniture for those in need and give it to them at no charge. I’m quite a ways off, but that is what I’m working toward anyway.

-- Chris, , FACEBOOK: , Proverbs 16:9

View AngieO's profile


1267 posts in 2948 days

#11 posted 11-23-2013 09:07 PM

Nice step stool. Looks great.

View Marty 529's profile

Marty 529

344 posts in 2520 days

#12 posted 11-23-2013 09:23 PM

Love it. Looks great. I like your idea of helping less fortunate too :)

-- Marty, Ohio

View Chris McDowell's profile

Chris McDowell

645 posts in 2953 days

#13 posted 11-23-2013 10:25 PM

Angie & Marty: thank you both for the comments.

-- Chris, , FACEBOOK: , Proverbs 16:9

View NormG's profile


6506 posts in 3805 days

#14 posted 11-24-2013 09:41 PM

You did a wonderful job and she likes it

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View gwolfe1977's profile


228 posts in 2611 days

#15 posted 11-25-2013 02:44 AM

Well as far as making furniture for the less fortunate, what’s the hold up? You have what it takes, just make it happen!!!! At your own pace of course.

-- Gary,Nebraska

showing 1 through 15 of 16 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics