Shakerstyle Step Stool

This small step stool with its lidded storage compartment is a handy addition to any household, whether decorated in traditional or contemporary style. The piece is pure Shaker, combining sturdy construction with clean, functional design. Pine, oak, and maple are all appropriate woods for building the step stool. Just be sure to use well-seasoned, flat stock or you will have some problems cutting the dadoes.

Begin construction by cutting the sides of the step stool from %" stock. Lay out the dadoes on both pieces side by side so that the slots will coincide exactly. Note that the horizontal dado is Y, x ¥*", while the vertical dado is % x W. Cut the dadoes with a saw and chisel or with power equipment. Next, lay out and cut notches for the W back panel, and then lay out and cut the front and bottom curves.

The back and front panels are cut from stock, while the lid and step are of %" stock. Cut all parts squarely and sand carefully before joining with glue. Keep the assembly clamped overnight if possible so that the glue has plenty of time to cure. Cut the lid and cleat to size, and glue and nail the cleat to the top edge of the front, using countersunk finishing nails.

Before adding hinges, go over the piece, breaking all sharp corners with sandpaper to give it a worn look; then apply the stain of your choice. At least three coats of a tough urethane satin finish will keep the step stool looking good for years. Be sure to seal all surfaces, including the storage compartment and the underside.

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Cube Table

Step Stool Break

This smartly styled contemporary table is mounted on casters for mobility. The lower portion is open at both front and back, and will hold a good number of books or magazines. It is made of V plywood and covered in plastic laminate in whatever color or wood grain that appeals to you.

Samples of plastic laminates are available at most building supply dealers and come in a wide variety of colors, textures, and wood grains, such as walnut and Brazilian rosewood. A handsome effect can be achieved using the maple butcher-block laminate with the drawer front and bookcase interior enameled in a bright, contrasting color. Of course, the plywood surface can also be painted, or covered with real wood veneer.

Begin construction by cutting the four sides, top, and bottom panels to the sizes indicated. Note that the side panels are narrower than the front and back ones in order to butt between them. Cut out the drawer and book openings in the front panel, and the book opening in the back panel, using a keyhole or saber saw and damped guide strip to insure straight cuts.

Run Ya" dadoes along the bottom edges of both side panels to hold the bottom, which is set with its upper surface flush with the book opening. Assemble the components with glue and finishing nails, or better still, with blind dowel pins. Leave the top off until the drawer runners have been installed.

Drawer construction is shown in the detail. The drawer front is shaped from %" clcar pine with a lip on all edges. The drawer sides are fastened to the front with glue and brads. When assembling the drawer, make sure that it's perfectly square and flat. Drawer runners are cut from %" pine to fit between the table's front and back panels. A rabbet is cut for the drawer sides to ride on. Fit the drawer runners accurately by laying the table on its side, inserting the drawer, and while the drawer is in place, gluing in the runners, lightly touching the bottom edges of the drawer sides. When the glue has dried, secure the runners with three IK" flat-headed countersunk wood screws. Now add on the top with glue and finishing nails, and carefully sand all panel surfaces and adjoining edges to provide a flat surface for the laminate, veneer, or other finish.

If you decide to use laminate, cut the pieccs a bit oversize to allow trimming. Work one surface at a time using contact cement according to the manufacturer's instructions. Trim each laminate panel before going on to the next adjoining panel The top covering is added last. Seal and paint the drawer front and bookcase interior. The inside of the drawer should be sealed with varnish to keep a clean appearance, and swelling problems will be reduced if both wide surfaces of the drawer sides are sealed as well. Choose a contemporary-style drawer knob and fasten it to the drawer front.

Mount plate-type casters by screwing them lo the plywood bottom at each corner. Be sure to allow each caster enough room to swivel freely. Casters of I size arc usually 1%" high, so this allows clearance between the floor and the bottom edges of the table. If you have very deep pile or shag carpeting, it may be belter to omit the casters.

Parsons Table

The Parsons table has become a twentieth-century' furniture classic. Simple uncluttered lines, perfect proportions, and great versatility insure that its popularity will continue for generations. This table can be built for dining, as a coffee or end table, bedside table, or. in a small version, as a bunching table that can be arranged to meet any need. Incidentally, the name has nothing to do with the clergy. The table derives its name from the renowned Parsons School of Design, which originated it in the 1930s.

This particular version makes use of an inset top of whatever material suits your fancy. The drawings show the table with a flush top of 12"-square decorative floor tiles. By all means, use any other appropriate material, or even make removable panels so that you can have a variety of tops. Consider parquet flooring, gauged siate, marble, or a fancy veneered panel. If your tastes run to very contemporary furniture and you enjoy the visual impact of very graphic styles, these tables can be enameled in bright colors, or even covered with fabric. The possibilities are almost limitless.

This table is 24&" square and 22" high. These dimensions may be changed, but to preserve the basic design the side aprons and legs should be the same width. Use extreme care in building this table, particularly if it is to receive a clear finish, as all joints must fit perfectly for a clean, smooth look. A hardwood is preferred as it can be machined more accurately to close tolerances than soft pine. Birch is an excellent choice if a light, natural finish is desired. If the table is to be painted, use poplar or kiln-dried fir.

Glue up stock for the legs and lay out notches on the tops. Keep cuts to the waste side of lines, making a check first, followed by cuts into the end grain. The distance from the notch to the top of the leg is 2%" less the thickness of the plywood panel and top covering. lf%i" flooring tile is used, this dimension will be 2%i". Trim the legs to a finish length of 2156".

The side aprons are shaped next. The depth of the rabbet on these aprons will also be determined by the thickness of the material used for the top, plus the 1i" plywood. As insurance, cut the aprons a bit wide, to 2%". This extra rabbet depth will provide a slight lip that can be planed down later to be perfectly flush with the top.

The aprons are glued and clamped to the legs while they are rested upside down on a fiat surface. Work with one leg and two aprons at a time, rather than trying to glue and clamp the entire assembly together at once. When the frame is dry. measure and cut the plywood panel for an easy fit. A hole is counterbored %" into each corner of the panel. This hole should be big enough at least to take the socket wrench needed to tighten the lag screws. Then drill a pilot hole through the panel and into the top of each leg. Wax or soap the threads of the 2" lag screws and drive them home, with washers, so that their heads do not protrude above the panel.

Go over the entire piece, sanding joints to achieve a smooth flush surface all around. Finish sand with medium, fine, and very fine paper and apply a finish of your choice. The plywood panel can then be covered with tiles or other material, using the type of adhesive recommended by the manufacturer, or, if you planned for it, a removable panel can be inserted in the recess.

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Toy Riverboat

Few children nowadays will ever have the opportunity to see a real river stern-wheeler. These shoal-draft vessels, once common on our large river systems, have all but vanished from the scene. Small children couldn't care less about nostalgia, and generally see anything that floats as a "boat," but we guarantee that they'll love this jaunty little vessel with its splashing paddle wheel.

We designed this toy for quick and easy construction. By slacking ihe material for sawing and drilling, large numbers of them can be turned out in a short time for sale at craft fairs and other outlets.

The hull is cut from % x 4 x 9white pine. Form the bow and cut out a 2 x 2)4* notch for the paddle wheel. The roof sections are thin pine sliced from a thicker piece. If you lack the machinery to do this, you can use exterior-grade

Va" plywood, though it gives the superstructure a bit of a top-heavy appearance. Don't use plywood drawer bottoms or dust shields from an old chest, as this material will quickly delaminate from exposure to moisture.

Clamp the two roof sections to the hull in proper position, and drill all holes for columns and a %" stack. The cabin is glued up from two pieces of pine with a %" hole drilled through the center to receive the stack. Before assembly sand all parts carefully, removing all sharp edges. Glue the cabin to the hull, fitting the roof sections temporarily to make sure that the stack hole lines up. Give all components a couple of coats of a good sealer and attach the superstructure to the hull with a spot of Weldwood plastic resin glue at each column. Tack the lower roof to the cabin with a couple of small galvanized finishing nails. Incidentally, plastic resin glue is highly water resistant for all practical purposes except in hot water (over 120 degrees), so save yourself some money and don't buy the very expensive Resourcinal waterproof glue just for this project.

The pilothouse is shaped from a block of pine or 1" dowel planed flat on one side. Glue this to the roof.

The paddle wheel is cut according to the detail, half-notched together, and glued. A rubber band around the wheel is stretched between the two Vk" stanchions to provide a splashy though short-lived propulsion. A small screw eye may be added at the bow for the addition of a tow cord.

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