Weekend Project

Woodworking Project Step Stool

deep dado


Vi round-over

NOTE: Use quarter to lay out radius on bottom corners

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Attach auxiliary fence to miter gauge to back up workpiece I

Step Stool

Make multiple passes to cut notch

ost step stools fold up when . they're not in use. This is handy for storage, but not very convenient if you use the stool frequently. The nice feature about our step stool is that instead of folding up, the step slides in and out of the base. So it's ready to go at a moment's notice.

The step slides in a "track" in the base of the stool. Aid a system of pins and stop blocks prevent the step from coming all the way out of the base.

BASE. The construction of both the step and the base is similar, but since the step is designed to fit closely inside the base, I started with the base and then built the step to fit.

The platform of the base is made up of five pieces — two sides and three rails, see drawing on next page. (A top is added later.) I started off by gluing up a couple 'W'-thick blanks for the sides (A) and cutting them to size (14" x 15W), see drawing below. MORTISES. It's easiest to The bottom step slides out cut all the joinery on the and sits firmly on the ground sides while the blanks to provide stable support. are still square. I began with the through mor tises that will be used to join the sides with a set of rails.

Ihe mortises at the top of each side piece are really notches — they're open at one end. I cut these on the table saw in a series of passes, see Figs. 1 and la. But since the notches are the same distance from each side, 1 used my rip fence as a stop, flipping the piece between passes.

Then to make the mortise in the center of each side piece, I drilled out most of the waste on a drill press and cleaned up the edges with a chisel.

Before cutting the sides to shape, I completed the "track" that the step slides in. This is nothing more than a dado cut on the inside face of each side piece, see drawing. But when cutting this dado, pay close attention to the width. To keep the step from binding, it should be W wider than the thickness of the stock you will use to build the step. (I made trial cuts in a piece of scrap to "fine-tune" the width of the dado.)

With the joinery out of the way,

NOTE: Don't rout bullnose profile on top edge

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NOTE: Use quarter to lay out radius on bottom corners the sides can be cut to their finished shape. I started by laying out the angles along die sides and the curves on die bottom of each piece, see drawing on previous page. With a band saw, I cut away the waste, 'then I sanded and planed the edges smooth.

The bottom corners of the base are rounded to prevent them from splintering. Shop Note: A twenty-five cent piece makes a good template for laying out these rounded corners, see detail 'a' on previous page.

To complete the sides, I routed a bullnose profile around each piece, except along the top edges (this is where the top will sit). This is done with a router and a '/»"-radius roundover bit that is set 5/i6M deep, see detail 'b' on previous page.

RAILS. Once the sides were complete, I began work on the three rails (B) that connect them. These pieces are identical — the only difference is that the two top rails will be drilled for screws to attach them to the top of the stool, see drawing above right.

The tenons on the rails need to match the thickness of the side pieces (Vn. (I made mine a hair longer and trimmed them flush after assembly, see page 18.) But the important thing is to make sure that the shoulder-to shoulder distance is the same on all three rails (141//), see detail 'c\

Once the tenons are cut, countersunk screw holes can be drilled in two of the rails, see detail 'c'. This will provide a means of attaching the top.

CURVES. After drilling the screw holes, curves can be laid out on one

Deep Hole Drilling Means

Drill Va" dia. hole 3/s" deep for stop pin

NOTE: Drill screw holes in top rails only edge of each rail, see detail 'c'. Then the waste can be cut away on a band saw and the curves sanded smooth.

STOP PIN. There's one more step before gluing up the sides and rails. To prevent the step from being pulled completely out of the base, a W'-dia. hardwood dowel pin is glued into a hole drilled in the dado on each side piece, see detail 'b'. These pins will limit the travel of the step. But more on this later.

ASSEMBLY. Gluing up the rails and sides is pretty straightforward. Just be sure to pay attention to the orientation and position of the rails. The two rails with the screw holes fit at the top of the base. And while the curves

NOTE: Drill screw 3/4* counterbore % ho'es in t0P rails only on these rails face down, the curve on the center rail should face up, see drawing above.

TOP. The last step to complete the base is to add a top (C). There's nothing tricky here — it's just a %"-thick glued-up blank that's cut to size and shape, see Figs. 2 and 2c.

To make it easier to lift the step stool, I made a cut-out in the center of the top, see Fig. 2a. Then before screwing it to the base, I routed a bullnose profile on all the edges, including the inside of the hand cut-out, see Fig. 2b.

Drill Va" dia. hole 3/s" deep for stop pin

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To lay out curves, see detail c.

NOTE: Rout bullnose around top after curves are cut

cross section b.

cross section



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#8xV/i" Fh woodscrew

#8xV/i" Fh woodscrew

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Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

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