Step Stool

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Blog series by Eric updated 10-13-2008 08:32 AM 10 parts 16026 reads 69 comments total

Part 1: Starting from Scratch

06-15-2008 03:34 PM by Eric | 5 comments »

Today I had my first real shop time since Mothers Day. I finished my wife’s box just in time to give it to her, but I still hadn’t put any finish on it. So today I started by putting on the first coat of oil/varnish/mineral spirits. Once I did that, I figured I’d start something new. I had no idea what I’d do. It was a good feeling, one of anticipation. I decided that I wanted to take a little break from the kempas I’d been working with since the beginning of ...

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Part 2: Taking Shape

06-17-2008 08:12 AM by Eric | 4 comments »

Next step: Sanding and Dovetails!

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Part 3: Slight Design Modification

06-19-2008 04:04 AM by Eric | 11 comments »

This one’s for you, Betsy! Commenting on my latest entry and picture, Betsy pointed out that step stools normally have angled legs. And it didn’t take too long browsing the step stools posted here to show me that yup, the legs really should be wider at the base than at the top. Makes sense. So I glued one more board on the legs and here’s what I’ve got: After I do the dovetails, I’ll cut a nice gentle curve from top to bottom on the outsides of the legs...

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Part 4: Making Progress

07-05-2008 11:56 AM by Eric | 7 comments »

For most woodworkers, especially those with the convenience and expedience of power tools, a step stool is a weekend project, if not a half-day project. For me, it’s looking like it will be a 2- or 3-weekend project, if I’m lucky. But I am really enjoying the process and continue to learn every time I approach the piece. Today I cut the dovetails. I had already marked them last week so it was just a matter of putting saw (and chisel) to wood. I was quite pleased with how they t...

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Part 5: First Hand-Cut Tenon

07-12-2008 03:24 PM by Eric | 9 comments »

Today I was able to do both tenons for the supporting rail (rail? stile?) for the step stool I’m building. It’ll be a through tenon and have wedges when it’s done. I also had time to do one mortise today. This one looks pretty fabulous, if I do say so myself. However, TOTAL DISCLOSURE: The other one didn’t go as well. My line on the cheeks weren’t very straight so the tenon narrows at it nears the shoulders. This, my friends, is not good. I might not need ...

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Part 6: Hand-Chopping a Mortise (with Video)

07-21-2008 04:29 AM by Eric | 12 comments »

After I posted about doing my first hand-cut mortise and tenon, Scott wanted to see how I chopped my mortise. He said, “The only time I tried to chop a mortice I left most of a 1/4” chisel broken off in the wood.” Well, when I read that, I kind of freaked out because I hadn’t considered that I could have broken my blade! But I decided to trust in what I was taught, and to remember that I had, indeed, done one successfully. So I decided to keep at it for my second mortise. ...

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Part 7: I Don't Need No Stinkin' Jigsaw

07-23-2008 09:27 AM by Eric | 7 comments »

When I was contemplating my curves and complaining about my coping saw, Marco suggested that I could easily make a curve by first making a series of cuts, and then cutting the waste away with a chisel. I had learned that technique at Homestead Heritage (Waco, TX) but hadn’t yet had enough confidence to try it. It seemed too easy. But doing the curves for the supporting piece, I decided to give it a go. So here is the piece after I’ve made my cuts: And here it is after my...

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Part 8: Giving the Tenon a Wedgie

07-24-2008 05:10 PM by Eric | 3 comments »

I know, I know. Juvenile title. I can’t help it. So it’s time for the wedges. By the way, I followed Ian Kirby’s technique as described in Woodworkers Journal (October 2007) and in a bit less detail on this website. First, to cut the kerfs in the tenon. Kerfs should be less than 1/4” from the edge of the tenon, and should stop about 1/8” from the shoulder. Likewise, when you open the mortise so it angles out, the opening should begin 1/8” in from the ins...

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Part 9: I'm #21!

08-08-2008 05:36 PM by Eric | 7 comments »

So the big news of the day is that the results are out! I really didn’t expect to win, or even to come close, with my step stool. I did have a secret desire that I would get a vote. If I got just one vote, I would have been ecstatic. Instead, I actually got 10 votes, including one vote for 1st place. Thank you! No, don’t worry, fellow Jocks, I don’t have any delusions of grandeur. I can see the entries below mine just as well as you can, and that the originality and/or...

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Part 10: Hey Brother, Can You Spare a Vote?

10-13-2008 08:32 AM by Eric | 4 comments »

I’ve entered my step stool in a contest on SmartFlix (think NetFlix for DIYers). While I do believe in “May the best man win,” I’m no fool: all the other contestants are probably trying to get votes just like I am! So how about it? Click on the link to go to the contest page. Thanks in advance for your vote! P.S. I plan to do a write-up on SmartFlix in the near future, so stay tuned for that.

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