Barrett Stepstool

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Project by skone posted 02-06-2012 12:19 AM 3212 views 8 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

“Barrett Stool”?

Well, it’s Niall Barrett’s book anyway. I made this after seeing stools made by


This particular stool is from the book “Classic Kitchen Projects”, published by Taunton.

I used Poplar and Douglas Fir — budget/scrap. I turned the dowel as the plans called for but didn’t see the need for the chunky end caps as it’s a captive piece anyway. Plus, my wife saw the thing right around the time of assembly and said it wasn’t what she had wanted for the kids/kitchen. (....sigh….) Alrighty, then. So…

Suddenly this became shop furniture.

Which meant, “well, i’m certainly not spending the time to do those little end caps. Let’s throw some milk paint on here and be done with it.”

So I’m done with it. A little anticlimactic but a good learning experience was had. Getting the angled cuts and dados right was good practice for me. Not all of my tools are terribly nice so setting up over and over for accuracy can be a challenge. A good old fashioned protractor—a new addition to my kit—was a great help.

Had I used a nice wood stock I might be more excited about the final piece. I think the contrast and grain on Gary’s and Todd’s really does a lot for the piece. Otherwise it’s kind of just a mini ladder.

A serviceable little stool none the less. I’ll surely make use of it.

Thanks for looking!

-- "Take extra care not to lose what you feel" (Winwood/Capaldi/Wood)

9 comments so far

View Martyroc's profile


2712 posts in 2503 days

#1 posted 02-06-2012 12:24 AM

Looks good, what is the finish, milk paint?

-- Martin ....always count the number of fingers you have before, and after using the saw.

View a1Jim's profile


117328 posts in 3775 days

#2 posted 02-06-2012 12:28 AM

Good looking stool

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View skone's profile


147 posts in 3003 days

#3 posted 02-06-2012 12:35 AM

Thanks, guys. Sorry, blew out the lighting on the finished piece photos. It’s a blue-ish milk paint, yes. Having kids exposed me to milk paint—- it’s so benign. Nice thing I’ve found though—and it may not occur to everyone right off—when you’re painting in your basement shop mid-winter, it’s a great choice as it’s pretty much odorless. No fumes, no nothin’.

-- "Take extra care not to lose what you feel" (Winwood/Capaldi/Wood)

View doncutlip's profile


2832 posts in 3753 days

#4 posted 02-06-2012 01:07 AM

Very sturdy looking stool, a solid build

-- Don, Royersford, PA

View rimfire7891's profile


123 posts in 3100 days

#5 posted 02-06-2012 01:48 AM

Hi Skone,,

Like your stool (if you say that fast, might get some strange looks). Very similar design to the ones we made in shop class at school 48 years ago.
Have to make one again soon.

Thanks for sharing

-- Playing with wood and metal for the last 50 years, driving and building Land Cruisers for the last 40. Experience is what you get when you don't know what you are doing.

View skone's profile


147 posts in 3003 days

#6 posted 02-06-2012 04:17 AM

thanks, don. thanks, jb——i’ll be careful, but i usually get strange looks no matter what. i like to think of this as having been a shop class project. i never had the option of shop class. i guess that’s what i’m doing now. but like you say, “experience is what you get when you don’t know what you are doing.” I’m a believer.

-- "Take extra care not to lose what you feel" (Winwood/Capaldi/Wood)

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4297 days

#7 posted 02-06-2012 07:24 AM

The milk paint is not bad looking. It changes the character of the project and makes it look like an antique stool and it works.

Sorry to hear the wife found something else but like you said, it still was a good learning experience. Since you have kids I have a feeling it will end up getting used by them somewhere.

I think yours looks better since you did not put the chunky end caps on. I kind of regret doing that on mine but will not take the time to change it. It is what it is and it is a record of my skill level at that time.

Thanks for giving me a heads up on the project;)

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View GaryCN's profile


358 posts in 4132 days

#8 posted 02-08-2012 05:59 AM

It is also a good seat for tailgating, I may make a second one.

-- Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

View ThorinOakenshield's profile


112 posts in 2296 days

#9 posted 08-31-2012 02:37 AM

This is turning out to be a popular design. I recently built a similar stool. I didn’t have the book. Just eyeballed it based on Gary and Todds.

-- -Thorin Oakenshield, King Under the Mountain

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