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Forum topic by phlyers posted 09-30-2013 02:20 AM 804 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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93 posts in 2028 days

09-30-2013 02:20 AM

I made one of these for my daughter a while ago and then my niece and now they might go into production as a little side gig. I have all aspects of this down pat BUT one thing. As you can see in the picture the 1/2” dowel rod runs all the way through and acts as the “stop” for the seat back. There is like a 1/32” gap on one side meaning the left side will rest on the dowel nicely but the right side has that 32nd gap. This is what I do to mark the location to drill the holes for the rod.

1. I drill the holes for the “arms” on each side piece and install a short dowel (acting as the hinge) and get the angle I want and then clamp both arms so that both arms are aligned at the same angle with each other.
2. With side pieces face to face and the arms clamped to prevent movement I strike a line 3 ” up from the bottom and make an indent with a 1/2” dowel centering tool at that 3” line where it intersects with the back of the arm and then drill the 1/2 hole at that indent for the dowel rod. It gets it soo close but not absolutely perfect.

I think it’s easier to mark these holes AFTER the 2 bottom pieces and the side pieces are assembled because if there is any movement in the side pieces it will throw off the alignment of the holes when I drive the dowel rod through. If the bottom pieces and side pieces are assembled it won’t throw off the alignment.

Any thoughts on a technique for this? I have tried both ways but still have a very small gap. I probably confused everyone but hope maybe someone understands what i’m talking about.

3 replies so far

View WayneC's profile


13809 posts in 4338 days

#1 posted 09-30-2013 02:21 AM

Very nice project.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View knockknock's profile


466 posts in 2414 days

#2 posted 09-30-2013 03:15 AM

My thought would be, that a little sanding on the edge of the arm that is hitting first, will close up the gap on the other side (and may not be noticeable because of the separation of the arms).

Edit: Additional thought, sand flat spots on the ends of the dowel where the arms contact it. Sanding one more than the other to close the gap.

-- 👀 --

View tefinn's profile


1222 posts in 2678 days

#3 posted 09-30-2013 06:09 AM

I make similar step stools as gifts for family and friend’s kids. You really need to drill the holes before assembly. I fasten the sides together with double sided tape and drill both at the same time. Do the arms the same way. I use a template to mark the holes and a forstner bit in the drill press on both the sides and arms. This is the most accurate and fastest way I’ve found.

After the holes are drilled insert the long dowel. This will help align the sides so you can assemble the seat slats, then the bottom two pieces (you shouldn’t really don’t need them though). When the seat and bottom slats are fastened in place, then fasten the dowel in place. Now glue in the two arm support dowels, slide on the arms and attatch the back slats to the arms.

In my stool/seats I use 1” dowels in the back for strength. I found the 1/2” dowels sometimes broke. I use 3/4” for the arm hinge for the same reason.

-- Tom Finnigan - Measures? We don't need no stinking measures! - Hmm, maybe thats why my project pieces don't fit.

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