Stools and Benches
     Building stools and benches is a lot of fun. I've experimented with a variety of woods and designs. For example, on some stools, I have cut a curve into the center support and cut ogee arches in the legs. This is more work but the stool's appearance is made to look more elegant without sacrificing its strength. The following are examples of designs and wood types I have used.

     Not shown are some stools I built using reclaimed (repurposed) wood. An example is wood salvaged from dismantling pine bookcases. That was an interesting project. You sand off some (but not all) of the old stain; then apply a clear polyurethane finish. Not only do you get an interesting finish, you are using a better quality wood because today's new pine of the same grade is of less quality than yesterday.


Pine Step Stool

picture of pine step stool

     This wooden step stool is hand sanded and assembled using pocket screws and high strength glue. The rounded edges of the legs and seat were formed on the router table using a roundover bit. This stool has a straight center brace and round arches in the legs. It has been finished with latex paint and protected by a spar varnish. The stool is approximately 12" high, 16" wide and 11" deep. It takes about 3 hours to build this stool.

Hickory Stool

picture of a hickory stool

     This hickory stool is hand sanded and assembled using sliding dovetail joints, pocket screws, and high strength glue. The rounded edges of the legs and seat were formed on the router table using a roundover bit. This stool has a curved center brace and ogee arches in the legs. Sliding dovetail joints were used to attach the legs to the center brace. I chose these joints because of hickory's superior strength. (I attempted to use this type joint on a pine stool but the legs split during assembly.) The glue was allowed to set before attaching the top. The top was attached using Kreg® pocket screws and glue. Hickory is difficult to plane and sand.

     Because of its beautiful grain, I only used a clear polyurethane finish. I should add that finding dark grain hickory heart wood is rare. The stool is approximately 16" high, 23" wide and 11" deep. It takes about 5 hours to build this stool.


Planter Stool

picture of a planter stool

     This pine planter stool is made using Torx® screws and high strength glue. This stool is designed to support a planter. The challenge in building this stool was to get correct angles cut in both ends of the legs. Thankfully, my 12" miter saw was up to the task. After the legs were cut, I used the same angle in ripping the skirt on the table saw. Assembly was easy.

     While there are more exotic planter stools on the market, I was attempting to design and built a wooden planter stool for the least cost. Of course you can simply put your potted plant on top of a concrete block if you want really cheap!


Poplar Stool

picture of poplar stool

     This poplar stool is hand sanded and assembled using Kreg® pocket screws and high strength glue. The rounded edges of the legs, center brace, and seat were formed on the router table using a roundover bit. This stool has a curved center brace and round arches in the legs. It has been finished with a clear polyurethane finish. The stool is approximately 16" high, 22" wide and 11" deep. It takes about 4 hours to build this stool.

Hickory Step Stool

picture of a hickory step stool

     This hickory step stool is hand sanded and assembled using sliding dovetail joints, pocket screws, and high strength glue. The rounded edges of the legs, center brace, and seat were formed on the router table using a roundover bit. This stool has a curved center brace and ogee arches in the legs. Sliding dovetail joints were used to attach the legs to the center brace. I chose these joints because of hickory's superior strength. The glue was allowed to set before attaching the top. The top was attached using Kreg® pocket screws and glue. Hickory is difficult to plane and sand.

     Because of its beautiful grain, I only used a clear polyurethane finish. I should add that finding dark grain hickory heart wood is rare. The stool is approximately 12" high, 16" wide and 11" deep. It takes about 5 hours to build this stool.


Ambrosia Maple Step Stool

picture of a maple step stool

     This maple step stool is hand sanded and assembled using sliding dovetail joints, pocket screws, and high strength glue. The rounded edges of the legs, center brace, and seat were formed on the router table using a roundover bit. This stool has a curved center brace and round arches in the legs. Sliding dovetail joints were used to attach the legs to the center brace. I chose these joints because of maple's superior strength. The glue was allowed to set before attaching the top. The top was attached using Kreg® pocket screws and glue.

     Because of ambrosia maple's beautiful grain, I only used a clear polyurethane finish. The stool is approximately 12" high, 16" wide and 11" deep. It takes about 5 hours to build this stool.


Oak Step Stool

picture of an oak step stool

     This oak step stool is hand sanded and assembled using pocket screws and high strength glue. The rounded edges of the legs and seat were formed on the router table using a roundover bit. This stool has a straight center brace and round arches in the legs. The legs and top were attached using Kreg® pocket screws and glue.

     I used an oak stain protected by a clear polyurethane finish. The stool is approximately 12" high, 16" wide and 11" deep. It takes about 3 1/2 hours to build this stool.


Poplar Step Stool

picture of poplar step stool

     This poplar step stool is hand sanded and assembled using pocket screws and high strength glue. The rounded edges of the legs and seat were formed on the router table using a roundover bit. This stool has a rounded center brace and round arches in the legs. The legs and top were attached using Kreg® pocket screws and glue.

     The wood is protected by a clear polyurethane finish. The stool is approximately 12" high, 16" wide and 11" deep. It takes about 3 hours to build this stool.


Sassafras Step Stool

picture of sassafras step stool

     This sassafras step stool is hand sanded and assembled using pocket screws and high strength glue. The rounded edges of the legs and seat were formed on the router table using a roundover bit. This stool has a rounded center brace and round arches in the legs. The legs and top were attached using Kreg® pocket screws and glue. Sassafras is easy to cut and drill but it is difficult to sand.

     The wood is protected by a clear polyurethane finish. The stool is approximately 12" high, 16" wide and 11" deep. It takes about 3 hours to build this stool.


Joan's Vanity Stool

picture of Joan's vanity stool

     This poplar vanity stool is hand sanded and assembled using Torx® screws and high strength glue. This stool has a wide and straight center brace and round arches in the legs. The cushion consists of a 1/4" plywood base under a 2" foam cushion covered with synthetic material. The synthetic material is incredibly durable, washable, and more expensive than leather. The cushion was built by a professional upholsterer. I attached the cushion to the seat of the vanity stool with glue and 1" screws.

     The wood is protected by a clear polyurethane finish. The vanity stool is approximately 20" high, 19" wide and 11" deep. It takes about 3 hours to build this stool. Click here for more pictures and drawings,


Pine Piano Bench

picture of a piano bench

     This bench is hand sanded and assembled using Kreg® pocket screws, mortise and tenon joinery and high strength glue. It is painted with glossy black latex and protected by clear spar varnish. It is approximately 20" high, 24" wide and 11" deep. It takes 3.5 hours to build this bench.

Pine Bench

picture of a pine bench

     This bench is hand sanded and assembled using Kreg® pocket screws and high strength glue. Ogee arches were cut into the legs. The shelf is 11" deep and is attached to the legs using pocket screws. There is a 4 x 4" plywood corner brace attached to each leg and the seat to provide greater strength and rigidity. The bench is unfinished in this picture. This bench is approximately 19" high, 36" wide, and 13" deep. It takes 3.5 hours to build this bench.

Poplar Bench

picture of a poplar bench

     This bench is hand sanded and assembled using Kreg® pocket screws and high strength glue. Ogee arches were cut into the legs. The shelf is 11" deep and is attached to the legs using pocket screws. There is a 4 x 4" plywood corner brace attached to each leg and the seat to provide greater strength and rigidity. The wood is protected by a clear polyurethane finish. This bench is approximately 19" high, 36" wide, and 13" deep. It takes 3.5 hours to build this bench.

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Updated 04/09/2018
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