Stepping things up

I’m a member of a local woodworking group and one of our recent projects was to make a combined stool and toolbox. We normally do only small projects when we get together once a month but this time we went a little bigger.

This was the example stool. The original plans are from a wood magazine special but had been modified a little to suit the material we had around the workshop.


Unlike previous projects where a lot of the material was ready for us, we were given a cut list and had to source and prepare all of the timber for this project from the stockpile in the workshop.

I ended up teaming up with two of the more experienced members and together we made the parts for three of these stools.

After we found timber we could use, we cut it to size on the tablesaw and used the thicknesser and jointer to get it ready. This is one of the areas where joining a woodwork club is good, you get to use all of the big machinery that you may not otherwise have access to.

I ended up working on the mitersaw, as I’m more familiar with it than the other tools, and got the parts for the legs and sides cut out. I had to test fit then recut a few pieces to make sure the groove in the legs and the edge of the sides were perfectly even otherwise it wouldn’t fit together.

One of the team got a bit creative on the design and decided that rebated legs weren’t enough, and that we should round the legs over and use a cove bit in the router table to make the matching rebate. This turned out really nicely, surprising everyone as nobody had considered it before.


We routed grooves on the inside of each leg to hold the side panels and glued it all together and finished for the day.

The other guys worked on it a bit when they had time but I hadn’t been able to make it down there so went and got the parts for mine to finish it off at home.

The plywood sides wern’t flush with the top edge so that needed to be cleaned up. I just used a block plane. Here it is before


and after


Then I had to mark up the plywood top so I could attach it evenly to the base of the stool. I measured the width of the stool and the top, then divided the difference in two and marked that distance right around.


Then it was a matter of adding glue to the top and positioning the base on it, then clamping it all up. I added four screws that were in the original plans but not in the version we were shown as I wanted to make sure the top wouldn’t move under load. I filled the screw holes with wood putty, but it was too dark even when sanded back. I might have to fix that at some point.


Once it was dry, I gave it a good sanding. The light was fading by this point so the photo isn’t great.


That was all I had time for that day, but managed to add a coat of boiled linseed oil the next weekend and it came up really nicely. It still needs the handle added if I want it to be a toolbox as well but I’m undecided on that so havn’t done it yet.

Here’s the finished stool, I’m very pleased with the result. It’s very sturdy and stable in use.



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