Building a Step Stool
If you are a beginner or would like to tackle a quick project in just a few hours here are some simple plans to build this really useful step stool. You don't need many tools or materials and the overall cost is very low. I recommend using pine or other soft white wood because it is cheap and easy to cut.
8 ft - 1x2, pine
2 ft - 1x10, pine
2 ft - ¾ inch dowel, pine or other white wood
Upper Rail B template - see diagram
Pocket Hole Jig + 1 ¼” Screws
¾ inch drill bit
Top: 9 ¼ x 13 ½ inches
4 Legs: 6 inches, mitered at 5 degrees at top and bottom (set your miter saw to 85 degrees)
2 Front rails: 6 11/16 inches long
2 Side rails: 8 inches on long side, mitered at 5 degrees (set your miter saw to 85 degrees)
2 dowels: 8 1/8 inches long
For the legs, cut a 1x2 6 inches long, with a 5 degree miter angle on both sides (set your miter saw to 85 degrees). If you're unsure of how to do the miter cuts, print out the template, glue on the wood with a glue stick, make the cuts according to the template. Once your cuts are made, make sure the template is attached to the legs and drill the hole for the dowel per the template, all the way through. Repeat for each leg.
Cut the long rails, which measure 8 inches on the long side (7 5/8 inches on the short side), with a 5 degree miter on both sides, so that the miters oppose each other (set your miter saw to 85 degrees). Again, if you're unsure of how to do the mitered cuts, print out the the Upper Rail B template, attach to wood, and make the cuts according to the template.
Cut the short rails, which measure 6 11/16 inches long, with straight cuts on both sides.
Cut the dowels at 8 1/8 inches long.
Where to Drill Pocket Holes
For this design you only need one pocket hole drilled on each side of the upper rails, both the two A rails, and the two B rails.
On the diagram I have added black ovals to denote the placement of the pocket hole drill locations. Remember they are to be placed toward the inside, and NOT on the outside of the upper rails.
Note that on the Upper Rails B there are two added drill locations oriented towards the top. There (4) pocket screws are to attach the top.
To assemble the step stool attach Upper Rail B to each of the legs to make one side of the leg assembly. Add glue for extra strength at all the joint locations. Then repeat on the other side. Once the two side assemblies are formed add Upper Rails A and screw them together.
At this point you should have a base.
Place the base on the middle of the top, so there is an even amount of space on all the sides. Attach the top to the base, attaching 4 pocket screws through the holes you've already drilled on Upper Rails B.
Once the top is attached, slide the two dowels through the legs, adding some glue to secure them.
Sand down the sides of the dowels, if they're protruding through a little bit.
To finish off the step stool, you can add a chamfer detail to the top. Using sandpaper, or a plane, cut down the edges of the top a little, starting with the end grain sides and continuing with the long grain sides. By smoothing the edge, the step stool will look a bit more finished.
For a great video from the CraftyGemini check out her video tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XGlvKpUdG0
Or her great blog post: http://craftygemini.blogspot.com/2014/11/how-to-build-step-stool-video-tutorial.html