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Step Stool Tutorial

I have a quick and easy step stool build for you guys today. You will need a saw, a drill, and a kreg jig. A kreg jig is a tool that helps you quickly and cleanly hide joining screws in corner joints. They make a variety of products, but the first one I purchased was this model. I chose the mid level Kreg because I needed the clamp too, and I wasn't quite ready to commit to the big guy. This tool is a lifesaver, I really don't know what I would do without my kreg jig! Here is what we are going to build today:

Tools List:

Circular/Miter Saw


Kreg Jig/clamp


Paint Brush/Stain rag

Materials List:

1 - 2x6x8 (around $6 at my big box home improvement store)

2-1/2" kreg jig screws



wood filler

sealant (optional)

Cut List:

2 - straight cuts @ 13-1/2" for the stool steps

2 - straight cuts @ 9"

2 - straight cuts @4"

You should now have the following pieces of cut wood. These are the steps to the stool:

These are the sides to the stool.

I was using scrap wood, so the pieces are a bit rough. Go ahead and sand them down now. I like to use a 60 or 80 grit sandpaper to really get the rough edges off and to even it out, and then a quick pass with a 120 grit to really get it smooth.

Go ahead and grab your kreg jig and set your slider to the appropriate setting, we will be using the 1-1/2" setting. You slide the gray sliders on the side of the kreg jig to the appropriate depth, so that they align with the arrows.

Here is the cheat sheet that came with my kreg jig, it gives you the slider setting and the screw length that you need, depending on your material thickness.

If you have not ever used a kreg jig before, you will flip the hardware over so that the edge of the kreg jig is on the edge of your wood and then attach your clamp around both pieces to keep it all tight. You will then take the drill bit below, and attach it to your drill. Then drill down into one of the pocket guides to make a pocket hole. Although there are two holes beside each other, I usually do one hole and then unclamp it, move the guide a little further away, and reclamp it for the second pocket hole.

In terms of pocket hole placement, lay your pieces of wood out in this manner, with the 4" and 9" lengths going vertically. You are going to put two kreg jig holes on the top edge of the 4" and 9" pieces and two more holes on the side where the smaller side piece will attach to the larger side piece.

Now that you have all of your pocket holes drilled it is time to switch out your drill bit and use the bit with the square on the end to attach the pieces together. Attach the 4" piece to the 9" piece first. Your legs should be a mirror image of each other with the pocket holes at the top. Exactly as shown.

At this point I went ahead and stained all of my pieces, the step part of the stool included. I like Minwax Provincial, but I have also used dark walnut if you want something a little darker.

Once the stain dried, I went ahead and painted a white topcoat over the side pieces of the stool. I left the steps as a pure stain. After the paint has dried, go ahead and lightly sand them with a higher grit sand paper if you are looking for the distressed look. Start out with a light sanding by hand and add more distressing until your desired look is achieved. I like to use a 300-400 grit sand paper to really make the wood step smooth.

Take the top step and place it on a flat surface, take your side pieces, flip them upside down, pocket holes toward the center and attach them to the top step. The pocket holes will be to the inside of the step stool, not the outside. Repeat when attaching the bottom step. My pocket holes are already filled in this picture, but the blue stars indicate where the pocket holes were originally located before I filled and painted them.

Then flip her over and admire all of your hard work!

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