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Double-Duty Shop Stool Cambria Heights NY

Cut the center notches and the sides of the bases using a circular saw (Photo 2). The accuracy of these cuts isn't critical, so you don't need a guide. Cut the legs and inside corners of the notches using the jigsaw.

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Double-Duty Shop Stool

Double-Duty Shop Stool

It's all plywood, and only uses a half sheet.

by Eric Smith

A combination stool and work support? OK, it’s an odd pair, but in my crowded shop, it makes a lot of sense. Anything that takes up less room is a good idea! The stool’s seat is divided into three pieces. When you raise the center section, you get an absolutely rigid work support that extends to 48 in. high. That’s tall enough to hold long pieces on a drill press or serve as an outfeed support for a bandsaw or tablesaw. Most commercial roller stands don’t extend this high. Just turn a simple handle—a hardware-store eye bolt—and the telescoping top locks in place.


Materials and Tools

Cut all the parts of the stool from one half-sheet (4 ft. x 4 ft.) of 3/4-in. birch plywood (about $25). Birch plywood makes the best-looking stool for the least amount of money. Its faces are free of ugly knots and its edges are virtually free of voids. But you’re free to choose any kind of 3/4-in. plywood without voids,  such as Baltic birch, marine-grade plywood or AB fir plywood. Use plywood-cutting blades in your circular saw and jigsaw to avoid splintering. 

Lay Out the Parts

1. Cut the plywood into two large rectangular pieces (Fig. B, above). Draw a centerline on the smaller piece for laying out two sets of nesting circles. Use a trammel (Fig. D, below) to draw two footrests (C, D) and two top pieces (G, H, Photo 1). Drill start holes to fit your jigsaw blade. Cut all the circles using a jigsaw.

2. Lay out the two base pieces (A, B, Fig. C, center). Use the outside edge of the smaller footrest (C) to draw the curved sections of the legs—it’s simpler than setting up the trammel. Leave a 1/2-in. separation between the two base pieces. Cut the center notches and the sides of the bases using a circular saw (Photo 2). The accuracy of these cuts isn’t critical, so you don’t need a guide. Cut the legs and inside corners of the notches using the jigsaw.

Assemble the Base

3. Test-fit the two base pieces (Photo 3). Trim the notches as needed so the parts fit easily.

4. Sand the edges of the seat and base pieces. Round the corners with a 1/4-in.-radius router bit. 

5. Slide the two base pieces together. Place the smaller footrest on the base. Predrill and countersink screw holes through the footrest and into the base (Fig. A, page 84). Screw and glue the bottom footrest to the base. 

6. Check the fit of the top footrest (D) on the base. It will be tight—trim as needed. Position the top footrest so its face grain runs the opposite way from the grain of the footrest below. Glue and clamp the top footrest to the bottom footrest (Photo 4).

7. Rip the corner braces (E, Photo 5). Flip the plywood sheet over for each succeeding 45-degree cut (Fig. E, page 90). Cut the corner braces to length.

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