Walnut Step Stool: Part I

My Work

This is my first post on making a walnut step stool for my wife. If you read my recent post, Walnut Slabs, you know that my wife asked me to make her a new step stool as soon as she saw the beautiful walnut slabs. I had made my wife a step stool many years ago using red oak which she uses everyday in the kitchen but she wants to move that step stool into her walk in closet. I sketched out three different designs and shared them with her. Below is the design that she chose.

making a step stool

Ok, I am not an artist but wait until to you see the finished stool, it will be beautiful! This is not a difficult project, but this design has a good many steps, no pun intended!! 🙂

As I continue this project, I plan to keep track of my time in order to know exactly how long it takes me to make one step stool. It will take me a bit longer since this is the first time I have made this design plus the extra work to mill the rough sawn walnut.

I started by picking a few walnut slabs that matched the width and length that I needed for the step stool. After measuring the boards, I decided to use the two boards on the right in the picture below.

live edge walnut slabs

Rough sawn walnut found last week, see recent post Wood Gloat

Each board is rough sawn, so after checking for nails I will need to dress each board. Dressing rough sawn lumber is the milling of the boards, getting each board flat, straight and square. All boards need to be ran thru the milling process before cutting the first piece for the stool. For the milling process I will be using my Dewalt 13 inch 2 speed planer and my jointer. The planer will be used to mill the surfaces and the jointer will mill the edge.

To start, I set-up my Dewalt 13 inch 2 speed planer, turn on the dust collection and planed each board. It took multiple passes on each side to plane the boards. Each board was a different thickness but all were slightly less than 5/4 inch, so I was able to plane each board to 4/4 inch thick.

walnut live edge

Boards after going thru the planer.

All boards are planed but still have the live edge. Each has beautiful character and great color, the center of the boards are the traditional walnut color, toward the live edge is the sap wood which is cream in color.

I set-up my table saw jig to cut the boards to the maximum width minimizing waste but removing the live edge. I will try to save as much of the sap wood are possible as I think it will add character to the step stool.

walnut step stool plan

Once I had all four sides of all the boards milled, I measured, marked out a rough draft layout for each cut based on my design. Set-up the table saw and I made rough oversized cuts for each piece see picture above, final cuts will me made as I progress. Then each piece was ran thru the jointer to true the edges.

The boards will need to acclimate over night. Before continuing tomorrow I will check each piece for cupping.

Next post: layout the top step and the stretcher using my adjustable French curve and cutting both to final size.

Time spent today on Part I: 1 hour and 35 minutes.

Next Post:
Walnut Step Stool: Part II
Walnut Step Stool: Park III
Walnut Step Stool: Part IV

Previous Post:
Walnut Slabs
Walnut Wood Gloat

14 thoughts on “Walnut Step Stool: Part I

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