DIY Simple Step Stool With CNC Carved Top

Thinking about building your own DIY simple step stool? Check out this cool DIY project where I built my own step stool with a CNC carved compass on top!

I’ve been needing a step stool for around the house because there are several places that I can’t reach without a few additional inches. I wanted  a step stool that was decorative so I could leave it hanging around the house whenever I wasn’t using it, instead of hiding it in a closet, and since I finally assembled my X-Carve CNC from Inventables I thought I would use it to really personalize my stool. I decided to go with a compass rose image on mine. Keep in mind if you don’t have a CNC that you can buy or make a stencil for the top and paint on whatever design you go with.

I think this would make a really good and easy DIY gift too!

I am using one 2×6 to make this stool because I wanted the top to be thick. You could also use 2x4s.

I started by cutting three length of 11″ at my miter saw. 

1I used my table saw to rip them into 2″ strips. I used five 2″ pieces plus one of the 1″ scrap pieces to make up the top. I wanted the top to be 11″ wide so I could later cut in a 10 1/2″ diameter circle.

2I glued the pieces together and clamped them for an hour to dry. Tip: if you sprinkle a little table salt on the glue it will keep the pieces from slipping around.

3Next I started on the legs. I made the legs 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ square the cut them to be 9 1/2″ long. Once all four were cut, I used a temporary fence on my miter gauge to cut a 7 degree compound miter on both ends of each leg.

To make them all the same, I would line up my first cut (with the blade off) then make a pencil mark on the temporary fence where the back end of the piece lined up. This way after I was done cutting one leg, I could move it away then move another leg in it’s place and just line it up with the pencil mark. 

  6IMG_0911 I set the legs in place just to make sure I was happy with the way it was looking. 

7 Alright, now to make the top. Again I’m using a CNC but if you don’t have one then just use a stencil and paint. I set the image up in the Inventables software called Easel and told the machine to start carving. It took a little over two hours and I would come through with a shop vac about every 30 mins to suck up the dust. 

8When it was done carving, my image looked like this. : ) Isn’t that neat? It’s a little fuzzy, so I took some sand paper and went over the edges. 

9IMG_0924Ok, now to make it round. I grabbed my compass and made the largest circle I was able to, which turns out to be 10 1/2″. 

10Then I used my bandsaw to cut it out. This isn’t the most accurate way to cut it out, but I was fine with that.

11Next I cut the stretchers that will support the legs. I cut four for the top and four for the bottom. The four near the top are 4″ and 5″ with a 7 degree angle cut on both ends (I used the miter saw for this).

 13I drilled pocket holes in the four legs as well as the four stretchers and started attaching them. I just eyeballed the placement of these, but I made sure to place them so they covered up the majority of the pocket hole in the leg. However, I did make sure I didn’t cover it up completely because I would have to come back later to use it.

Note: At this point the legs are not attached to the stool. Also, I had to use a right angle attachment in my drill to get the fourth stretcher attached. 

14Once the top four were attached, I cut and attached the bottom four, making sure to stagger them slightly so the screws wouldn’t run into each other. These stretchers are 6 1/4″ and 5 1/4″. I did eyeball the placement but they are roughly 1 1/2″ and 2 1/2″ up from the bottom. 

15  The last thing I was did was put on a coat of stain. I decided to use Carrington by Varathane.

I only used one 2×6 to make the stool and since I already had it, I spent nothing on this project. : ) I love that.

If you are into doing craft day/trade day shows, I can see this being a really good addition. You could make several very easily and just change the design to make them marketable to either adults or kids. I’m thinking owls, favorite sports team insignia, a big flower, a wolf howling at the moon….: ) Get creative.

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