Sturdy Utility Step Stool: Made From One 2×4.

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My goal with this project wasn’t to just build something from a single 8′ (244cm) 2×4, but to build something useful that could be sold at a high profit margin. People often ask if they can sell the projects they build using my plans. Yes! Selling things you make is a great way to earn some extra income, or even a substantial income. Of course, many hobbyists are content to make enough money to fund their woodworking addiction and buy a few new tools. So if my plans can help a little, go for it! If you would like to set up an online store, check out this week’s sponsor, Volusion for a free 14 day trial.

This is a great project for selling at craft fairs or online. It’s got a real handcrafted feel with the half-lap joints which people aren’t used to seeing elsewhere. There are no screws or nails, and you don’t even have to tell buyers that it only cost you a couple bucks to make! I would estimate this stool would sell for about $25 at a craft fair. Maybe more depending on the fair and how you modify the stool.

Utility stool made from 2x4

Start by cutting down the 2×4 into slightly over-sized pieces. These will be a lot more manageable and easier to rip to width.

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2×4’s always have slightly rounded over edges. Trim these off.

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Rip all the pieces to 1-1/2″ (38mm) square “rods”.

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Cut the 4 upright pieces to their lengths. Cut the ends at 15º using a miter gauge.

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Using a stack of dado blades, I cut notches on the ends of these boards, again at 15º,

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Cut the 15º angled ends on the horizontal pieces. These angles are opposite, pointing into eachother.

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Cut notches on each end, on opposite faces.

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With the dado stack set back to 0º, cut a notch in the middle of the bottom boards for the cross support brace.

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Glue up the two sides with yellow wood glue, interlocking the half-lap joints. Clamp these together and let dry at least an hour.

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Once these are dry, cut a notch in the top edge of each side assembly.

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Resaw the remaining part of the 2×4 into two pieces. You’ll only need one for the top pieces.

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Glue the cross brace in place.

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Tilt the table saw blade to 15º and cut bevels along one edge of two of the top boards.

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Glue these into the ledges (rabbets) on the top edges of the sides.

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Then cut the middle board to fit the space between.

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Drill a 1″ (25mm) diameter finger hole to make carrying easier.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Is there a particular reason you flipped the half lap joint? If you did not flip it I think it might look more symmetrical and not loose strength?

    Tim

  2. Hi Steve, thank you for providing this excellent idea. Monterrey, Nuevo Leon Mexico greets you.

  3. I plan to do this one tomorrow! I expect it to be more difficult than many of my other projects because of the angles involved. Plus my table saw can only cut 2 1/2″ deep so I’ll have to flip the boards over.

  4. I made this Mon&Tue and it was pretty simple but rewarding to make. There were a couple of things in the plans that could have been clearer but I figured it out. The most beneficial thing was that during the build I discovered my tablesaw was out of alignment and thus, the reason others of my projects were coming out with problems!!

  5. Thank you Steve. I built two at the same time. It was fun and a good learning experience doing the half lap joints.

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