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


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.


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


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


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,


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.


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




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


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


Glue the cross brace in place.



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


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


Then cut the middle board to fit the space between.


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


Free Plans



  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?


  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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