Jim's Stool

This article describes a stool I made several years ago.  I originally made it to paint the eves/soffits.  It's turned out to be one of the handiest things I have for home repair chores -- I use it constantly.

I've started to write this article several times, but was stopped by misgivings about it's usefulness to others, so I'll begin by explaining why it may not be as useful to you as it is to me. 

I determined the height such that when standing on it I could easily paint the eves of my house.  Somehow this height has turned out to be ideal for many uses, both sitting and standing on it.  But, I'm almost six feet (I was six feet 20 years ago<sigh>), so the height of the stool won't be right for most people.  One of it's advantages is it's stable, even on the ground.  I'd guess if you're 5' 10" and you add 2" to its height it will still work for standing, but it may be a little high for sitting uses.  Even 2" may be too much, but if you have to add more than 2" I suspect it will begin to tip a little too easily.  If you are more that six feet it should work at least as well as it does for me, maybe even better -- you might consider making it shorter.

See the pictures below to understand this discussion. 

I happened to have a 1" x 12" pine board from some old shelving lying around, so the stool is made from this board, plus pieces (C & D) from a 1" x 6" pine picket I had left over from my fence.

The support piece C is outside the end pieces (B) and flush with the bottom to add a little extra depth for stability.  In use I put this at the back when standing (In spite of the one photos above).  I inset the piece D mid-height and between the end pieces (B) to give more strength if you stand on it "on-end."  D was not part of the stool originally.  I added it thinking I might use the stool on-end, but I don't feel secure using it this way.  I do sit on it this way as illustrated in one of the photos.  The dimensions shown for the height may be confusing.  The end pieces (B) are 14" high, but the top piece (A) rests on the end pieces making the total height 14 3/4".  It's assembled with 3" #8 screws -- two at every joint (Two inch screws would probably do.). 

Tip -- As I mention elsewhere, I've switched entirely to square drive wood screws.    They're much easier to use than Phillips, and I don't know why slot head screws still exist.

I discovered I had to add notches at the bottom of the end pieces (B) for stability on bumpy ground.  Without the notches the stool rocked on bumps under the ends -- the bumps are bridged by the notches. 


I store it upside down in the garage by resting part C on two side-by-side nails in adjacent studs.  The nails are placed as high as I can reach to keep the stool out of the way when not in use.

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