Footstool (as birthday present)

One of my roommates had a birthday recently, and when I thought about gifts it ocurred to me that she reclined in her family’s old armchair pretty often.  She’d told us a story of how it had once had a matching footstool, but nobody in the family could seem to remember what happened to it, so I decided to make her one.  Full of figuring and learning the lathe (yay!), this project brought some challenges, but was an overall good learning experience.



Joinery of the inner hidden box-shelf

I designed it so that there’d be a hidden shelf inside the main body of the footstool, held up by pegs.  Once you released those pegs, the shelf would drop and hang out of the body, letting you store whatever goodies you wanted kept secret.  Then you’d simply raise the shelf again and re-insert the pegs.

The secret inner shelf

Since making the stool, and even during the process, I thought about using drawer runners and other things that would help give smoother, more even movement and locking, instead of the quick drop that happens now once the pegs are removed.  Alas, food for thought on future projects.

4 matched legs

What was really fun, though, was learning the lathe for this.  I’d asked to learn it early in the semester anyway, jumping on an opportunity to add a new tool to my repertoire, especially if I continue on in the furniture route, and was pleased to discover that it is very fun, and pretty simple once you get a feel for it.  Now I just need practice :) .

Leg mortises

The joinery was pretty simple, just tenons into the legs and the inner box has pegs that fit into groove inside the outer box, the grooves stopped near the bottom so it doesn’t drop out.  The seat is removable (another note for future projects: research upholstery before doing it!)


One of the things I’m probably the most proud of, though, is that all of the sides are made from old 2×4 pieces.  I had a bunch of scrap pieces around 2 feet long laying around so I squared them up, ripped them in half and laminated 3 together to get the 8 panels I needed for this thing.  Yay for re-using materials!

Recycled lumber

Lastly, as I’ve done in the past, I wrote an Instructable on the making of this piece.  They’ve got a furniture contest going on right now, so I submitted my piece.  I got award another Pro membership (seems to be the norm, I’ve gotten one for the last 2 things I’ve submitted too) and this got on the front page of the site.

The Finished Footstool

I tried to make this one approachable (moreso than the photomanipulation one, for example) by splitting it into “If you know” and “if you don’t know” categories, addressing each step in simplified terms for experienced makers, and then in more detail for those who needed some more detailed explanations.  My only complaint is that you can’t organize Instructables into a more straightforward step-by-step way, using images inline with the text so that you can outline steps and then show the images of those steps right there in the body of the text, similar to the Make Projects site.  It’s closer to the way I think through a project, so it would be more helpful laid out in that way, instead of having to read a chunk of text, scroll back up to its corresponding image(s), decipher what’s what, and then find your place in the reading below again.

It was a fun project, got a great response, and certainly taught me some new things.  The rest of this semester in terms of woodworking, I’m going to make some simpler things, and learn how to take care of tools and cultivate good work ethics and habits.  Plus, I’ve got all those other classes….

Tools of refinement