Shaker single-step stool
A quick-to-build classic that's sure to get used
Synopsis: This type of stool came in handy for Shakers who wanted to reach items in their tall standing cabinets, and it will come in handy in your house, too. It features a single step, with a dovetailed leg in front and a combined handle/leg in the back, with a brace underneath. A hole at the top of the handle makes it easy to hang for storage. Construction is simple; the stool is light and easy to grab and go, it can be painted or made in any wood species, and it’s built to last for generations.
The Shakers made the most out of storage space, both with freestanding tall cabinets and floor-to-ceiling built-ins. To reach into the tops of those cabinets required the use of a stool, most commonly found with two or three steps. Single-step stools like this one were not often seen. The stool features a dovetailed leg and step in front, with a brace underneath, and a long handle in back that comes right through the step and serves as the other leg. A hole near the top of the handle makes it easy to carry and hang on a pegboard when not in use.
The combined back leg and handle is the most intricate part of this simple stool, so I tackle that first. I cut it to length, and then I measure up from the bottom and use a tablesaw with a miter gauge to make two stopped cuts across the grain, one from each side. At the top end, I mark 1-1⁄2 in. on either side of center. With a straightedge and pencil, I connect the ends of the two sawcuts with the marks for the 3-in. dimension at the top. At the bandsaw, I cut the long taper, then cut…