Building and Finishing a Step Stool – Part 3 with a GREAT OFFER

This is the design I put on my stool to make it extra special. I used a stencil from Muddaritaville which was provided to me at no cost, in exchange for trying it out and blogging about it. Their stencils are cut from 10 mil mylar and are strong and completely reusable. (I was NOT told what to say about the product, all results and opinions are my own) 
This is what I started with, and blogged about in my two previous posts:
I made this stool from pine, but you could use an old stool and use the same finishing techniques as I did.  Because mine was raw wood, first it was stained.  If your stool already has something on it you may not need the stain undercoat.  After staining it was painted with white milk paint. 
The bottom step looked to me like it needed something extra.  That is where the stencil came in. 
I taped the stencil on each side and then used a small stencil brush and black craft paint to fill in the cut out areas.
Normally, I hand paint designs on furniture and signs, but I thought it would be nice to try a stencil for a change.  I’m sure if I had hand painted it would have taken me well over an hour to trace the pattern and then paint it.  With this stencil, it took me only a couple of minutes!
Did you know that stencils are cut with bridging? These are the small areas that hold the pieces together that would otherwise fall out without the extra “bridges.”  You can see bridging here below in the “P” and also in the “a” of the word Paris:
Below you can see where I have filled in the bridges with a small brush:
Many people do not realize that the bridges are meant to be filled in, and don’t paint in the bridged area.  I suppose some people leave them unpainted by choice, but I’ve seen stencilled work where it is obvious that the letter or design should be painted where the bridging was.
After the painting I lightly sanded over the whole stencilled area:

 Here is the whole bottom step, so much nicer with the stencil, and so easy to use:

 I hand waxed the stool after sanding.

 Although this stool is new, it looks like it has been around for a long time, don’t you think?

As I said, I got my stencil from Muddaritaville. Muddaritaville has many stencils you can use on furniture or to make signs with. Please go to their website to see them all.

Muddaritaville is offering you a 20% discount on any stencil purchases totalling $25 or more, for being a reader of my blog.  You will need to go to the Muddaritaville website and use the coupon code “fyh” at the checkout.
I hope some of you take this opportunity to get a beautiful stencil to use in your creations.  Please share the results with me, which I will post at my blog.

Building and Finishing a Step Stool – Part 2

In my previous post I showed how I made two step stools and now I’ll show how I finished them.

As I said in that post, I had a buyer that wanted a stained step stool. Her preference was for a dark stain, so I used a Minwax Gel Stain. It’s easy to use, just rub all over the stool (I do sections at a time) and then wipe off any extra.  I find it a bit messy and need to use rubber gloves, but you really can’t go wrong.

You need to let this dry at least one day, or the stain will come off when you clear coat it.  I used four or five coats of wipe-on polyurethane.

Here’s the first step stool:

I made two stools and decided to use white milk paint on the second stool. So, I stained the stool with the same stain as the first one.  Once that was dry, I painted it with the milk paint and then distressed it. Since the pine is a light coloured wood, staining as an undercoat allows a darker wood to show through the distressed areas.

 Here’s a close up of the same photo:

Now I find this to really need something extra, don’t you?

In my next post I will show you how I made this stool look a little better using something I have never used before.

I also will have a special deal just for you, my readers… stay tuned!

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Building and Finishing a Step Stool – Part 1

I have been making a LOT of signs recently, but also have requests for furniture, which I enjoy making.  I had a customer ask if I could make a pine step stool for a visiting granddaughter.
Being a woodworker with tools to make furniture from scratch means that I can make parts to any size from rough wood.  I also am able to design pieces, so that I don’t need to buy plans.
The first thing I do with a request like this is to ask what the buyer had in mind, what size, what style, and what finish. Then I go online and search for samples and we narrow it down to a preferred piece, using a photo as inspiration.
So, we will need five pieces:
                 two sides, a brace, a step, and a top

This is the (right) side piece, with the two holes drilled on the inner face, for the brace.  The holes do not go through to the outside, this way no screws are used and therefore no screws show in the finished stool:

This is the back brace, which sits between the sides.  I glued two dowels on each end which will fit into holes drilled into the side pieces:
This is the step piece, for the bottom step.  It has holes drilled right through for four dowels, two on each side:
The top is the same size as the step piece and has the same holes drilled through.  This buyer wanted a handle cut into the top which I did with my drill press and jigsaw.  You can see how I did this here, when I made my storage boxes.
Now we have all the pieces, and we can assemble the stool.
The following photo shows the brace fitted against the inner (left) side piece.  The end of the brace and the dowels are glued to the side piece:

I use a long clamp to hold the brace in place while the glue dries on both sides:

Then I sit the top and step pieces on the sides and (after centering them there) I mark where holes need to be drilled in the top of the side pieces:

 The holes take dowels that are glued level with the top and step pieces and right into the sides:

In my next blog post I will show how I finished the first step stool.  Oh, I suppose I never said, but I made two of them. I often do this because then I can sell the one I was commissioned to make and keep one to sell later.

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Pallet Tables

I am so behind in my blogging, I will have to just do some quick posts to try to catch up…

I made two tables last year, completely out of pallet wood.

I even had some 2 x 2s with my pallets.  Those I cut in two to make the length of the legs (about 19″ long”) so there was no wastage. The construction is basic and you can see it here:

and here is a close up:

I don’t nail or screw down the tops because they can change widths with changes in humidity, so I use Z clips that insert into a groove in the apron of the table.  This allows the top to expand and contract as the clips move in and out a bit while still in the groove.
One of my tables was painted with a dry brush technique using turquoise paint on the legs and aprons and white solid paint on the top:
For the second second table I used a technique I had not tried before but found Becky using for some of the creations at her blog Beyond the Picket Fence (thanks Becky!)  First the top was painted in turquoise and then after it dried I sanded it smooth so that the turquoise paint was still in the crevices of the rough pallet wood.  Then I wiped stain over the painted top and wiped off the extra.  Also, I stained the legs and apron.
Here’s a close up of the top with my little model:
The top is 18″ x 18″ and the table is 20″ high:
I’ve used a lot of pallet wood in my creations, it’s hard to believe so many people just throw it away!
Homespun Happenings
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Making a Side Table my Own Way – Part 4 – Compass Table

Since the set up for making something from scratch is so much work, from planing the wood to setting the mitre saw on an angle to setting the router for cutting a groove.. why not make more than one table?

Besides, I had the extra legs.

I decided to make a compass table top for my second round table:

My first round table had a clock face, you can see it here  

There are so many bloggers with good ideas and I was inspired by Beth at the blog Make Me Pretty Again who made this great table:

Inspiration photo from Make Me Pretty Again

Here’s another great table with a compass on top… I love the map drawer.  It’s from Nan at the blog sea rose cottage

I made my own circular top by gluing together pieces of scrap pine.  If you make the edges nice and even, you can easily glue pieces side by side, there is no need for screws and ugly screw holes like you get with pocket screws.  Using good quality clamps helps:

I really enjoy making circles with my router.  You can really make any size and I explained how I did it in an earlier post when making my clock face here

The rest of the triangular table build was explained in Part 1 and Part 2 a few days ago.

For this table I painted the legs, base and top with Chalk Paint in the colour “Provence.”  I really wasn’t sure if I could use basic acrylic craft paint over the chalk paint so I emailed Tricia, a blogger at The Purple Painted Lady  who sells Annie Sloan chalk paint. I did not know Tricia, but sent her an email and asked her opinion and she was kind enough to quickly reply that it would be okay to paint over the chalk paint.  She added to wax after adding the craft paint.  It’s so nice to have bloggers helping others like that, thanks Tricia!

I looked online to see how compasses were drawn and using my math skills and a protractor, came up with a design similar to Beths but different. I drew it on with pencil and then painted it by hand.

I sanded the top just a little to distress it and make it appear a bit older and then waxed it all.

Thanks again to Beth, Nan and Tricia and all the bloggers out there that share their ideas and techniques with others.

For this post I was featured at:
Primitive and Proper Beyond The Picket Fence

Sharing at the following blogs:

Miss Mustard Seed                                My Repurposed Life
Brambleberry Cottage                            Shabby Art Boutique
Too Much Time on my Hands                  Funky Junk Interiors
Under the Table and Dreaming                Between Naps on the Porch
Coastal Charm                                       Knick of Time Interiors
Cowgirl Up                                            Elizabeth & Co.    
Savvy Southern Style                             Beyond the Picket Fence
Be Colorful                                            Primitive & Proper
House of Hepworths                              No Minimalist Here
aka design                                              Jennifer Rizzo

Making a Side Table my Own Way – Part 3 – Clock Table

Please check out Part 1 and Part 2 of this series to see how I designed and made this table.

After the table was stained, I first put vaseline in spots on the table base and legs as I describe in this post.
Then I painted with white paint on top, in a bit of a rough way, not being concerned about covering every bit of wood.  The vaseline stops the paint from getting through to the wood.  Once the paint is dry, I just rub away the vaseline and the stain shows in those parts.

Here is the underside of the table with the Z clips that I often use.  These clips are essential to allow for wood movement in the top (the clock part).  I wrote more about that here.

Here’s another view of the finished clock table:

Now, you didn’t think I’d only make just one triangular base did you?  I made another quite different table with the same base, I’ll post about it soon.

For this project:

Sharing at the following blogs:
My Repurposed Life                        Miss Mustard Seed
Between Naps on the Porch             Primitive and Proper
Coastal Charm                                Brambleberry Cottage
Cedar Hill Ranch                             Very Merry Vintage Style
Knick of Time Interiors                     Savvy Southern Style
Elizabeth & Co.                               Faded Charm Cottage
Beyond the Picket Fence                 No Minimalist Here
House of Hepworths                        aka design
Common Ground                             Jennifer Rizzo
Shabby Art Boutique                       Too Much Time on my Hands
Funky Junk Interiors                        Under the Table and Dreaming

Making a Side Table my Own Way – Part 2

You can read part 1 in my previous post here

I’m trying to make a triangular table base with 3 legs and a circular top.

Okay, to make the base, I cut the apron pieces out of pine at 60 degrees:

The ends are such that one end overlaps the one beside it, which I’m really not sure how to explain other than that and each end is different, with one going past the adjacent piece.  Perhaps the photo will show it:

In order to have the legs show their “rolls”

 I will cut a groove in each apron piece at a point which will allow the leg to show itself below the apron. So the groove already in the top of the leg will line up with the bottom of the apron.

Inside the groove will sit triangular pieces of plywood that the legs will be screwed into:

This is the bottom of the apron, so, each leg will sit on the triangle and that allows more of the leg to show than if it sat directly on the bottom of the table top.

I’m hoping this hasn’t caused some of you to stop reading, this is unconventional but please stick with me!

Here’s the apron upright, you can also see the grooves put in to hold the Z clips that I use to attach the table top:

Everything was glued together, not so easy to do, because of the angles, but the plywood triangles were a tight fit and they helped hold things together. I also used a few finishing nails at each vertex.

The legs were then screwed in to the plywood triangles and I put a quick coat of stain (using my steel wool and vinegar mix as I did here) over the whole base:

I’ll show the finished table in my next post!

Making a Side Table my Own Way – Part 1

Many years ago I went to an auction and bought some 14″ tall wooden legs.  I think I have 14 of them, which is an odd number, but anyway, this is what they look like:

Now, the problem with these legs is that they are round at the top, not square. Most legs have a square section at the top to which one could attach flat boards to be the apron, or skirt.  So, for me to make a side table I cannot just nail or screw these legs to a flat apron.  PLUS, the fancy rolls at the top would get covered by a traditional apron because they are so near to the top.


Q:  How to put four round pegs in a square hole?

A:  Who says it has to be square?

I decided to make the table a three legged table with a triangular apron.  Let’s add more geometric shapes to the mix, eh?

Now, on top of all that confusion, I had this 20″ clock sign that I made and had always wanted to be a table top…

So, if you are still with me, I’m going to have a round table top on a triangular base with 3 legs!

Here’s what I planned out:

Still, the problem exists of how to attach the legs to the side aprons and also how to allow the top two “rolls” part of the leg to show?

How WILL she do it?

Stay tuned for part 2, hopefully tomorrow if I don’t get side-tracked…