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Storage Stool

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This project appeared in our March 3, 2007 Newsletter.

Storage Stool

We have a small 5th wheel camper and storage is always a problem. I thought that if I had a small foot stool to prop my feet on when I watch TV it would also make another place to store stuff. It's a pretty simple design and it gave me the opportunity to use the biscuit cutter I got for Christmas.

Porter-Cable Deluxe Biscuit Joiner, Model No. 557
Porter-Cable Deluxe Biscuit Joiner, Model No. 557

Here's what you'll need:

  • 12' of 6" X 3/4" stock, I used Spruce
  • #10 biscuits
  • Two 1 1/2" hinges
  • Glue
Depending on the number of clamps you have the first step of this project can take a while. There is a lot of gluing and clamping to get all the panels ready to cut and assemble.
It start out my cutting the pieces to length plus about 3", that gives me room for the snipe from my planer when I run them through. I'm really big on machine tools and use my planer to even out the boards after they are glued, but I'm getting ahead of myself.
Here are the dimensions of the stool as a guide.

Overall Dimensions

Trim the edges of the boards with a "Glue Line Rip" blade from Freud. I use that because I don't have a jointer but it works really good.

Freud® LM74R Glue Line Rip Blade
Freud® LM74R Glue Line Rip Blade

After you've cleaned up the edges lay the boards out and match the grain. Make marks, I use chalk, across the edges so that you'll remember what pieces match up. Using a square make a small line across each edge to show where the biscuit joints will go. I made mine about 3 1/2" apart.

Mark the edges

Align they biscuit joiner with the marks and make your cuts.

Biscuit Joiner

Now glue the panels together with biscuits. I used #10 biscuits. Put glue on one half of the biscuit and insert it into the slot. Apply glue all along the edge. Apply glue to the other half of the wood and apply additional glue to the biscuits.

Add Biscuits

Put the pieces together and clamp them. Not only clamp them from the edges but add a couple of pieces of scrap wood across the top and clamp them to help keep the surface flat during the drying.

Clamp Sides and Top

Once all the pieces are dry we'll start cutting them to size.

Before I cut them to size I need to get the surfaces nice and flat. To do this I start out with a scraper to remove any excess glue from the glue lines.

3-Piece Cabinet Scraper Set
3-Piece Cabinet Scraper Set

After all the glue is removed I run the panels through my planer taking off just enough wood to insure that they are smooth and flat.

Cut the panels to width and then using my tablesaw sled, RunnerDuck Project,, I cut all the pieces to length. Setting up a stop-block on the sled makes the job quicker and more accurate.

Mark the locations for the biscuits on the front and back and then transfer those lines to the sides.

Cut the biscuit slots into the ends of the front and back.
Adjust the biscuit joiner to a height that will allow the front and back to align with the sides allowing for a 3/16" setback.

Cut a groove 1/4" up from the bottom of the front and back. The groove should be 1/4" deep and wide enough for a 3/16" piece of plywood. I used my router with a 3/16" bit set 1/4" high.

I put a 1/8" round over bit into my router and radiised the front and back edges of the sides.

Round Over Router Bits
Round Over Router Bits

Cut the legs into the ends leaving 1/4" between the bottom groove and the top of the radius.

Sand everything smooth and do a fit check before gluing. If you are happy with the way things go together apply the glue and clamp.

Apply glue to the biscuit and put it into the slot then spread the glue along the edges. Apply glue to the protruding half of the biscuit and to the matting edge of the wood. Place scrap wood under the clamps and clamp everything in place to dry.

I cut the top 3/4" wider and 1" deeper than the box. In order for the hinges to work correctly they need to be offset a little bit. The following photos show how I did the hinges.

Layout the locations for the hinges. A handy little tool I have is the Incra Precision T-Rules. You just put your pencil tip into the correct hole and drag it along the edge. They are very accurate and really speeds things up.

INCRA Precision T-Rules
INCRA Precision T-Rules

Another little trick I use with brass hinges is to use a small steel screw to start in each of the holes. Then us the brass screws to install the hinge. This reduces the opportunity to deform the head of the screw and burr the edges.

Sand everything smooth and apply what ever stain you like. I really like the General Finishes EF line of stain and finishes. The EF stands for environmentally friendly and the water clean up really makes it nice.

EF Wood Stains
EF Wood Stains

That's about it. We hope you liked this project. If you build it and your friends ask where you got such a clever idea, please tell them that you got it at

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