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Most projects start with a need. This project? It started as a challenge.

A challenge issued last year (2017) by the Modern Maker Podcast to build something (anything) out of two 2x4s. I really enjoyed the constraint, and thought for a bit before coming up with the design for this stool. I refined the design in Fusion 360 before heading out to the shop to get building. The end result was a modern looking stool, built from construction grade lumber.

No metal, only glue: I wanted to build this stool without any metal fasteners at all, so I used a few different types of joinery and it is put together with only wood glue.

Read the last step before building! After building this stool, I have some changes I'd make related to the angle of the legs and height if I build another one. The measurements and angles I present below are the original design the photos and video show. However, check out the final step for info on the revised design that I want to build, but have not yet built.

Step 1: Materials, Tools, Jigs and Template

Picture of Materials, Tools, Jigs and Template


  • (2) 2x4x8' boards (1 1/2" x 3 1/2" actual dimension)
    • If you don't have a band saw, pick up an extra 2x4 so you can cut the strips for the foot rest on the tablesaw instead. If you want to select the best grain, you may also want more than just two 2x4s to pick from.

  • (3) 3/8"x1 1/2" Dowels
  • (2) 3/4"x17"x17" Scrap Plywood (to make the footrest clamping form)
  • A couple small scrap pieces of wood and 1/4" sheet scrap (For apron mortise jig in Step 9)
  • Wood Glue, I used Titebond II
  • Wood Glue with longer working time for footrest, I used Titebond III
  • Paper or Cardboard (for the seat template)
  • Towel (won't get damaged)
  • Black Trash Bag


As with most woodworking projects, there are several ways to accomplish a task. I'll list the tools I used and a couple suggestions on alternatives, but feel free to use your creativity to build this with the tools you own.

  • Table saw
  • Band saw or Jig Saw
  • Drum Sander or Thickness Planer (I used the planer, but the drum sander would have worked better)
  • Sanders and Sand Paper
  • Drill Press with Sanding Drums (Optional)
  • Router
    • straight bit with guide bearing on the side nearest the router.
    • round over bit
    • chamfer bit
  • Miter Gauge for Table Saw
  • Card Scraper (Optional)
  • Chisel and Mallet
  • Knife
  • Drill and 3/8" Drill Bit
  • 3/8" Dowel Center
  • Measuring tools (Rulers, Calipers)
  • Clamps


Template and Measurements

  • Use the attached PDF as a reference for the parts and sizes.
  • The PDF also includes a template for the seat you can print.
kmccullough312 months ago

I love your design! Your write up is excellent.

I see you did this in Fusion 360. Is it possible to get that file for me to work with? I want to do a modification to add a pneumatic height adjustment. I think I would have to shorten the legs by at least 5 inches and that would throw off some other dimension. Of course I could try and duplicate it from scratch if need be. Thanks

dnhandcrafted (author)  kmccullough311 months ago
Thank you for the kind words! So sorry I kept forgetting to respond!! I’ll try to prep the file for sharing this week and DM it to you. That pneumatic additional sounds interesting!
SteelLegJ1 year ago

congrats on the grand the grand prize

dnhandcrafted (author)  SteelLegJ1 year ago

Thank you! Congrats on your win as well! It is crazy that you made that ship out of duct tape! Well done!

Hi, Doug, great Instructable. And you're right. Having the right tools to do the job is paramount. Your workmanship is exceptional. Loved the final outdoor picture with the barn in the background.


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dnhandcrafted (author)  Kink Jarfold1 year ago
Thanks again for the kind words. That barn is on our property, but I haven’t been able to fix it up much yet. The loft is something like 21’ floor to the top... very cool!

Glad you won on this build. Again, that picture had to have something to do with it.


dnhandcrafted (author)  Kink Jarfold1 year ago
Thanks for the support! I wish I could photograph all my projects against that sky, grass and barn combo! But then they’d all be the same I guess.
kapetgian1 year ago


dnhandcrafted (author)  kapetgian1 year ago

Thank you!

dokp1 year ago

Where is your barn? I looks just like ours in Northeast Nebraska..

dnhandcrafted (author)  dokp1 year ago

Good eye! Southwest Iowa, about an hour east of Council Bluffs. So in your neck in the woods – crazy you could recognize the style like that!

BillR1001 year ago

To ensure the stool isn't tippy, draw a circle the size of the seat. inscribe an equilateral triangle around the outside of this circle. The points of the triangle will locate the feet of the legs.

dnhandcrafted (author)  BillR1001 year ago

Thanks for this tip. I'll have to check the dimensions of the adjusted stool against this criteria and see how it comes out. Thanks!

Dr Pap1 year ago

Have you made an evaluation rubric for this porject. I am proposing that MICHIGAN INDUSTRIAL & TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION SOCIETY Members create a student competition among the high school and middle schools in Michigan to be part of the MITES Student Competition & Teacher Professional Development Convention that will be held at Shanty Creek near Traverse City, MI in early May 2019. I feel the 2x4 stool project will be an excellent design and buildingt project for our students. Should you ave a rubric or established a judging criterium and might be willing to share it, please email it to me at

Keenerone1 year ago


dnhandcrafted (author)  Keenerone1 year ago

Hey! I don't have plans prepared for sale. But check your Instructables inbox for a code for a free 3-month premium membership, then you can at least download the PDF.

Great design and Instructable. Great glory shot with a good looking Iowa barn as well!

dnhandcrafted (author)  stevemoseley1 year ago

Thank you Steve! Those Iowa barns are nice :) Some day I might fix it up! It has a good roof on it, so that buys me some time.

Great idea and very well executed. Thank you for sharing!

dnhandcrafted (author)  RFreeman19571 year ago
Sure thing! Thanks for the comment!

This stool and those pictures of the stool are very epic :D

Thanks Penelopy! I was so happy with how both the stool and especially the photos turned out!
Rock Guy1 year ago

Beautiful design, and great photos. How comfortable is the tri-angular seat?

dnhandcrafted (author)  Rock Guy1 year ago
Thanks! Great question. I brought it with me to an event and the folks that sat on it said it was comfortable. It really has two sitting positions (and this is why they height really mattered). You can sit back into the curve when you are half sitting/leaning on the stool, or you can sit on it like a bicycle seat. This is the more comfortable of the two. When doing that, I have my feet on the foot rest. Since it’s in the shop (and currently has wood on it!) I’ve not sat on it for extended periods of time. But when sitting like a bicycle it fits better than a normal round stool since you can sit with more of your read supported without cutting off circulation to your legs.
RobDeVoer1 year ago

Great craftsmanship! Love the design of the chair and was very helpful to get such a detailed overview of the process to make it. Thanks!!

dnhandcrafted (author)  RobDeVoer1 year ago
Thanks Rob! And you’re welcome. I’m glad you liked the detail.

Great Job!

dnhandcrafted (author)  bfrederick21 year ago
Thanks! It was a fun build. A splayed leg hand cut joint designed for a table or stool, fast simple strong and stable

dnhandcrafted (author)  James NairnM1 year ago
Thanks for sharing! That combined with the ring on the legs would definetley hold - and it looks easier to pull off too.
JimG1631 year ago
They're 4x2s ;). Pronounced fourbie two.

I thought the convention was to put the smaller number first, so 2-by-4, 2-by-6, 4-by-10, etc.

dnhandcrafted (author)  MartyJ11 year ago
I’ve heard thickness, width, length. So that still fits. Thickness is 2, width is 4, 6, 8, etc.
dnhandcrafted (author)  JimG1631 year ago
Haha! Good to know. Is that regional or are Americans the only ones who say 2x4?

2x4's here in little ol' Britain too. Great job on the stool, inspiring design.

dnhandcrafted (author)  wquoyle1 year ago
Thank you!

:) I'm Canadian, and they're 2x4's here too. I'd never heard of four-be-twos. Seems to be an Aussie thing. It's got a ring to it.

dnhandcrafted (author)  Cb1234678851 year ago
Ha! That is what I was thinking too.

Nope. Canadian and they are 2x4's as well. Up here 4x2's are 2 wheel drive cars. :)

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