Use a jigsaw to create this simple stool, and “dress it up” with a round-over router bit. Round-over bits have a way of making jigsaw cuts look smoother, straight cuts look straighter, cheap wood look classier and paint jobs look better. Round-over bits also make wood furniture more comfortable to sit on and touch.
By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine
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A full day
Less than $20
Two size options
You want simplicity and economy? These stools are designed so you can create eight of the short ones or four of the tall ones (or combinations thereof) from a single sheet of plywood. Here we’ll show you how to build the short version; the taller stool is a couple inches wider, but employs the same concept to build.
Plywood laouts and assembly diagram
Use these diagrams to cut and assemble your jigsaw stools.
Step 1: Lay out the legs and top
Rip the plywood into 18-in. and 6-in. strips. Draw ‘crosshairs’ on the larger piece, drive a screw in the center, hook your tape over it, then with a pencil snugged against the 7-in. mark, draw the circle. Cut four support blocks from the narrow piece.
Rip a 24 x 24-in. piece of plywood into 18-in. and 6-in. strips, then draw ‘crosshairs’ (Photo 1) to locate the center of the larger board. Drive a drywall screw in the center and use that as a pivot point for swinging a 7-in.-radius circle. Draw lines 3/8 in. away from the crosshairs on each side (Figure A) to create 3/4-in.-thick layout marks for cutting the interlocking notches and installing the leg brace blocks later on.
Step 2: Cut out the parts and rout the edges
Use the jigsaw and router
Use a jigsaw to cut out the parts (see Figure A), then use a router with a 1/4-in. round-over bit to ease the edges as shown.
Drill a 1/2-in. pilot hole in the lower notch as shown in Figure A, then insert a fine-tooth jigsaw blade and cut out the round top. Use your jigsaw to cut out the legs and the 3/4-in. x 2-1/2-in. notches for interlocking the legs. Use a router with a 1/4-in. round-over bit to soften both sides of the top and legs except for those edges along the tops of the two legs (Photo 2). If you don’t have a router, ease the sharp edges with sandpaper. Cut the triangular blocks from the 6-in.-wide cutoff (Photo 1) and secure two of them to the underside of the top disc with glue and 1-1/4-in. all-purpose screws.
Step 3: Assemble the stool
Put it all together
Screw two triangular blocks where the top layout marks intersect (kitty corner from each other), then secure the legs using 2-in. screws. Install the other two blocks, then apply a finish.
Slip the legs into place as shown in Photo 3, then secure them to the blocks using 2-in. screws. Add the other two triangular blocks and apply a finish of your choice. We applied sanding sealer, a dark stain and then a coat of polyurethane.