I need help fixing a step stool

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I saw a step stool online and decided to build it. I couldn't find any plans, only rough measurments that didn't seem to fit. But it seemed simple enough. Once done, I thought it turned out wellpost-16233-0-34020700-1412373180_thumb.j

The problem came when I tried to stand on it. The concept is that it has no hardware, only dowels. 4 dowels in the top step down through the front legs, and the back legs rotate to a flat spot, holding it in place. What has happened on my ladder is this... The dowels were glued well, but as I stood on it, the pressure on the back legs makes the leg want to keep rotating. As the leg rotates farther it puts pressure on the top step causing this...post-16233-0-13509700-1412373193_thumb.j

I've put screws in the top to hold it down to the front leg. That holds now. But the back legs want to keep rotating over. HELP!

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Thanks for the help guys. I think I fixed it. I just glued a shim onto the bottom of the top step. That kept the back leg from over rotating. It's not a pretty fix, but I've already shown it off, so now it can get the wear and tear. The original concept was to have no hardware. I kind of wanted to stay true to that as much as possible. With the 4 dowels and 4 screws it holds me up and I'm 235 pounds.

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That is a super weak design and is asking for trouble, possibly injury at some point.


Number one problem is that as the leg pivots it is loading the top in compression, trying to push it upwards.  Any bandaids will likely fail with time and use.


The second problem is the short grain around the large dowel which will be loaded in tension when a person is standing on the stool.  Failure here could be sudden and serious.


The way to fix this is with fixed or folding stretchers from the front legs to the rear legs creating a stable triangle as is seen in pretty much every step ladder ever made.


Your design is bad, do not use it the way it is.

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Hi hobbyist welcome to the forum :)

I'm liking all these step stools that are popping up everywhere and yours is no exception, I like your idea and timber selection but I also think the design is a bit weak ..... :( ...... Sorry

1) Your going to have to put in place some sort of a device that connects the front leg to the back leg that basically acts as a stop preventing the legs from opening to far the lower down the legs the better. As was already stated brackets would be perfect but even two lengths of cord at either side of the bottom rails connected to a rail under the bottom step would work. I would have it opening as far as possible without the top of the back leg touching the bottom of the top step.

2) the wedge you put in won't won't work in the long run, although you have spread the load across a wider area of the top step you have increased the load on the pivot point and although your applying downward pressure on the top of the stool, because the top of the leg is wedging itself of the bottom of the top step there is upward pressure on the joint and there just isn't enough material there to support it.

3) your going to have a serious problem with racking, as you have it now eventually the legs will just pop the top of and drop flat on the ground, connecting the front and back legs will go a long way in preventing that but your still going to have a problem with racking ( the left and right movement as the load%2

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Sorry I seem to have run out of space :-/

.... Racking ( the left to right movement as the load is being shifted on top ) to prevent this your going to have to join the front legs with some wide rails under the top and bottom steps. These rails should be as wide as possible 4 inches or more and if you think they look to wide just cut a slight arch into the bottom of each one to soften them up.

Please don't take offense to anything I've said, I don't want to rubbish your project in any way, you put time and effort into it and you should be proud. I hope I haven't turned you of our little forum here or worse from woodworking !!!!! I hope I've helped in some way and please keep us updated to any modifications you have made and thanks very much for your post :)

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