Stephen's Step Stool: Part III

When I removed the sides from their glue up, I found that the left side had cupped slightly.

I took all of the unassembled pieces, both cupped and flat, and sanded them to 220. This may have been overkill as I still hand plenty of post assembly sanding to go, but I wanted to make sure that I didn't have to do any initial smoothing after the stool was assembled.

I pre-routed the edges I wouldn't be able to reach after assembly.

When the pieces were sanded, I marked out the edges I wouldn't be able to reach with a router after assembly and rounded them over with a ¼” radius round over bit. I was careful to keep well away from the joinery. This meant that there would still be rounding and smoothing to do by hand after assembly. That’s the price of ensuring that the joinery wasn't damaged and that rounded edges on the assembled pieces flowed together properly.

Unfortunately I only had time for sanding and I wasn't able to assemble the stool. The pieces spent one more night stickered.

By the time I was ready for assembly, this side had cupped severely.

The following day, when I finally did get to assembly, I found a wicked cup in the left side. After thinking about it for a few minutes I dug out my Woodpecker Aluminum Camping Cauls and used two (2) to force the left side close to flat.

The cauls forced it into almost flat.

Close to flat wasn't exactly flat and the boards hadn't been exactly flat when I dovetailed them either. This resulted in the assembly of the dovetails requiring a little quick paring and some additional persuading with a large rubber mallet. I used Tightbond III in the dovetails for its open time and clamped them up overnight.

All glued up.


In the morning, the tear out from the last minute tail adjustment was obvious.

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