3-in-1 Nesting Stools




Introduction: 3-in-1 Nesting Stools

I run FixThisBuildThat.com where we focus on Woodworking and DIY Projects, Plans and Tools. Come c…

In this Instructable (or shall I call it an Instructa-stool) I'll show you how to build this nesting stool which serves 3 functions in 1 footprint. There is a large stool at 19" and a smaller stool that nests inside it at two positions that is 9". Hope you enjoy the project!

Be sure to watch the video above, and if you like it please subscribe to my YouTube channel!

You can also see a more detailed blog post where a detailed easy to follow plan is available at:


Step 1: Gather Materials and Tools

Here are the tools and materials I used for this project. I've provided affiliate links for your convenience.

Tools Used


Step 2: Build the Tops for the Stools

I like to start with the tops for my projects first. This let's them dry before they are needed at the end.

I used cherry for this project and I cut the boards down for the tops of both the large and small stool. I cut them to size then glue them together and clamped them up.

Step 3: Make the Sides for the Stools

The stools have an A-frame side on each one. The splay on the legs is 5 degrees on the front and back.

I cut the legs to length with 5 degree miters on each end. Then I cut the top and bottom rails of the sides to size.

I left the bottom rail 1-1/2" off the bottom of the feet for a nice reveal on both stools.

I didn't join anything yet as I needed to make the nesting features.

Step 4: Cut the Nesting Joinery on the Lower Rails

I started by cutting two notches in each of the lower rails for the large stool. These will hold the base stretchers that hold the stool together.

After cutting these notches on the table saw I transferred the location of the holes to the small stool lower rails and cut these out on the table saw as well. I cut them slightly larger so they could easily slip over the base stretches on the large stool.

Finally I cut a large notch in the center of the small stool lower rail for the single lower stretcher that will hold the small stool together.

Step 5: Make Joinery and Glue Up Sides

With the notches in the lower rails complete I assembled the sides. I used dowel joinery for this to hide any fasteners.

I started by clamping each side in place then marked the joints for the dowels. Each joint gets two 3/8" dowels.

I glued up the joints then clamped them together on the small and large stools.

Step 6: Finish Assembly of the Stools

After the sides were dry I joined them together with some upper aprons.

I used dowel joinery on the small stool and pocket hole joinery on the large stool.

I also attached the base stretchers into the notches I cut out earlier. The stretchers were attached with countersunk screws into the lower rails.

Step 7: Trim Top and Apply Finish

I took the tops out of the clamps and trimmed them to size. I also put a small bevel on the sides of the large top.

Once all parts were dry I sanded everything to 220 grit and removed all the dust.

Then I applied 5 coats of wiping varnish to the stools for protection.

Step 8: Install the Tops

I installed the tops using figure 8 fasteners. They get recessed into the base then the base is flipped over and screwed onto the tops.

These stools came out awesome and I'm really happy with the nesting feature.

If you like it and want to see more, please subscribe to my YouTube channel!

You can also see a more detailed blog post where a detailed easy to follow plan is available at:


Epilog Challenge 9

Participated in the
Epilog Challenge 9

Be the First to Share


    • Frozen Treats Speed Challenge

      Frozen Treats Speed Challenge
    • Make It Modular: Student Design Challenge

      Make It Modular: Student Design Challenge
    • Go Big Challenge

      Go Big Challenge



    4 years ago

    Beautiful take on the old pipe and vinyl step stool of the '50's.

    Looking at your idea and thinking of something that I am looking for I have a suggestion - what about setting this stool up so that the lower short part can be picked up to mate to the top of the stool, creating a bar stool height combo? That way anyone who needs a counter height work stool, perhaps if like me you are standing for three hours brewing or distilling, and could use a brief sit down while still being at working height.

    Not being a wood worker I am not sure how to do this but imagine that pocket holes into which you place the smaller parts legs might work. Just a thought. Again really nice work,


    4 years ago on Step 8

    Nice to see someone attaching table tops correctly. Fastener link


    4 years ago