Magnetic Joinery Flat-pack Stool





Introduction: Magnetic Joinery Flat-pack Stool

Here is my take on the collapsible step stool. Firstly, I am new to the flat pack design. So new that I only started checking it out when the contest came out. I started looking into it and thought “how did I miss this”? I don’t live near an IKEA and like to buy my furniture on CL or make it. That is my summary of how this all got past me. As my mind started figuring out what it wanted me to do, I made a punch list of what it had to be:

1. 10” tall

2. 12x8” stool top

3. So easy to assemble and disassemble that a 3&5 year old boy and girl(respectivlly) could do it.

4. Be semi eye catching but not too much.

That being said. Cutting the X bottom out was easy-peasier than I expected. The plunged top stool was a little crooked(use a jig next time)but worked none the less. But it didn’t fit the 3 year old criteria yet. Why not try and lock it in place with magnets!!! This is my flash of genius. Counter sink some REM’s in the top, and set some screws in the top of the X for the magnets to lock. So there you have it in a nutshell. I worked on this for about an hour and a half for two days. Call it three hours. Take a look, enjoy, and tell me what you think. Thanks

Step 1: Out With the Old

This pic is of the old step stool I made for the kids when they were 1&3. It worked well to get them up on the counter to do all of their sink stuff. It’s gotten now where they don’t need to sit on the counter. They just need a little boost to get them up to spittin height.

Step 2: Tools and Materials

The list of tools is very basic.

Table Saw Plunge router Square Tape measurer Sand Paper Varnish Drill Gorilla Glue(for the magnets only) Parts 4 screws 4 magnets 2-12x12 pieces of ½” plywood 1-12x8 piece of ¾” plywood

Step 3: Slicing and Dicing

For the beginning layout rip down the plywood to desired size.

On the top I left a 1” overhang for looks. When all of the bottom pieces are cut to size. Lean the table swa blade over to 40 degrees. Mark out the middle of the board. Make a mark ¼” over half way to stop cutting. Run the piece into the board until you reach the stop mark. Move the fence over in 1/8” increments left and right. Keeep going and checking with the other half inch piece until the gap is enough to get your other piece thru. Repeat. Do the movements in small increments to make sure that you have a pretty tight fit but not so tight that it splinters the plywood.

Step 4: Taking the Plunge

For the plunging I borrowed a really nice plunge router with a ½” bit. I layed out the desired lines and went onwith my business. Setting the depth to 3/8”. Then I stepped it down a 1/16” allow for my magnets.

Step 5: Magnetic Joinery

For this to work out I did a little mark transposing from my plunge to the boards. The layout was not the best in the world so I would suggest that If you try this to do a little better layout work than “looks pretty dang close”.

The screws are countersunk to come out flush. The magnets are held in place with a little gorilla glue. Put something heavy on the magnets because gorilla glue expands and will mess you up!

Step 6: Voila

Well I hope that this has been an enlightening thing.

I looked up the beginnings of flat pack furniture. It kinda started with a guy who wanted to travel with a table that wouldn’t fit in his car. So he made it easily pack up. He went to work and showed it off. It was 1956, his name was Gillis Lundgren. He worked at IKEA.

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    11 Discussions

    I enjoy the warning about Gorilla Glue, because some glues create difficulties that are difficult to cleanup afterward.

    As I am an old coot who ended up hospitalized when the stool collapsed when I stood on it a BIG question is safety. How much weight can it bear? Are those magnets strong enough to hold when stood upon? I do want to add your design is really nice, and this ible' is clear, and understanable so a BIG thanks for that.

    Love it, will never make it, but i love simple designs with some engineering in it, like the magnets.thanks for sharing

    Great application for the flat-pack contest - being able to condense it when not in use is a huge benefit (same with your original stool). I love the use of the magnets. As simple as this is I believe it is a contender for the contest. It's also a contender for a new product perhaps. Brilliant.

    If you are going for the gold.. In the video you have to look underneath to align it with the magnets. I would either make a new video or add a comment that this is not an issue. Still, if you kids are going to set it up you'd want to be sure the top isn't offset and unstable..

    If it is an issue consider some type of ridge/guide so it would be easier to align the top -- BUT not at the cost of increasing the width when packed away. I'd also try to avoid the need for a new power-tool or even Forstner bits, if possible. Keep it as simple, elegant and therefore brilliant as possible.

    Great Ible, especially for this contest.

    1 reply

    thanks for the comment. I actually did take multiple videos with some way less awkward. But I used this one because, even putting together blind, it took about ten seconds. My kids like to lay the top on the floor upside down then the X. The guide idea is probably a little overkill. Only because it's super simple already. Tha I just bought some magnets from this web site. The price? Way cheaper. Just need to wait. Cool project dalegribble. I just give me more ideas about what can I do with my magnets.


    2 years ago

    Love it! What are REM's for those of us who are just starting out with first jigsaw? Explain more how/what magnets you use to make them "stick" sufficiently.

    2 replies

    my bad on not being specific. They are Rare Earth Magnets. They are crazy strong and are metallic colored as apposed to normal flat black magnets. They are attracted to the coarse threaded screws in the X boards. I will update the ible soon. Thanks for bringing this up

    Yes. Neodymium magnets are reasonable on eBay, if you can wait for shipping from Asia.

    Awesome! The magnets are a great idea, I'll have to keep that in mind!

    I wish I had the tools to be able to build one... :)

    Nicely done! Being able to fold flat makes it so convenient!