small step up
Throughout history, there has always been a need to reach extra height, and in more recent centuries, to reach areas/objects around the home. We have all grabbed a chair, and used it to stand on to reach something, or to perform a task. Whether it's to reach that stash of cookies, or to clean a window etc. So obviously, standing on a chair isn't ideal, depending on upon its style, it can be bulkie and heavy. Standing on it can damage seat material, even without shoes, and if the chair has a solid wood seat (Welsh stick etc.), shoes are a good idea to stop you slipping but, your going to dirty the chair. So the obvious thing to do, is to get some sort of a dedicated step up.
Today I see a lot of people with commercial step Ladders, you know the one's, aluminium, when you bang them against something, it scares the birds off, over a mile away. That's not to say there not useful but, the ones I've seen in the past, have been overpriced and look tacky, which may not be the case today. This coupled with my love of all things wood, and the believe that people should be able to build furniture, and accessories for there home, with there own hands, seems only logical (to me) to build a step up.
I think, for me at least, the first thing I think of when I hear "wooden step up" is a shaker step up. This is pretty much where I took the design from. In essence, it's half of the shaker design. I would liked to have made a full shaker step up but, I needed to keep back some of the ash, for a shavehorse attachment, and the extra height isn't needed, although I'm sure sometime in the future, the extra step will be missed.
The step up is a simple functional design, which I believe to be a good piece, for a beginner, or someone transitioning into hand tools, to practice upon. I'm a big believer in making something, that can be used, instead of making a joint then throwing it in the fire pile. Who cares if the joints are gappy and wonky? As long as the piece is functional, and it also marks a starting point, which you can gauge your progress.
The two sides of the step up are dovetailed, which are extremely strong on there own. I have talked and blogged about dovetail strength. I have also constructed tables, and chairs with them. I did however add a supporting back rail, which is going to help save guard, against knocks, drops and anything else it may encounter. Since this is for a friend, and there is no intention (and nor should there be), of the piece being treat like a piece of furniture, just because dovetails are present! The back rail is (in my opinion), going to extend the longevity of the piece. That coupled with the ash, and this thing is rock solid. I'd dare say you could drive a car onto the step. I opted for a half lap with a half dovetail, to fix the rail.
The shoulders on the inside of the rail, butt against the two insides of the sides. This helps to stop racking, and the half dovetail helps to stop the joint pulling out, which in turn, keeps the shoulders in contact with the sides.
Below I've I have attached the video build, some other links, and the plans since I'm learning SketchUp! But of course the build is flexible however, what I will say is that, the taller you want to go, the wider the base must be! Happy building.