Wilde Got it Wrong (Plus Plans for a Child’s Step Stool)
I wrote the post below in…I’m not sure – 2010 maybe? I was reminded of it last weekend when Laura, a second cousin by marriage (I think I’ve got the relation right), asked if I still had the plans for the stools my grandfather used to make for all the kids in the family. I think it’s her husband who wants to make one for their grandchild.
I made the stool as shown in the original plans (at top) for my niece, Becca (and I’ve made a few for the kids of friends), plus, we adapted those original plans in the PW shop for the I Can Do That Step Stool, with a few tweaks to keep the stretchers more firmly in place for the long term, and a slightly easier to shape arm. It’s a fun and fast project – easy to make into a tradition of your own.
I wish I still had the one my grandfather made for me. Instead, with my now-almost white hair, I seem to have carried on his legacy by turning more and more into him (though I’m still hoping to grow a few inches to get closer to his 6’2″). — MF
In The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde wrote, “All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That’s his.”
But Wilde was wrong; I’m actually turning into my grandfather. Like him, I’ve always been fairly curmudgeonly (just ask my mother!). Like him, I’ve been known to enjoy a drink after work. And now, like him, I consider myself a woodworker.
When my grandfather died a couple years ago, I inherited some of his tools, including his jointer plane (a No. 7) that I cleaned up and use in our shop (you can see it on the November 2009 cover). I also recently inherited a copy of his U-BILD plan for a child’s “Step-Chair” (pattern No. 102). It cost Emmett Fitzpatrick one hard-earned dollar in (I think) 1954, which at the time was a fair amount to his young family. But gosh has that $1 been worth the outlay, at least to my family.
Emmett made that “Step-Chair” for his younger children. Then later, he made one for all of his grandchildren (at least I’m pretty sure that’s right). All told, he used that pattern at least seven times.
And when my aunt Sharon first became a grandmother, her husband, Michael, got a copy of the plan, and made the stool for their granddaughter. Then another one for their second granddaughter.
And now my brother, Ian, has a young daughter; I’m going to Florida late next week, where I’ll meet her for the first time. But first, I have to make a “Step-Chair.”