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Build It | How to Build a Milk Stool

General contractor Tom Silva shows how to take reclaimed lumber and turn it into a charming milk stool for children or decor.

General contractor Tom Silva and host Kevin O’Connor meet back at the shop for a unique project. Tom has some reclaimed lumber on hand that he plans to turn into a milking stool.

How to Build a Milk Stool

milk stool Anthony Tieuli

What you need for this project:

This project requires two slabs of wood, approximately 20 by 24 by around 3 inches thick, whether reclaimed chunks or pieces of construction lumber glued together. It’s possible to cut old beams into slabs and glue them together or purchase whole pieces of wood made from hemlock, pine, or other species from lumberyards.

Note: Whenever removing parts from the lockset or the door, place them in a small container. These parts can be easy to lose and expensive to replace.


  1. Pass the slabs of wood through the planer until the surface is flat. If a slab wobbles, hold it against the table’s surface and glue a straight piece of wood to one edge until the board is stable, and then pass it through the planer. This will result in a perfectly flat, even edge. Turn the slabs over and pass them through the planer until they reach the desired thickness (about 2 inches).
  2. Create a jig from a strip of thin plywood. Drill a hole to the same diameter as the router’s template collar, measure exactly 6-inches from the inside of the hole to the middle of the plywood, and drill a small hole. You’ll use this to cut the seat.
  3. Place the small hole of the template in the middle of one of the slabs and drive a small screw to act as an anchor. Make several passes around the slab with the router, milling progressively deeper with each pass. Continue until the router can’t cut any deeper, and cut off the excess wood with a jigsaw.
  4. Remove the template and swap the router bit for a flush-cut bit with a bearing on the end. Turn the slab over so it’s face down, and run the router around the rest of the slab to remove the rest of the wood. Switch to a roundover bit and mill a smooth, rounded edge around the seat on both sides.
  5. Turn the other slab on its edge and pass it over the benchtop joint to create one true, 90-degree edge. Be sure to hold the flattened, planed edge against the fence for accurate milling.
  6. Place the 90-degree edge against the table saw bed and fence and cut the board into rough dimensions (approximately 2 ½ inches). Run these boards over the jointer to square them up, before bringing them back to the table saw for the final cut (about 2 inches for the rails and 2 ¼ inches for the legs).
  7. Adjust the compound miter saw to 8 degrees in both directions. Cut the rails to length (around 5 inches) and cut the legs to length (around 12 to 16 inches). This should create splayed legs that provide a wider footprint and stability.
  8. Cut mortises for floating tenons, one in the end of each rail, and two in each leg. Fill the mortises with glue, place the floating tenons inside, assemble the legs, and allow the glue to dry.
  9. Flip the seat so the screw hole in the center is facing up, and place the chair leg assembly on top. Center the assembly, pre-drill holes in each corner (two per rail), and drive screws through the rails to fasten them to the seat.