I made this for my dad, as an early father's day gift, and you could make it in less than 30 minutes!
Supplies:1 1"x8" board 6' long (you only need 3', so you can make two of these for about $10!)
Kreg Jig, if you have it
Cut List:All from your single 1x8:
2- 12" length
2 - 6" lengths
One of the 12" lengths will be ripped lengthwise, and the curve detail will be cut with a jigsaw. This stool can also be made with straight design details, if you don't have a jigsaw.
Here are your pieces with lines for the last cuts:
Step One:Trim the curved corners of each apron. I used a compass to make a nice curve that I could then replicate 3 more times.
Step Two:Cut a 4' by 3/4" rectangle out of the top corner of each leg (so, for rectangles are cut out). These will be the support shelves for the side aprons. Note: Wood is named in nominal lengths, but are actually smaller than their names. I am using 1" by 8" pieces of wood, which are more like 3/4" by 7.5" pieces of wood. The support shelf should be as deep as your wood is thick, and as tall as the apron is high (half the original thickness of your "8 inch" wide board.)
Cut a triangle out of the bottom of each leg. Make them even and matched to each other (unlike my drawing above).
Sanding! To make this look really old and used and rustic, you need to sand all the corners way down. Do this before assembly, so that it looks like it may have been built out of old reclaimed wood from the farm. If you want some nice wear and tear on it, you can use a hammer, or even a chain and beat it up a little before assembly.
Assembly! Choose the best side of your 12" by 8" top board, and put the top face down on your work surface. Line up your first apron along the side, and either use pocket holes with your Kreg Jig, to fasten from below, or countersink screws from above into the apron. Do this to the other apron as well.
Slide a leg in between the aprons and position it so that the 4" wide part of the apron sits on the notch of the leg. Use pocket holes to fasten the leg to both the top and the aprons. Repeat with the other leg.
Here is the underside of the stool; you can see where the leg placement goes for full support.
When you are done, you can fill the holes with wood filler, and then stain and seal.
I used Minwax oil-based stain in Hickory, and then a light wax finish at the end.
For an even more rustic look, you could assemble with finish nails. Often, little stools will also have an oval hole cut out of the top for a handle.
That's it! Enjoy the stool as a toddler's hand washing helper, a place to prop up your feet, something useful with which to hold a french door open, or as a nice little low table on which to rest your beverage.