Is this Shaker step stool stable?

I'm looking to build this 2 step version of the Shaker step stool for a Christmas present, similar to the one on the left here:
http://www.newyankee.com/photos/301.jpg
But it looks a little "tippy". Is the second step just for looks or would it be safe to use?
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On Thu, 17 Dec 2009 07:38:55 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

I made one much like this one that fit under the base counter. My wife of the time took it as part of a divorce. Not because of any sentimental reason. She truely used it to reach the upper shelves. It was stable and the step folded up for storage.
http://www.maisiek.com.au/contents/media/l_p3220317.jpg
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To me, it looks just fine for stability. I have several similar, tall 2-step stools (made with scrap lumber, not nice pieces of furniture) I use in the shop.
Consider what you would be using the stool for.
In my case, a stool as that is not for assisting in handling large pieces of lumber or other heavy objects from above. It's for reaching small items, which can be handled comfortably. Trying to handle larger, heavy objects, to me, might be a more cautious effort on that 2-step stool.... or just about any small stool/ladder/5 gallon bucket with an awkward or not-so-normal step. Common sense would dictate what is safe or best.
The steps' rise does seem to be a bit tall, though. I can see it being used in a pantry setting. I would prefer the 3 stepper for a library setting. Asthetically, it doesn't look as desirable as the 3 stepper for an in-home setting. I would not make a fairly nice stool, as that, for use in the shop.
For in-home use, I vote for the 3 stepper. For a 2 stepper, I would a) reduce the rise of the steps or b) expand the base (my least likely option).
Sonny
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As with anything in life you need to be smart about how you conduct yourself. It seems the tipping danger would be in the forward direction when on the top step. It also seems that usually you would have the stool up close to a wall or lower cabinet door and that would really minimize any problem. It would likely have to tip over quite a bit before the bottom could slide out and a nearby wall would stop that in the extreme case where you would tip forward. So just like any ladder, generally stable if used correctly but standing on the top step and juggling with one hand while bent over backward as far as possible might be dangerous.

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SonomaProducts.com wrote:

Absolutely! "Smart" being the operative word.
The top step of just about any stool, or ladder, is simply not smart to step on .. then again 50% of the population, by definition, needs to be constantly reminded of that. :)
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On 12/17/09 12:53 PM, Swingman wrote:

That explains why the need for so many lawyers, warnings etc. What the world needs is a simple test to see if someone is smart enough to enter adulthood.
Here, hold my beer, watch this.....
;-)
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I built one a couple of years ago. Once on the top step you need to be cautious of not letting the center of your weight extend past the back side of the top step. If you do, it will tip. While this seems unlikely, if you use it to reach up high inside a cabinet the center point of your weight will certainly go past the back of the top step.
To help prevent tip you can have the bottom back of the legs extend past the back edge of the top step 2-3 inches.
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On Thu, 17 Dec 2009 07:38:55 -0800 (PST), " snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com"

Unlike the early 1830's we have higher safety standards. Not a good idea to call this a "step stool." They make a good book rack, shoe rack or plant stand though.
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Hi, Phisherman
I guess I wonder if there might be some expansion on your "higher safety standards" comment. Aside from the thinner stock on the 2-step model, what would make it less safe than the 3-step version? In fact, looking at the narrow top step on the 3-stepper and seeing how it is set so far behind the centerline, I might suspect it would rotate under a person's weight unless the unit was positioned square up to a supporting wall.
...keeping in mind I'm a total novice at wood design...okay?
Thanks
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On Sat, 19 Dec 2009 18:42:04 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@triton.net wrote:

A step stool should have rubber feet and the feet should extend beyond the top to prevent tipping front-to-back and side-to-side. Either stool might easily tip if not against a wall. From what I understand, the 2-step model is a hardwood and the three-step is pine, so thinner hardwood might have the same strength as the pine.
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I totally agree: it looks horribly tippy. Look at his hand on the step. The step is a small multiple of the width of his hand. That would definitely mean that it would be easy to move your center of gravity enough to one side or the other (or forward!) to cause it to dump you on your head.
I had the same nervous reaction you did when I saw it.
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On 12/17/2009 09:38 AM, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

There's a slightly modified design in the January 2009 issue of Fine Woodworking. It has a back that slopes in to help make it more stable when standing on the top step.
http://www.finewoodworking.com/ProjectsAndDesign/ProjectsAndDesignPDF.aspx?id1925
Chris
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I can verify this design is solid. It shows no signs of stability problems. I built one of these earlier this year and it has gotten lot's of use. While I did't follow the plans *exactly*, the overall dimensions are the same.
Larry
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Larry wrote:

Made a SU model when it came out in preparation for doing one myself.
Not an exact copy either, but, like yours, the dimensions are the same if anyone wants a Sketchup file as a go by:
http://www.e-woodshop.net/files/ShakerStepstool.zip
Let me know if the link doesn't work. Thanks ...
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Swingman wrote:

Looking at it for the first time in awhile, you might want to consider making that first step 10 1/2" instead of 10" so that your muscle memory doesn't kick in (or your building inspector doesn't red tag your project!) ;)
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Omit the top step. If you're average height and have 8 foot ceilings, a 2 step stool will let you reach anything.
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You mean a 1 step stool, or are you referring to the 3 step version?

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Father Haskell wrote:

But you're never supposed to use the top step of a stool or ladder. So if you omit the third step, does that mean you can't use the second step? ;-)
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