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Thread: Children's Safe Step Stool (aka Learning Tower)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Thunder Bay
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    238

    Default Children's Safe Step Stool (aka Learning Tower)

    Well, it might not exactly be the fine woodworking we often see here, but this is a functional piece that I managed to somewhat quickly produce.

    The back story is that my son (now 17 months), like most, is very curious about everything that involves the kitchen and food prep. He is too heavy to comfortably hold for long while cooking, and while he is sturdy on his feet, we cannot really have him stand unattended on a chair (our tiles would be very unforgiving in a fall). My wife has asked for some time for me to build something like the "learning tower". She was putting down serious threats to just buy one ($200), so I had to find time to get to the shop (my winter schedule is very busy, and free-time has been sparse to nonexistent).

    Nothing too complicated here. Mortise-tenon for the sides/rungs and knock-down hardware on the front/back cross pieces. It uses a sliding system to move the platform to different heights. I don't like the plywood construction of the commercial version this is copied off, so used solid birch in the interest of using local lumber. Given its mass, there was no need for the feet extensions found in the commercial product (which I think would be an annoying toe-stubbing and tripping hazard). I also made some modifications (smaller dimensions) so it would best fit our kitchen (i.e. up to and in-between the island).

    Finished with General Finishes water-based poly.

    Measures: 37" (H) x 24"(W) x 23"(D)

    Overall, a couple of things I could have done differently, but I'm pretty happy with the results and how the design came together. Questions and comments welcome (though, honestly, my son loves it so I don't really care what anyone else has to say )

    Cheers,
    Keith.

    LT_3.jpg
    LT_2.jpg
    LT_1.jpg

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Waterloo, ON Canada
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    Real Name
    Adam

    Default Re: Children's Safe Step Stool (aka Learning Tower)

    cool!

    plus a few extra words to make my post long enough to post

  3. #3

    Default Re: Children's Safe Step Stool (aka Learning Tower)

    Neat idea! I am sure it will also get put to lots of creative use by your son over the years for things other than the originally intended use model... i.e. looks like it could be turned into a great fort once he gets bored of watching kitchen duties.

    Michael

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Windsor,On
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    452

    Default Re: Children's Safe Step Stool (aka Learning Tower)

    Can your son climb into it by himself using the side ladder?I thought it might be a bit hard to get into it other than Mom lifting him in.
    Great idea! Wish you thought of it initially.... you could have made some money off this one.

    Mike.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Thunder Bay
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    238

    Default Re: Children's Safe Step Stool (aka Learning Tower)

    Thanks for the comments guys!

    "looks like it could be turned into a great fort once he gets bored of watching kitchen duties."

    Yeah, he'll get more than just kitchen use out of it...my next project is going to be a proper woodworking bench for myself (a project for myself...that'll be a first); anyway, I can see him bellying up out there too - in addition to "fort building" with it, etc.

    "Can your son climb into it by himself using the side ladder?"

    That is the plan...I think the rungs are a little far apart for him right now, but he has only had one day with it and he'll get the hang of it. There are other commercial versions of this concept that are fully boxed in and require lifting in/out, but I find that a real limitation.

    Cheers,
    Keith.

  6. #6

    Smile Re: Children's Safe Step Stool (aka Learning Tower)

    Hi
    This is awesome, you should be so proud. Do you have plans or sketches for me to purchase ?

    Jennyoung@atlanticbb.net

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Weyburn, Sask.
    Posts
    312

    Default Re: Children's Safe Step Stool (aka Learning Tower)

    neat idea. Looks like a fairly large footprint. Is there a reason, other than stability, for it to be that large?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    gloucester on
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    2,061

    Default Re: Children's Safe Step Stool (aka Learning Tower)

    Thats pretty cool Keith !
    Wish i would have seen this when my grandkid were smaller.

  9. #9
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    Apr 2007
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    Near Tofield Alberta
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    Richard Lee

    Default Re: Children's Safe Step Stool (aka Learning Tower)

    Awesome job. All thats missing are the bars and the lid.

  10. #10
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    Nov 2007
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    Default Re: Children's Safe Step Stool (aka Learning Tower)

    Quote Originally Posted by redlee View Post
    Awesome job. All thats missing are the bars and the lid.
    Great idea for an upgrade!

    Quote Originally Posted by wilson View Post
    Thats pretty cool Keith !
    Wish i would have seen this when my grandkid were smaller.
    It is pretty nice to have and gets lots of use everyday; and not just for making cookies...

    bench_cookies.jpg

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob in Weyburn View Post
    Looks like a fairly large footprint. Is there a reason, other than stability, for it to be that large?
    It is large (approx 2'x2'), but even so, it is about 8" narrower than the product I knocked off. Stability is one reason, but most importantly you can jam two kids up there at the same time.

    twointhetower.jpg

    Cheers,
    Keith.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Children's Safe Step Stool (aka Learning Tower)

    Quote Originally Posted by jenniferyoung View Post
    Do you have plans or sketches for me to purchase?
    I have some rough dimensions I sketched up in Visio - I could send this file to you and/or as a .pdf if you like.

    Cheers,
    Keith.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Waterloo, ON Canada
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    Adam

    Default Re: Children's Safe Step Stool (aka Learning Tower)

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith H. View Post
    Aren't they a little short for a storm trooper?

    Can't quite tell if they look like Mom or Dad...

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    California
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    Steve

    Default Re: Children's Safe Step Stool (aka Learning Tower)

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith H. View Post
    I have some rough dimensions I sketched up in Visio - I could send this file to you and/or as a .pdf if you like.

    Cheers,
    Keith.
    JENNY: With all due respect to the work shown here, the commercial source and help building it can be found at http:///littlepartners.com/. The OP here also states where, in 1st paragraph and the ~ cost to purchase.

    If you Google "Learning tower," you will find several more outlets.
    Last edited by Woodwreck; 05-21-2010 at 10:29 PM.
    http://forum.canadianwoodworking.com/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=12450&dateline=127309  6828 Wood Wreck - Structural framing specialist.

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