Looking to add character and personality to your project?  Reclaimed wood is a great place to start.  Here are step-by-step instructions to make this simple DIY reclaimed wood stool that’s perfect for a bench, side table or vintage piece for your room. 

reclaimed wood stool on concrete with a leather camera and a stack of books

This week I wanted to create a simple DIY reclaimed wood stool.

I wanted a simple project.

One a person could make in an afternoon.

One anyone could create.

One that was simple and easy and creative.

So I thought and planned and sighed and looked at the saw and the hammer and nails and measuring tape….

….and asked my brother for help.

My brother is an expert in making things like a reclaimed wood stool.  He has a workshop that would make Santa Claus seriously think about trading a sleigh and reindeer for it.  It’s full of stacks and pieces of wood from this project and that project and smells exactly like sawdust.  And to watch my brother stand in that workshop and create….

….is a thing of wonder.

Just like I talk to houses?

He talks to wood. And his wood is so well-behaved. He creates wood pallet letters like this and this and trash to treasure table tops that will make you cry and become the metaphor for all that is good and right with the world.  He’s the Plato of the carpenters.  The Robert Frost of woodworking.

The Walt Whitman of his reclaimed wood generation.

At least this is how I presented the project to him when I asked for his help.

Then I chose the wood and stood back and perched on a chair in the workshop and supervised….

….with sweet tea and lots of encouragement.

stool built from reclaimed wood against a concrete wall

What is reclaimed wood?

Reclaimed wood means that it has already lived a good life in this world.  It’s served a purpose as something else.  For example, reclaimed wood often comes from barns, pallets or abandoned buildings.  The wood is then sanded down and repurposed into other items.  Reclaimed wood is used for tables, picture frames, furniture, signs or stools like this one.

Is reclaimed wood durable?

Reclaimed wood is often more durable than new lumber.  In addition to being more durable, the character of the wood is unmistakable.  Many times, reclaimed wood will have holes or dings or scratches from where it was removed from it’s previous home.  These all work together to add personality to the wood which makes it the perfect material for one-of-a-kind furniture pieces.

How much does reclaimed wood cost?

The cost of the reclaimed wood completely depends on its original purpose.  For example, pallets are often free or can be purchased for under $5.  This makes the reclaimed wood extremely affordable.  Other types of reclaimed wood, like flooring, can be more expensive, often running about $8.00 per square foot.

What are the challenges with using reclaimed wood?

Because reclaimed wood has been used for another purpose, the boards are not in pristine condition.  Warping is a common challenge with reclaimed wood, as well as cracks, damage, scratches and knicks and dings.  It’s a good idea when planning a project, to purchase more wood than necessary in case the wood is not in the best shape.

reclaimed wood stool against concrete wall with metal basket

Reclaimed Wood Stool Parts

DIY Reclaimed Wood Stool Project


  • tabletop:  24″ long x 6″ wide
  • legs:  16″ long x 3″ wide
  • frame:
  • long pieces:  20″ long x 3 1/2″ wide
  • side pieces:  9 ” long x 3 1/2″ wide
  • Bottom rung:
  • 20″ long x 2″ wide
  • 9 ” long x 2″ wide

table top made from reclaimed wood

Step 1:  Create the frame

Cut 45-degree angles on the frame pieces and miter the corners of the frame pieces (2 long and 2 short).

Glue first and then nail pieces together.

Continue until you have a frame.

(note:  our frame wasn’t exactly square, but when you put the table top on you never noticed)

reclaimed wood table top attached to wood base

Step 2:  Attach top

Place the two pieces of the top together.

Nail frame to top.

You should see this wood for the top.  He’d pulled it off an old oak pallet and the texture and patina are so beautiful.

reclaimed wood stool edge of table attached to reclaimed wood legs

Step 3:  Attach legs

Place the legs in the four corners and glue in place and then nail.

Can you see the texture on the legs?

It’s from the original saw they used to cut wood like that.

He told me that only old wood has a pattern like that.

Step 4:  Attach the bottom rung

This was my idea.

I think I saw it in a farmhouse somewhere.

Cut 45-degree angles on the frame pieces and miter the corners of the frame pieces (2 long and 2 short).

Glue first and then nail pieces together.

Continue until you finish the bottom rung.

Step 5:  Sand stool

You could also add a light coat of polyurethane to seal it.

I didn’t.

I wanted it to age gracefully.

DIY Project Reclaimed Wood Stool

Here the DIY wood stool in all its glory.

When it was finished it took my breath away.

This DIY reclaimed wood stool is so heavy and rich in history and has so many imperfections that it becomes a work of art.

Created by a master craftsman….

….and a supervisor with sweet tea. 🙂

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  1. Image for Heather C Heather C

    So cute and functional, wish I had a brother with a workshop full of wood, I too am a good supervisor. Happy Monday

  2. Image for Rowena Philbeck Rowena Philbeck

    Very nicely done. I love working with wood but have no one close that does it. My son-in-law does all kinds of things but they are several hours away. That is really nice and I love your stool. Very sturdy and love the old look of wood too.

  3. Image for Mary Mary

    VERY nicely done brother of Kari Anne!!! My Father was a finish Carpenter (as was St. Joseph) as we all know. I love to watch things being constructed. Wood is so amazing and I guess that's why I prefer old wood pieces made by hand instead of factory made things. I would use THIS piece. ! Thanks for walking us thru the process - that's the best part!

  4. Image for Linda Linda

    must be a thing about brothers. my brother used to create fabulous pieces.....he's passed away now sadly but everything he made is now a cherished treasure...enjoy him. love, Linda

  5. Image for Carol Bray Carol Bray

    Can I rent your brother for a week or two? LOL! I've given some ideas and plans to my hubby, so between he and I we'll see if anything worth sharing will come from it.

  6. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    I love it!! Just think what that wood has seen -- first as a tree and then as whatever cuts of wood it became. Now your brother, the fairy godfather, has turned simple pieces into a beautiful rustic creation. Have you tried talking to it?? First I think you need to name the table and then find what room he or she would like to grace. I think it will eventually tell you. Please let us know what it says. Have a wonderful day!

  7. Image for Michele @ The Vintage Vixen Michele @ The Vintage Vixen

    What a great project!!! If I was not terrified of amputating my own wrists with a power tool I would definitely attempt it LOL!!! With all the talent amongst you and your siblings, you're like the Osmonds of DIYers. Thanks so much for sharing!!!

  8. Image for Peg Peg

    How very fortunate you are to have the "Plato of carpenters" living near you! Sigh, it took my breath away, also! Do you think people with as many imperfections could be considered works of art as well? Love! : )

  9. Image for Kathie Kathie

    Most excellent collaboration and enjoyable read. Old wood deserves respect and that's evident in this creation. Thank you both for the inspiration.

  10. Image for Barbara Neubeck Barbara Neubeck

    Hello KariAnne......I like the stool/table your brother made..... using recycled wood is a wonderful idea ..... Hugs.. Barb xxxx

  11. Image for Susan Susan

    This little stool is something quite special...not only is it all kinds of beautiful, functional, and simple, it is a symbol of your strong bond with your brother, I think! I would imagine he enjoyed every single second of your supervision...you just give off the vibe that you are always a joy to be around...someone who can unfailingly elicit a smile, even from those with the darkest of hearts. I'd wager your very talented brother also shares your talent for eliciting smiles and brightening hearts. Oh, what a super-talented family...in more ways than one! Yes, I think I would love a sweet, little stool like this one very much...but I, too, would have to take the supervisory position during the building. ;)

  12. Image for Suzanne Melton Suzanne Melton

    Just butting in here. Someone on Quora wanted to know, "What are some popular online websites with script font logos?" so I HAD to mention Thistlewood Farms! https://www.quora.com/What-are-some-popular-online-websites-with-script-font-logos Before you click, you need to know that Quora can be as "addictive" as Pinterest. P.S. Love the stool!

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