Jon Carroll Woodworks

A Quick Kitchen Project & “Exposure”

While back at home for a couple weeks, my wife had pointed out that the kids needed somthing a little more suitable than kitchen chairs to stand on while “helping” her cook in the kitchen.


A quick search in google images for ‘kitchen helper stool’ revealed an assortment of design ideas. With a limited amount of time and not wanting to spend too much cash of it my design quite literally evolved from the materials I had on hand. After bringing my daughter out to the shop to take some measurements directly from her, I drew up a quick sketch and I was on my way.


Yes, I used pocket hole screws, I know. Not really hand tool woodworking but i really was limited for time. I also added 2 1/2″ Cut Nails to reinforce a couple of the rails.

The whole project (Both Stools) took a whopping 8 hours to build start to finish. Because I used leftover SPF construction lumber, everything was surface planed before building.  Materials to build BOTH included:

  • 12′ 2×6
  • 10′ 2×8
  • 10′ 1×4
  • 18″ x 18″ x 3/4″ ply (x 2)

My wife is going to let the kids choose their preferred colours and paint them later.

Included below is a sketchup model of what I ended up with as well as some basic measured drawings. Just enough info to make your own with your preffered method of joinery and decoration.

Kitchen Helper – PDF (I will add a link with the Sketchup Model as soon as I figure it out!)


As a closing note, I couldn’t help but nab this picture when it appeared on facebook. I think it speaks to many of us crafty people. I remember starting out thinking it was a good idea to do a few projects charged at a little over cost, just to get my name out there. It wasn’t too long before it was very apparent that I was cheating myself. The amount of time, skill, and overhead can really be underminded when you have a mindset whispering to yourself that your not worth that much. But YOU ARE! Charge fair prices! If your unsure of a going rate of a project, do a little research on the net. You’re not selling Big Box Junk!

However – there is another side and I’m going to use my turned bowls as an example.  I’ve lost count how many times when someone looks at one of my items and says, “This is Beautiful! You’re only charging this much? Oh you can get more than that for it!” then puts it down. That’s when I get to thinking to myself – what is the reason that person never bought that item. It’s not because it’s inferior, junk, or “too expensive.” It’s simply because that particular person didn’t have a use for it. Someone who does actually want one of my items will pay the price you are asking because of what it is.  Another point of view that can be pointed out is that you can sell one item for more, or sell many for less. This is all well as long as you can boost production to a point where you can accept a loss at the final pricetag.

The bottom line to my point is, asking cheap prices or nothing at all doesn’t put the potatoes on the table. As a maker, your skill and your time are worth somthing. Sure you can buy a TV stand at WonderMart for under $100. Will it even last 100 days? I’m sure I can build a stand as well for under $100 but will last for years upon years! What is the worth to that.

I’m interested in open discussion about other points of view! Here’s the pic, sorry for the profanity in it but I just couldn’t pass this one up.



One comment on “A Quick Kitchen Project & “Exposure”

  1. A Riving Home
    March 10, 2016

    I have difficulty charging fair prices for my work as well. My unsatisfactory solution has been to avoid selling my work. I know I have to get over that at some point. It doesn’t help that I have a wife (love her, mind you…) who doesn’t understand craft pricing at all. Whenever I make something with the intention of selling it, she’ll ask me how much I want to get for it, and when I answer her eyes get big because there’s no way in hell that she sees even a fraction of that value in it. Last week, one of her friends was at our house and apparently fell in love with a chest that I built. She asked my wife to ask me how much I would charge to build one. “I could do that for $400,” I said, knowing that I was undercharging by half. My wife thought the charge was too high and didn’t want to offend her friend, so she never even brought it up. Sigh.

    Loved the comic, by the way.


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