Muddy footwear is just a part of life in the country; going for hikes, working in the garden, or simply heading from car to cottage in the rain can leave you covered in mud. Getting those boots off without making a mess (or having to bend over) is appealing to everyone, and a boot jack is the perfect item to help.
There are lots of ways to make a boot jack and some can get quite involved, but here is a super-easy, basic design. This is a great project to do solo, or get the kids involved and make this a rainy-day project for the whole family. To make a boot jack you will need: scrap wood ¾” thick with a surface of about 16”x5” (plywood works), another small scrap of wood 4” long x 1.5” tall for the lift, wood glue, sand paper, a cup or glass (a paper coffee cup works great), a ruler and pencil and either a jigsaw (power tool) or a coping saw (hand tool).
You can use this template as your guide.
Begin by getting the scrap piece of wood cut to 16”x5”. Then, measure and mark ¾” in on both sides of the width of the wood. Take your pencil and ruler and draw a line connecting the marks to the corners at the other width-end of the wood, creating a tapered line along the length of the wood. Use your saw to cut the lines so now the wood has an even taper down both sides of the length of wood.
Next, start at the top (wider width-end) of your wood and mark 1” in from either side. As well, find the midpoint on the width-side of the board and mark that (there should be 2.5” on either side). Then, make a mark 5” down from the midpoint. Place the cup just above the 5” mark and trace a circle onto the wood. Use your ruler and pencil to draw lines from the widest part of the circle to the 1” marks on either side of the width-end, creating a parabolic line. Use your jigsaw or coping saw to cut along the line to create the mouth of your boot jack. This is where you will place your heel to get your boot off.
Cut a small triangle out of the tapered end to create feet. Find the midpoint on the tapered side so that your cut will be centred and cut out a triangle 2” wide by 2” high. This helps keep the boot jack stable while being used.
Finally, to make the lift, take the final scrap of wood and cut to size 4”x1.5”. On the bottom of the boot jack, measure about 7” from the top of the jack and glue the lift across the width of the wood. Now, your boot jack will sit off the ground, ready to receive a boot.
Don’t forget to sand the entire piece so that footwear doesn’t get scuffed. Your boot jack is now complete and ready for use!
If some extra help is needed, print out the template sheet from this article at 200% size, tape it to the wood and use it as a guide.
There are lots of creative ways to add style and personal taste to a boot jack as well. Consider wrapping the curved edge with a strip of leather to protect footwear from abrasion (you can attach the leather to the boot jack with staples, nails or drill guide holes and use a small rivet gun for a great look and style). Add a strip of rubber tread to the bottom of the lift for an anti-slip effect or use a wood-burning pen to engrave your initials into the jack. A fun activity for kids is to let them paint the boot jack with acrylic paint and then seal it with 2-4 layers of clear coat. Customizing your boot jack is a great way to add a personal touch to the décor of your cottage.