This is a great looking solid wood two-step stool that'll be very handy to have around the house. While the joinery is fairly challenging, I've broken it down in the build course to make it reasonably easy for the average woodworker to do with standard shop tools. I used power tools for mine, taking it from rough milled lumber right to finished product, but it can also be done with hand tools only. Recommended wood is any solid hardwood. I used ash for mine. It can be made from a softwood such as pine, but I figure if you are going to these lengths for the joinery, it's worth it to use a nice hardwood.