I have made quite a few of these step stools over the last couple years. I decided to try making them more visually appealing. This first attempt used the router with a V-bit to trace a grape vine pattern on each side. A dark walnut stain was carefully placed in the V-bit track to make the design stand out.
The next experiment used the router and V-bit again, but then I used a Transtint dye to color the area inside the V-bit trough. After letting it dry overnight, the whole area was flooded with a Watco Oil finish. The tricky part is trying to keep the dye from getting into the V-bit trough. Next time, before I use the router, I will finish sand the sides to at least 320 grit. That should make the Watco Oil finish area ligher, and make the dyed area stand out more.