If you actually want to learn how to do it.. just work it out. Just put blocks next to where the pistons will be then levers on those blocks and then figure out which order you need to power them in to get it to do what you want. Then you just make a circuit to do it for you.. you'll need to know how to make a pulse limiter or monostable circuit available via wiki. It's rather simple if you take the time to think it through.. now if you want to make it as compact as possible that'll take more time.
personally I would hide the log in the wall, and then push it out.
But in your case i would suggest to fiddle around a bit with timing, use repeaters to time the bottom one to expand first, then time the second one to expand right after the first one.
to close it i have not found any other way yet then to make a complete other circuit with the timing reversed, because a sticky piston cannot pull an extended piston, if you want to use 3 or more pistons, it will get even trickier. you will have to time the comming down bit so that the top one closes, then the center one, then the third one and then the center one needs to expand and retract for a second to pull the one above him along.
Looks like part of my last and first piston creation. But since it was my first one I needed very much space for it, but since you only need the easy part...
So you... I think you need repeaters and some timing practice so that the following order of activation/power is getting to the pistons.
(I assume you start with no power at all befor you pull the lever/press the button)
lower piston gets power and stays powered while the upper piston gets a short impulse of power, then lower piston loses powere and then you need another impulse of power to the upper piston.
That would be for getting the block
If you want to pull the block it's easier:
short impulse of power to lower piston, then upper piston and then lower piston again.
But yeah... this method would need 2 levers or a button and a T flip flop and I think it's working but someone experience with redstone/pistons can probably do a better solution. :smile.gif:
And I am not sure if that kind of solution really helps if you want to get a stairway with it and not just one block.