Introduction: Custom Shop Stool
I recently broke my shop stool. Either they don't make them like they used to, or I'm not as skinny as I used to be...not sure which. Anyway, I searched for a new stool and could not find one to meet my requirements - 24" tall and sturdy enough for a man who is married to a great cook. So, I made my own stool.
Watch my video showing the basics of how I built the stool, then follow this Instructable to build your own. Click here for my website article and PDF plan.
Step 1: Cut the Legs
Cut four square legs that are 23.25" long (adjust the length for a shorter/taller shop stool). I used some 1.75" thick Southern Yellow Pine from a saw mill.
Tip: You could probably get by with 2x2's from the home center, depending on how much you like to eat. Keep in mind that 2x2's are actually 1.5". Otherwise, you could glue together thinner boards to prepare thicker leg blanks.
Step 2: Cut the Cross-Braces
I wanted my stool's seat to be 13"x17". After subtracting 3.5" for the width of two legs and about 1" for a 1/2" overhang on each side, I cut four 12.5" long cross-braces and four 8.5" cross-braces. These were 1.25"x1.75".
Note: You may need to adjust the length of your cross-braces if you are using different dimensions for the seat, legs, and overhang.
Step 3: Cut Tapers on the Legs (Optional)
For a design element, I cut two tapers on two adjacent sides of the bottom of the legs. This step is optional, but I think it looks nice. An actual size cutting template for the taper is available on my PDF plan.
Note: Determine where you want the bottom cross-braces to be and make sure the tapers are cut below that location. The bottom cross-braces should be located where your feet will comfortably rest.
Step 4: Everybody's Favorite Step - Sanding
Sand all of the parts prior to assembly.
Step 5: Assemble the Base
There are lots of methods to assemble a stool. I chose to use 3.5" Spax Powerlag screws with the hex washer heads and Titebond II wood glue. This method was simple and made the stool nice and sturdy.
I pre-drilled offset pilot holes to make the screws drive in easier and to prevent splitting, even though the instructions said it was not necessary. Offsetting the holes, keeps the screws from running into each other inside the wood.
This is a good time to paint or apply a finish to the stool. I used Deft spray lacquer.
Options: Other possible joinery methods include dowels, dominoes, wood screws, and mortises and tenons. Pick the one you like the most.
Step 6: Cut the Seat
Cut the seat from 3/4" plywood and round the corners.
Step 7: Customize the Seat Cover (Creativity Opportunity!)
Choose your favorite fabric to use as the seat cover. I suggest using either vinyl, denim, or canvas. There are lots of crazy prints to choose from. I bought 1 yard of black denim and used only half of it. I screen printed my logo int he center. This is an opportunity to personalize your stool.
Attached is my video tutorial on screen printing. There is a complete list of supplies needed in the youtube video description.
Step 8: Upholster the Seat
I bought a 15"x17" piece of 3" thick foam from Hobby Lobby. I used a small hand saw to cut 2" off one side to fit my seat. I positioned the foam and plywood on the material so that my logo was centered on it, then folded over the material and stapled it to the bottom.
Tip! The corners took lots of patience and fiddling, but after watching several YouTube upholstery videos, I got it to look pretty good. Take your time.
Step 9: Attach the Seat
I pre-drilled holes through the top cross-braces, then drove 2.5" drywall screws through the cross-braces and into the plywood seat. This worked great. You may have to use different length screws depending on your rail size.
Caution! Don't use long screws that will protrude out of the top of the seat. Ouch!
Step 10: Sit Down and Relax!
Test the stool with a cold beverage. Relax and enjoy your work!