A friend stopped by yesterday, dropped off some bar stools, and asked me to shorten them 3 1/2 inches. I did a little research and came up with this method to cut them down to size.
Step 1: Prepare the Cut Guides
I started out by buying a pull saw and two 4 foot lengths of 1 x 4 pine. (1 x 4 actually ends up being 3/4" x 3 1/2"). This was a handy size as I wanted to shorten the stools by 3 1/2". I checked to make sure that the pine boards were parallel down their entire length and then I cut them both in half.
Step 2: Prepare the Bottom of the Legs
The 1st bar stool had 1 plastic and 2 felt feet so I removed them with my Swiss Army Knife to allow the stool to set level on my work table.
Step 3: Tighten the Connections
I then tightened all the screws in the stool to make it as rigid as possible.
Step 4: Clamp Down the Cutting Guides
The next step was was to set the stool back on its feet and clamp the 1 x 4's to the table next to the legs. It is very important that you clamp the boards to the table and not to the stool. This stool has legs that bow in the front and have a flare and slight twist in the back. If you clamp the boards directly to the legs you will not end up with ends that lay flat on the floor.
Step 5: Cut the Legs
I then took my pull saw and laid it flat on top of the 1 x 4's and cut the bottom of the leg parallel to the boards. I repeated this for each leg.
Step 6: Clean Up the Bottom of the Legs
Once all the legs were cut I set the bar stool on it's side and took a block plane and cut a chamfer around the bottom of each leg. This will help to minimize the wood splitting if the stool gets drug across the floor. I also sanded the chamfer and the bottom of the leg with 120 grit sandpaper. Now all it needs is some paint or sealer and new feet.
You can watch a full video of the process here: