Introduction: Recycled Chair Leg Stools

Picture of Recycled Chair Leg Stools

I think old chair legs are gorgeous and I have been collecting them to make into stools.

I found a way to connect the legs to the seat that is;

  • strong
  • cheap
  • simple

It took me a while because I had lots of fails, but now I am happy with the design.

Step 1: Mark Out the Brackets and Use the Bandsaw to Cut Out

Picture of Mark Out the Brackets and Use the Bandsaw to Cut Out

Here I have used pine, but I would recommend a hard wood.

Step 2: Cut a Stool Base From the Old Chair Seat

Picture of Cut a Stool Base From the Old Chair Seat

Step 3: Cut All Legs to the Same Size

Picture of Cut All Legs to the Same Size

Step 4: Pre Drill the Centre of the Brackets and the Centre of the Legs

Picture of Pre Drill the Centre of the Brackets and the Centre of the Legs

Step 5: Glue and Screw Legs to Brackets

Picture of Glue and Screw Legs to Brackets

Step 6: Attach Legs to Base of Stool

Picture of Attach Legs to Base of Stool

Step 7: Sand and Apply Finish of Choice

Picture of Sand and Apply Finish of Choice

Step 8: Finishing Options

Picture of Finishing Options


ernstp (author)2015-11-11

Your recycled chairs look great. If it's just for decorative use I think this is an easy and fast way.

But I doubt this is going to be strong enough for real use. With real use I mean my 150 kg neighbor can safely sit on it. Gluing cross-grain is not very strong and the screw adds almost nothing to the joint. My guess is that these chairs will break soon.

The most common way of doing this is to turn the old legs on the lathe to a common diameter and then make the wedges much thicker (>=3cm). Then drill a hole with the diameter of the legs in the wedge and glue everything in place. After all this is how this type of chair is build from scratch.

If you don't have a lathe you could try to drill a big hole into the end of the leg (~20 mm) and glue a round dowel as loose tenon into the hole in the leg and the wedge.

Ms Wild (author)ernstp2015-11-11

Hi Ernstp, I made another instructable to enter in the "Epic Fail Competition" called "recycle chair leg stool fail" , in it I address some of the points you mention above.

Thanks for the comments

tsturtevant (author)2015-11-11

Search Pinterest for DIY chairs. It may inspire another chair idea.. Good work.

jmcintyre13 (author)2015-11-07

great idea for old beat up kitchen chairs just a pity about the holes left in the lower leg by the cross members

Ms Wild (author)jmcintyre132015-11-07

Yes it might be taking rustic charm just a bit far, although when separating the chair components I could saw them off and sand them flush, eliminate the holes then paint them.

Thanks for your comment

ClenseYourPallet (author)2015-11-05

Awesome idea!! I will definitely give this a try

Ms Wild (author)ClenseYourPallet2015-11-06


Thejesterqueen (author)2015-11-05

Thank you for sharing, now I know what to do with the wooden chairs that I have been hanging on to. Very nice look!!

Ms Wild (author)Thejesterqueen2015-11-06

Thank you

dspathaky (author)2015-11-06

Great idea. Great instructable and also the fails one. Was there a reason you didn't drill a large hole in your bracket to accept the top of the chair legs and insert a wedge?

Ms Wild (author)dspathaky2015-11-06

Hi Dspathaky, Thanks for your sketch, I haven't tried what you have suggested here, it didn't occur to me because the legs are all different at the top, the most I had alike is two.

I did try putting the legs on the lathe and turning the top of each leg round, and then drilling matching holes in the seat, my intention was to put a wedge in the top of the leg as you mention, but through the seat. This was not a success because of the odd shapes at the top of the leg finding the centre was tricky and they were spinning off centre. However this was where I got the idea to drill and put dowel vertically in the leg tops.

The tops of the chair legs are all different shapes; round square and some triangle. They also have all sorts of mortise holes and fixings, I have mostly been sawing the tops off to try and get a large surface area and also remove the mortises and fixing damaged material.

Your idea looks terrific and I will try it if I'm lucky enough to come across suitable legs.

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts

About This Instructable




Bio: I am a high school design and technology teacher and I love making things, especially if it involves using recycled materials. I use instructables all ... More »
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