Introduction: RockChair

StumpChair ( was met with quite a bit of success in the past few years and it got me thinking about what else I could make into a chair. Rocks seemed liked like the next logical place to go. Drilling holes in rocks is much more permanent and damaging than in stumps so public installation didn't seem appropriate without permission. For this first version of the RockChair I decided to bring a rock into the shop. This rock was purchased from a landscape supply company and the chair was assembled entirely legally at the Pier 9 in San Francisco. Aside from that, the process is almost identical to StumpChair. (

Step 1: What You'll Need

Picture of What You'll Need

A Big Rock - Boulders can be purchased from landscape supply yards as mine was, or you can probably find one lying around if you don't live in a city.

A Chair Back - I always have an eye out for broken chairs that people are discarding. Discarded chairs are surprisingly common.

Epoxy - You will probably need more than you anticipate.

Spray Paint (or brush on paint if you want to get fancy) - Only if you want it.

Hammer Drill - A regular corded drill will probably work but hammer drills really are amazing tools for drilling in stone and concrete.

Masonry Drill Bits - WARNING regular drill bits for wood or metal will NOT work.

A Cart - This is optional(ish). If you have two strong friends who are willing to help you out you probably don't need a cart but it really will make the whole thing easier. Instructions on making a simple cart are in the next two steps.

Safety Glasses - I forgot to put them in the photo because they were on my face already. Oops.

Step 2: The Cart Part 1

Picture of The Cart Part 1

My cart is square because it was easy to build and because I do not intend on keeping the chair on it for long but, if you want this to be a Rolling Stone Chair (yes, just like the band) you might want to consider making a cart that fits with the shape of the rock. It was suggested to me that attaching the wheels directly to the rock could be cool, and I agree.

You will need:

4 Caster Wheels

1 Piece of Plywood (about 2 by 2 feet)

Some Lumber (about 4 feet)

16 Round Head Screws

16 Washers

16 (or more) Wood Screws

A Drill (with drill bit and driver bit)

A Saw

A Pencil

Safety Glasses (for an Instructable about how to make your safety glasses hold a pencil click here

Step 3: The Cart Part 2

Picture of The Cart Part 2

1- Measure your plywood.

2 - Cut your lumber to the width of the board in the long dimension.

3 - Cut the other two pieces of lumber to fit between the first two on the short sides.

4 - Screw all the pieces down.

5 - Place the casters in their appropriate locations and mark off the holes with a pencil.

6 - Pre-drill holes for caster screws.

7 - Screw on casters.

8 - Screw on a stabilizing rail. The rock I chose was not flat on the bottom and needed some help sitting still. Adding a pice of 2X4 on the top of the cart kept it from rocking too much (yeah I know it would have been a better pun if I let the chair rock).

Step 4: Get the Rock

Picture of Get the Rock

Like they say on all of those ads for jewelry stores, finding the perfect rock isn't easy. In this case landscapes supply stores may be your best bet. Of corse, it is possible to pick up your own rock from a field, forest, desert, or abandoned quarry, or from the moon, but it is way easier to get it from somewhere with a forklift.

The perfect rock means something different for everyone, but I do have a bit of advice. Fist, it should be flat or consistently curved on the bottom if possible. Second, It should be relatively comfortable to sit on. Third, It is nice if you can pick it up with two or three people (but I would love to see a RockChair on a really giant boulder so don't let this be a limiting factor for you).

If you are transporting it with your own truck I suggest placing it on a pallet and using ratchet straps to keep it in place. It will way less likely to roll around and cause you extra damage this way.

Once you get the rock to it's final (or temporary) resting place, use a forklift if you can to take it out of the truck and put it directly onto something that rolls. You will probably want to be able to move it around.

In my case I had to employ the help of a friend to move it from the cart we originally put it on to the one I built. I did smash a finger slightly in the process so be real careful if you end up moving the boulder by hand.

Step 5: Chair ​Preparations

Picture of Chair ​Preparations

I can't say it enough, if you keep your eyes pealed while traveling in the city you will probably find a broken chair pretty soon. Right before trash pickup is usually a great time to collect broken treasures of all sorts.

Sometimes it is really easy to remove the legs and seat from a chair but I suggest using a chisel and hammer to get the seat off without breaking any of the spindles. (If you recognize the photos of dismantling the chair it is because they are from the StumpChair Instructable).

It is not necessary, but I like to paint the chair backs bright colors before installing them. Spray paint is the easiest for this step. For easy hanging of the chair back threaded a small wood screw into the bottom and tied it up with some string.

Spray quickly and evenly to get a consistent coat and wait until it is completely dry before touching it.

Step 6: Drill Drill Drill

Picture of Drill Drill Drill

Before you start drilling it is a good idea to mark out your hole locations. The easiest way to do this is by simply placing the chair back on the rock in the desired location and drawing dots, circles, or smiley faces where the holes should go. It is not the most accurate method, but you are just making a rock into a chair, it'll be close enough.


Now for the real fun part. Chuck up the appropriate size drill bit in your hammer drill and start drilling. Make sure you are drilling at a slightly leaned back angle to match the angle of your spindles. If your spindles taper, start with a bit that matches the smallest diameter and work up slowly if you need to. It is nice when you can get the spindles to fit in as snugly as possible.

Hammer drills are a ton of fun but don't get carried away. These holes don't need to go super deep. I made mine too deep and needed to use way more epoxy than otherwise necessary.

Fine adjustments are tricky with a hammer drill but if you need to adjust a hole brute force will probably work out better than in most other cases.

Step 7: Test-fit and Glue

Picture of Test-fit and Glue

You are almost finished now. It is time to glue in the chair back. I recommend using epoxy because it sticks to stone, wood, and most other materials pretty darn well. Like I have said before, you will probably need more glue than expected, so don't be shy. Squirt out a bunch on some scrap paper and mix it all up. Most epoxies require equal parts hardener and resin but you should read the bottle first before mixing. You don't want your epoxy drying before you are ready, so mix it quickly.

Use a stick or some other sort of disposable tool to apply the epoxy to the inside of the holes. Be careful to not get too much on the stone outside the holes because it will probably stand out quite a bit when it dries.

Once you have applied sufficient glue to all of your holes line up the spindles again and hammer it in there. Don't be shy here either. Having a really tight fit now will pay off in the long run. Oh, I think I forgot to mention the rubber mallet in the list of tools required, sorry everybody.

Step 8: Final Placement

Picture of Final Placement

Both StumpChair and RockChair were meant originally as public art, so installing it somewhere was an important part of the process. I had some friends help me take it over to a nearby park and drop it off for public enjoyment. Within seconds the first passerby took a seat.


uuffkkuu (author)2016-04-20

This chair rocks! Great, fun idea! I'll try to make one, or possibly more, for my garden!

CobyUnger (author)uuffkkuu2016-04-20

Thanks. So glad you like it. Check out my instructable about StumpChair also. It is a bit easier to make.

Edenny0516 (author)2016-01-01

Rock on dude! When I need to perfectly align things, I rub a little red lipstick on the end. It marks the exact spot. Not my idea, but one I use. I do not recommend guys use their significant others' $20 lipstick - the $2 version works just as well for this kind of activity! Peace

CobyUnger (author)Edenny05162016-01-03

Great idea. Thanks for the tip.

Kathy68 (author)2014-08-03

This was the 1st video l have seen since joining this site....COOL!!

Did you drill with a Diamond drill bit? If not what kind of drill piece?

Due to loving colour l wouldn't be able to stop at one chair.. :-)

CobyUnger (author)Kathy682014-08-03

Glad you like it.

The drill bits I used were not diamond bits. Masonry bits will work just fine. You can find them at a hardware store or online.

Check out StumpChair too if you like RockChair. ( (

Kathy68 (author)CobyUnger2014-08-03

Thanx...I will def' check out ur work :-)

chrispolk (author)Kathy682014-11-29


mflorez (author)2014-07-09

Mount wheels to bottom and call it "rock and roll"

trentcole (author)mflorez2014-11-06

rock and roll

stindler (author)2014-09-01

put some cotton or spunge on top of it.. for your butts sake

toddhermans (author)stindler2014-11-06

lol yeah

sunshiine (author)2014-06-19

This is great! When we move I will make one and post a picture. I love it. Thanks for sharing your hard work and do have a splendorous day.


CobyUnger (author)sunshiine2014-06-19

I look forward to seeing your version.

sunshiine (author)CobyUnger2014-06-29

I will be making one but not until after our move. they tend to be quite heavy! I wish you the best in the contest!

ptrobrn (author)2014-06-25

I think a rocking chair would be a better use.

Deltic (author)2014-06-23

Quite right to promote the use of safety glasses - a shame your hearing will be shot by the time you're 40 because you failed to use ear defenders! I'm in my early 50's & have suffered with tinnitus for the last 10 years, it is not pleasant. Please people PROTECT YOUR EARS when using loud tools & machinery.

CobyUnger (author)Deltic2014-06-24

You are completely right. Thank you for pointing that out. I should have been wearing ear protection. It was quite a loud job. Today in the workshop I was very sure to protect my ears.

dbicher (author)2014-06-22

Wonder if you could use one of the 'fake' rocks that you also can buy at masonry yards? We have a large sturdy one in the front yard that feels like it will last for years and is indistinguishable from a real rock unless you look very closely. Bought it specifically because my son wanted a rock he could sit on (and he's in college!) Only weighs 40 pounds or so, (the rock, not my son) is about 4' long, 3' wide, and 2' high. Cost about $115 as I remember. They come in many colors, shapes and sizes.

CobyUnger (author)dbicher2014-06-22

My guess is that it would work fine. Might not be quite as stable since the fake rocks are usually hollow. Give it a shot and don't forget to post photos if you do.

Tinker_001 (author)2014-06-22

Great addition to the stump seat maybe next a bunch of backs on a fallen log in a park or something? Does your table in the office swing? Need an Instructable on that.

CobyUnger (author)Tinker_0012014-06-22

A fallen log would be fun for sure. The office table does indeed swing. I don't know who built it but it is very fun for sure.

Oldbear (author)2014-06-22

This is what we need more of; time take to sit and reflact. The couple in the video stopped and rested, maybe had a good conversation...

CobyUnger (author)Oldbear2014-06-22

Shel Silverstein's book 'The Giving Tree' was part of the original inspiration for this series. The character in the book recognizes the value of taking time to sit and think.

fixfireleo (author)2014-06-22

i'm guessing you wouldnt want to proudly present mom and dad or grandma and grandpa with this chair...they would probably kindly inform you that they stopped being able to sit on rocks 20 years ago or more. lol. cool idea though.

CobyUnger (author)fixfireleo2014-06-22

I suppose not, it is not the most comfortable chair in the world for sure.

dhodgkinson (author)2014-06-22

Thanks for taking the time to film the video and for using Vimeo. I am sure you got a lot of satisfaction watching that first person enjoy your handiwork.

CobyUnger (author)dhodgkinson2014-06-22

You can thank the Charlie, the Pier 9 Digital Storyteller for the video. It is always fun to see people use the things I make.

rippa700 (author)2014-06-22

Love it! I have several old spindle chairs and was just toying around with ideas to use them. This will be one now - thanks!

CobyUnger (author)rippa7002014-06-22

Great! Be sure to post photos when you make one.

Snidely70448 (author)2014-06-22

Having a client chair like that would sure make for shorter client meetings!

CobyUnger (author)Snidely704482014-06-22

It definitely encourages you to stand up.

cia559 (author)2014-06-22


CobyUnger (author)cia5592014-06-22


samalert (author)2014-06-20

Sore bum's and still rocking !

CobyUnger (author)samalert2014-06-22

I used it as a desk chair at work for about a week. It made me stand up and go to the workshop more often.

doodlecraft (author)2014-06-19

That is so cool! I think the red chair back is the icing on the cake! :)

CobyUnger (author)doodlecraft2014-06-22

Thank you. Color is key, it really makes a big difference.

hasanhuseyincan (author)2014-06-19



zposner (author)2014-06-19

That ROCKS!!!

CobyUnger (author)zposner2014-06-22


Penolopy Bulnick (author)2014-06-18

Cool! I wondered what the story was behind that chair I saw in the office :)

Now you know.

Noble_Knight (author)2014-06-18

That is one rocking chair!

CobyUnger (author)Noble_Knight2014-06-19

Next time it will have rocking chair rockers on the bottom I think.

ThisIsSteve (author)2014-06-18

That's one heavy chair.

CobyUnger (author)ThisIsSteve2014-06-19

Yup, about 280 lbs.

Darthorso (author)2014-06-19

Great idea indeed, and very clever design!

My congratulations :)

CobyUnger (author)Darthorso2014-06-19

Thanks so much. Glad you like it.

About This Instructable




Bio: I build, I teach, I learn. Happiest when covered in saw dust, sweat and machine grease. Visit for more projects and info.
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