For thousands of years, farmers walked behind their draft animals, subject to same exhaustion as the beasts themselves. Sometime in the 1850s, horse-drawn ploughs began to feature cast-iron seats molded to meld with the humblest part of a farmer's anatomy. Eventually, mechanized equipment and padded seats took over, and much of the old equipment was culled for scrap. As a result, cast iron farm implement seats (the proper term used by collectors) are somewhat rare these days, and can command a good price. For more on the history of tractor seat design, check out my blog here.

Somewhat of a flea market aficionado, I hunted down these two tractor seats at antique markets in rural Iowa while on a road trip. At $30 bucks each, they were more than I usually like to pay for a guerilla project, but that seems to fall in within the fair market value. The rest of the materials were salvaged for free -- some scrap 2x8, a few bits of plywood, and a handful of bolts. Paying homage to the mid-century masters that came before me, I wove together some remnants of agrarian America into these stout bar stools.

Broad-shouldered and helmet-headed, they prop me up at breakfast and anchor me for happy hour. 

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You will need these materials (per stool):

Cast iron or steel tractor seat
1 5' scrap of 2x8
approx. 2 square feet of plywood
Handful of #6 x 1-1/4" long wood screws (Spax work well here)
Handful of #8 x 2" drywall screws
Wood glue
Rusty metal primer spray paint
Enamel spray paint, color of your choice
Water-based polyurethane
1 1/2" x 3" carriage bolt
1/2" nut
1/2" washer
4 #8 x 3" pan head screws
Handful of 1/2" rubber washers
Handful of #8 cut washers
100 and 150-grit sandpaper
Steel wool
Denatured alcohol

You will need these tools:

Circular saw
1/4 sheet or orbital sander
12" and 24" bar clamps
1/2" chisel
Crescent wrench
Block plane
Tape measure
Speed square

Step 1: Seat Restoration

You can find old tractor seats on eBay, in antique stores, flea markets, and hung like rusting skeletons on barn walls. Keep your eyes peeled, be willing to negotiate, and pick up a seat as cheap as you can.

Mine were quite corroded. To restore them, first strip the seats of an extra parts -- bolts and extraneous fittings. Then, sand off the worst of the rust with 150 grit sandpaper. Follow with steel wool until the surfaces are smooth, stripped of paint, and rust-free. Clean the metal of all rust and dust with a rag and denatured alcohol. Thoroughly coat with rusty metal primer, let dry, then hit with a few enamel coats of your favorite color. I laid on some clear coat over top for additional scratch protection.

If you like the old, half-painted, semi-rusty look, just strip off any obvious corrosion with sandpaper and denatured alcohol, then wax or clear-coat over the distressed surface. 
<p>Love this. It is a really clean and elegant design, with minimal joinery. </p>
!! Well Done !! - The High Quality Photos show things Step by Step. The Well Organized 'Materials List' and 'Tools List' will allow Everyone to know what they need For the project and Why. Because this can be understood by Every Level - It will be Appreciated by Professional Craftsman and Weekend Hobbyist alike ... Keep Up The Good Work !!
Great project i

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Bio: Furniture hacker. Author of Guerilla Furniture Design, out now. Find me on Twitter and Instagram @objectguerilla.
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