Gear Head Bench Seat





Introduction: Gear Head Bench Seat

About: I'm an Industrial Technology Teacher specializing in woodworking and CAD. I enjoy trying new things and always try do do things outside of my comfort zone, how else can you get better.

I saved the back seat out of an old Sable to make a seat for use in the shop when I have company.

Follow along as I make the seat with no real plan in mind other than to make it comfortable and fill my needs while looking reasonably attractive.

Step 1: Materials and Frame Layout

I grabbed an assortment of materials since I wasn't really sure how I was going to accomplish my goal.

I grabbed
a sheet of 3/4" mdf
a sheet of 7/16" OSB
a sheet of 1/8 paneling
a few 2x4s and 2x6s (nice to have on hand anyway)
nails for my finish nailer.
mechanics wire

After measuring out my seat parts, I came up with a general layout. The seat bottom was about 2' deep (front to back), and needed to be flat. The seat back was going to be more difficult. I made it taller and straighter than needed so that adjustments could be made to sneak up on a comfortable seating position.

My pencil marks did not show up in the picture.. so I drew on the picture so you could have a visual.

I cut the first line with the table saw (picture shows what this looks like)
and then finished the seat section with a jig saw. Sorry I don't have any pictures of the work being done.. I was "assistantless"

Step 2: Frame Completion

This step took me A LOT longer than I expected. you can see how much of my back section disappeared.

After seeing the seat on the frame boards I was able to see where attachment points would likely be, and how much lean I needed to make it comfortable.

This trial and error process took the better part of an hour.

The second picture shows the seat parts set in place when I was satisfied with their placement.

Step 3: Making a Seat Base

I got so involved with the project I forgot to take many pictures.

Basically, I measured the seat length, and how wide/tall the seat frame base and back needed to be.

I cut them on the table saw, glued, and finish nailed them to the frame boards.

Understandably so, the frame pieces were not rock solid, so I cut a "stiff back" to go between the legs. (picture shown)

Picture 2 shows the seat parts resting on the assembled frame.

Pictures 3@4 show the corners that need to be removed.

Step 4: Fine Tuning

Again I was a man on a mission and forgot about taking a bunch of photos. (its been to long since I made an Instructable, I missed you guys)

I marked with a pencil where I needed to remove the corners, and did so with a jig saw. Make sure to fit and refit until you like it.

Next I made a cardboard template of the gap behind the seat back. Once I was close I traced onto a 2x6 and cut on a band saw.

After a test fit, sanding.. refitting... sanding.. you get the point... I was ready to make one board two. I resawed the 2x6 down the middle, and magically I had a left and a right that matched.

This piece was glued and nailed in.

Step 5: Attaching the Seats

I needed a method to attach the cushion to the frame. I ended up doing this with wire. It was a cheap and effective way to do this step. When I was finished the cushions were rock solid.
I put all of the info for the steps in the steps so it would be easier to follow.

Step 6: Front Wrap

Most of the important steps are explained in the pictures. The last two pictures are how the wrap turned out. Be prepared to used a lot of staples and glue for this step.

Step 7: Fabric Covering

I used 3M super 77 spray adhesive to attach the fabric to the wood. I started on the back of the seat spraying all wood etc attachment points and letting it get tacky. I spayed the fabric in those areas next and allowed it to get tacky. As soon as the two touch they are stuck fairly tightly.

After the glue set up a little I trimmed everything with a straight razor.

Next was the front and side. The same basic steps were followed except I used a friend to help keep the fabric from sticking to itself. I started in the middle of the front... and did about a foot at a time, flattening our any wrinkles etc as I went.

I cut off all excess in the back so it looked nice, and left it about an inch long everywhere else so I could tuck it neatly behind/underneath the cushions.

Step 8: Conclusion

Hopefully I helped to take some of the guess work out of making a seat like this for you all. No two seats will be the same generally, so some changes will be in order I'm sure.

I love projects where you have a general idea of what you want or need but no real idea how to get there. It's problem solving at its best.

All in all I really like how it turned out.
I ended up putting a piece of foam under the seat bottom to help support style weight and made it feel much more normal.

I kind of wish I would have spent more money and got a matching tan fabric ($30 vs. $5.25) or better yet, a tan fake leather, which I'm sure would have been even more pricey.

All in all I feel like I met or exceeded all of my goals in building this seat.

Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think, or better yet, show me a picture of how yours turned out.



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    I voted. I have been meaning to do this with a Leather Jaguar seat but never got the time and couldn't get my head round fitting it. now I know how. Thanks :-)

    4 replies

    Good luck. I'd love to see how it turns out. Thanks for the vote!

    I've now got round to start making it. I have a few questions.
    Was your bench 1 whole piece or did you have to join the bottom and the back together?
    what would you change in your process?
    how sturdy is it?

    if you could answer those that would be great. if there was a way to Pm eachother and I could send the pictures of my seat I would. I'm thinking of using your method very closely but adapted a little to match my seat.

    The bottom and back were separate and attached individually to the frame. The whole unit has been very stable and feels rock solid. MDF as a whole doesn't withstand a lot of abuse, so standard plywood would probably be a good upgrade. I only used MDF because I had it on hand for a sub box build I didn't get around to.

    thank you for your reply. that's really useful feedback and I'll show you the results when it's done :-)

    Looks awesome I will be doing a back seat at some point as well. What about if you took a mold of the sheet metal in the car where the seat goes. Would that make it easier to make the frame?

    1 reply

    It could probably make things easier if you could plasma cut out the back for attachment reasons... but I didn't think that far ahead a year ago.

    Voted good reuse, I always have broken vehicles around and am too lazy to take stuff out before I scrap -Shame on me

    I like the idea of car parts being re-used, like chairs etc. Just Like 'Top Gear' furniture, engine blocks into tables etc. Your seat looks great, I bet people like it best to sit on... Regards.

    3" ABS or PVC makes great cup holders for 12oz sodas

    1 reply

    sweet... I'll have to look into doing something like that. Thanks

    Just for fun you should have added seat belts. That way people could buckle up whenever there is a rough ride. "Sit down, put the belt on, and just listen for a change!"

    1 reply

    lots of people have said that jokingly... most just want cup holders in the arm rest... not sure how to work that just yet.

    never cared for a sable, but that's a pretty dang cool seat man!

    1 reply

    Thanks! There was a reason we junked that thing.

    Very nice work. Great instructable. Turned out really well.

    1 reply

    thanks.. it was fun to make.