Introduction: 2x4 Bar Stool

About: I enjoy simple DIY projects and enjoy sharing them with others. I'm 33 and I am a sheet metal worker by trade. I really enjoy remodeling and making things. I'm married and have two wonderful children.

We've been needing seating around our kitchen island for some time now. I've looked around at various furniture stores and online and the cheapest thing I could find that would suit our needs was around 100 dollars so I decided to see if I could make something in the garage.

So after some searching around and looking at various pictures and videos I came up with this design. It was made from a few screws, some wood glue and 2x4's. 2 and 1/2 to be exact.

I sketched out a quick blueprint and a cut list which will be added at the end of this tutorial in case you're interested in making something like this.

The tools I used were:

  • Table Saw
  • Miter Saw
  • Grinder with Flapper (sanding) Disc
  • Orbital Sander
  • Clamps
  • Kreg Pocket Hole Jig
  • Hand Saw
  • Scroll Saw or Jig Saw

Step 1: Step 1: Making the Seat

Start by measuring 18" on your first 2x4, make a mark and cut on your miter saw. Do this 4 times. This will be your seat.

Then cut 2 lengths at 26 1/2" This will be your legs

Then cut 3 lengths at 13 1/2" This will be your two bottom slats and top brace

Then cut 3 lengths at 8 1/2" This will be your other two bottom slats and top brace

If it sounds confusing, it'll start to come together as the tutorial goes on.

Step 2: Step 2: Rip Everything Down

I started by squaring up one side on every piece using just the table saw. Then I ripped everything like this:

Seat = 1 1/2" x1 1/2"

Legs = 1 1/2" x 1 1/2"

Top Bracing = 1 1/4" x 2 1/2"

Bottom Slats = 1 1/4" x 1 1/4"

Step 3: Step 3: Get the Seat Glued Up

To get the radius in the seat I took a piece of scrap wood that was at least 18" long. I made two marks, one at 0" and one at 18". I found the center, 9", and made a mark.

I wanted the seat to concave a total of 1/2" so I made a mark in the middle, on 9", at 1/2".

To get a nice smooth radius I used a hand saw and set the handsaw against a clamp that was next to the zero mark then I bent the saw with one hand until it passed through that make we made and 9" and 1/2" and then it followed back down to the 18" mark. I took my pencil and drew a line.

Basically I put a slight bow in the saw.....It's hard to explain....if you are still confused, the video I have a link to at the end on the Instructable will give you a better idea.

THEN...I cut the pattern out on the scroll saw (or you can use a jig saw) and traced it out on the 8 pieces for the seats and then cut those out as well. I put pocket holes in the under side of the seat, glued everything up using a liberal amount of glue and then screwed everything together and then clamped for extra security.

Step 4: Step 4: Pocket Hole the Rest and Sand

Find the centers of every remaining piece (MINUS THE LEGS!) and drill some pocket holes. On the top bracing I drilled the top and bottoms, on the bottom slats I drilled only the bottoms. Then sand everything. I just sanded with 120 grit and that seemed to be good enough for me. But you may want to go with a finer grit...I wasn't being too picky with sanding.

Step 5: Step 5: Screw the Frame Together

Since the bracing and the slats are thinner than the legs, I flushed the pieces out on the inside, so that it would give the outside a nice "indented" look. I also used plenty of clamps to help me make everything as straight as possible when I went to screw in the pocket hole screws. I also put a dab of glue on the ends of all of bracing and slats before I screwed everything together. Just be sure to wipe off the excess glue with a damp rag after it's screwed together.

Step 6: Step 6: Clean Up the Seat

After your seat is dry, I scraped off the excess glue and then I sanded everything with a flapper wheel. It's very aggressive and gets the job done in a hurry but you really have to pay attention to how hard you press down because it will eat away at the wood very quickly. I found that it did an AWESOME job making the seat nice and uniform. Be sure to wear a dust mask when using this because it will produce a TON of sawdust.

Also I should note that I should have been using a guard on my grinder. I sometimes find it a nuisance but there are ways to deal with it... After the grinding looked all and well I used my orbital sander to smooth out the rough spots the grinder left.

Step 7: Step 7: Attach the Seat

With your seat upside down, flip your frame upside down and set your frame on top of your seat. Find the center of each side and drill some pocket holes into the inside of your frame braces. Then attach the four pocket hole screws to your seat.

I should note that I also used wood glue but I do not have a picture of it...sorry.

Step 8: Step 8: Stain/Paint

If you are staining you should use wood conditioner first...Wood conditioner will help get rid of the splotchy areas you will notice when staining soft woods. I did not use any wood conditioner and I ended up with one splotchy area. Not a big deal for me as the wife wants me to paint it black now that I'm all done...hahaha

I used Minwax JACOBEAN in the tutorial...Came out nice but I have to admit that it would go better in our house if it was black.

The last step will be my cut list and the blueprint. I completely made these plans myself and the complete Instructable and tutorial were followed to them exact. Hope you enjoy!

This video can be found on my YouTube channel at

Step 9: Step 9: Blueprint / Cut List

So here are the plans and cutlist. I ended up using 2 and 1/2, 2x4's for this project. I think it cost me around $7.50. Hope you guys like it. Any questions, feel free to ask!

This video can be found on my YouTube channel at

Woodworking Contest 2017

Participated in the
Woodworking Contest 2017