My neighbor was throwing out this old Frankenstein-esque office chair. I loved the base mechanics and had no use for a chair, nor was this in usable condition! The top half was not original to the base and was held together by gorilla glue!
One may not be fortunate enough to find a cool old chair base sitting curbside, but I'm sure some digging through local thrift stores you'd eventually find one! Just make sure to do your research and don't destroy a chair that may hold more value as a chair!
Step 1: Tools//Supplies
- Old Office Chair
- Round slab of wood of your choice. (I used poplar, way too soft might delete later!)
- Angle Iron (used bed frames that i've collected curbside over the years)
- 4 sets 1inch x 1/4inch bolt, nut, washer, and lock washer
Wipe-On Polyurethane (I make my own with 50/50 mineral oil and polyurethane) Instructions Here
Step 2: Deconstruct & Clean
Take the top part of the chair off! We won't be needing this anymore. I will save a few of the pieces of the chair but for the most part, let's call it firewood.
After you Unscrew the chair from the base start scrubbing. You can use a wire brush, air compressor whatever you feel that would work. In my case I used a little scrub brush I attached to a bolt, this does the trick and is less abrasive.
I would suggest after this using some denatured alcohol or water to scrub away the rougher grit. If your chair mechanism has some surface rust like mine take a wire brush and some wd-40 and give it a good scrub.
The wheels on mine popped out very easily, you may need to wiggle with yours, a screw driver and some heat or all purpose house oil should release the wheels. Iff not do your best to clean and sand them on the chair!
These wheels were brass at one point, may be to far tarnished for me to revive with what I have to work with, but they still spin well and thats all that matters!
Step 3: Sand
Once you get your parts cleaned up lets get sanding.
I used a orbital sander and some scrap sandpaper to get into the tight nooks and crannies.
I first started at 120 and then realized the legs had some deep knicks. So 60 grit it was and it that did the trick.
Step 4: Replace Existing Chair Rails
The chair rails on the mechanism wouldn't work with my plan, they are offset for a chair so that would mean the table would be offset as well and would look super wonky.
I ground the existing rivets off. You may have to punch them out with a rod or a screwdriver afterward. Once that's done cut your angle iron to size, I chose 16inches, find your center point and place your angle iron on the base and from the inside mark the holes. Now that you know where your holes belong you can start drilling.
Using a smaller drill bit I started making my holes. Once this was done I used my titanium step drill bits from harbor freight. These things are awesome, and dirt cheap with a coupon!
Once your holes are drilled and lined up go ahead and attach the bolts!
Next drill 4 holes on the rails to attach the table too, I chose to drill these about an inch in from the ends.
As you can see in some of the pictures the chair mechanism sticks up above the rails. We will route a small inlay to make clearance for these later!
Step 5: Flatten Slab & Sand
Preface: All I had that was roundish was Poplar, its soft and tear out is inevitable. Plus I was in a rush and my router bit has seen some miles.
That being said lets sled!
In order to get one level side place your slab on to a level surface or a surface, you can level. Shim the slab so it doesn't wobble. Then use some hot glue along the edges to keep it in place.
Now comes the fun, shallow passes on the sled will reduce tear out. If you're using a harder wood you can take some deeper passes as long as you are going slow, SLOW. Now do this over and over until you get a flat surface.
Flip the slab over and repeat the process above. Make sure your surface was level and is still level.
Once you are done here start sanding. In my case, I was stuck sanding forever! Remember the bigger the router bit the fewer lines you will get stuck sanding out!
I used a belt sander until the belt broke and did not have anymore so I switched to my orbital sander. After a few sheets of 60 grit, I was able to get up to 120 and then 150.
Step 6: Finding Center & Routing Recess
So the center of the chair mechanism is offset to the space that I attached the rails to. This in its self makes it a much harder to attach the slab. I used a long steel ruler to measure from one side to the other. Try to make it look like a pizza. 9 times out of 10 the center will never be the innermost ring on the wood.
Once you figure this out you may need to route recesses into the bottom of the slab so that the mechanism sits inside the slab. Place your slab as close to you can center and mark out where you need this recces.
With a Forstner drill bit, I was able to make a couple of holes that would allow me to start routing the spaces out. Once you start routing you won't have to be too perfect but no need to make these spaces bigger than they have to be.
Once that was complete I was able to attach the slab to the base with ease!
Step 7: Apply Poly & Finish
Now its time to make her shine!
I used a wipe on poly that I have found via the internet! It is my favorite method for finishing. Yes, it takes longer but the finish tends to be smoother and easier to work with!
So what I generally do is start with a 50/50 mix of polyurethane and mineral oil. 2-3 Layers with that mix. Once each layer dries check the wood for raised grains. If you need to sand again, sand lightly with a fine grit 400+ works for me lightly watered. After those few coats, I will add a little more poly to the mix and again apply 2-3 coats while checking the grains. This is a rather simple method and often hard to screw up!
Here is a link to how to mix! DIY Wipe on Poly
With this method, you could use a rag, a foam brush, sponge you name it! I'd suggest a foam brush on the bark if you keep the bark. Make sure you clean your bark off and remove all loose objects!
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