I've seen sportsman's bucket seats in stores for a long time and thought they were a cool concept, but they were pretty expensive for what they were ($20 or more for basically a bucket & a pad). My friends and I have used old 5 gallon buckets to hold our fishing tackle for years, but it was just that, a bucket full of stuff. If you wanted to sit on it you had to dump out the contents and turn it upside down. If it tipped over, your stuff fell out. If it rained, your stuff got wet. So, after much consideration, I decided to make my own bucket seat. This is what I came up with, a fishing seat with tackle storage that I made from a 5 gal plastic kitty liter bucket. This particular bucket is square (because that is what I had), although you could adapt these instructions for a round bucket fairly easily. It can be used as a hunting blind seat, tool bucket, sports seat, or any other purpose you could come up with.
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Step 1: Tools & Materials
The construction is pretty simple so you don't need much.
These are the tools you'll need:
Saber saw or band saw or even a coping saw in a pinch.
Battery drill with philips screwdriver bit or just a philips head screwdriver
Tape measure or ruler
Pencil or pen to mark with
This is the list of material:
(1) 5 gallon bucket
(1) piece of plywood at least 12"x12" square
(1) piece of 3/4"x1-1/2" (1x2) batten board at least 24" long
(6) 1-1/4" screws
Seat pad at least the size of the seat (I used an old gardening knee pad)
Paint if desired
Step 2: Making the Seat Top
The hardest part of the whole project is cutting the seat board to shape and that's pretty easy.
1. Turn the bucket upside down on the plywood and trace the outline of the bucket.
2. Used the saber was to cut along the line to shape the seat.
3. Sand the edges if required to make the edges smooth.
Step 3: Make Cleats for the Underside of the Seat
To keep the seat from sliding off the bucket I attached cleats to the bottom using scrap 1x2 batten board. These cleats need to be snug fitting to keep the seat in place so I fitted them to the bucket contour.
1. Place the 1x2 on top of the bucket with the outside edge of the board along the inside edge of the bucket opening. Trace the outline of the inside edge of the bucket on the underside of the board. This will allow the cleat to fit snugly inside the bucket.
2. Use the saber saw to cut the radius on the cleat.
3. Check the fit.
4. Repeat the process to make 2 cleats.
Step 4: Attach the Cleats to the Seat Bottom
Attach the cleats to the seat bottom. The cleats should fit snugly against the sided of the bucket to keep the seat in place. To find the exact spacing required follow these steps:
1. Measure the inside dimension of the bucket.
2. Measure the outside dimension of the seat top.
3. Determine the the inset distance for the cleats by subtracting the inside dimension of the bucket from the outside dimension of the seat. Divide that number in half and that should be the inset dimension of the cleats from the outside edge of the seat board.
4. Mark the inset position for the cleats on the seat bottom and temporarily attached the cleats.
5. Dry fit the seat on the bucket. Make any required adjustments to make the set fit snugly.
6. Once the seat fits to your satisfaction, apply the wood glue to the cleat and permanently attach the cleats to the seat bottom.
Step 5: Make the Seat Cushion
Now its time to make the seat cushion. I used an old closed cell foam gardening knee pad. I hope it wasn't one my wife uses.
1. Place the knee pad on the bench and then place your seat on top of the pad.
2. Trace the outline of the seat onto the pad.
3. Use a knife or razor to cut the pad to shape.
4. Sand the cushion if necessary to make the cushion fit the seat.
5. Do not attached the cushion yet!
6. Paint the seat if desired.
7. Use the contact cement to glue the cushion to the seat.
8. Let the glue dry then test for comfort.
Step 6: Make It Your Own
Now that I had the basic seat, I wanted to organize the tackle inside. Otherwise, it's just another bucket full of stuff and what ever you're after at the time is probably in the very bottom.
I wanted a way to keep the frequently used items easily accessible and still have room for other stuff.
What I decided to do was attach the most frequently used items to the sides of the bucket with Velcro fasteners. This would keep them secure to the sides and still allow room in the center and at the bottom for miscellaneous tackle.
Step 7: Attach the Boxes With Velcro
I attached the large boxes to the sides of the bucket with Velcro strips. The boxes aren't very heavy, so the Velcro didn't need to run the entire length of the box. I just put two pieces of about 1"x2" at the top and bottom of each box. The self adhesive Velcro strip I purchased at the hardware store was 2" wide, so I cut a 2x2 square and then cut that in half.
Step 8: You Can Use the Seat for Storage Too
I used Velcro to secure the smaller box to the underside of the seat to maximize the space inside the bucket.
Step 9: Now Add Your Tools
I wanted my most often used tools to be readily accessible as well. So, I used the same technique to fasten them to the remaining sides of the bucket.
For the fillet knife and flashlight I used peel and stick Velcro "Dots" to fasten the tools in place. I placed a dot at the top and at the bottom of the tool cases and then placed them in position just like I did with the tackle boxes. This way the tool cases aren't physically altered and you can place them on your belt if you wanted.
For the pliers I made a holder out of a piece of 1/2" PVC water pipe. I used a heat gun and molded the PVC to shape around the pliers. This gave the holder a flat surface on the back to affix to the bucket. I didn't want to drill any holes in the bucket because I wanted to keep it available to use as a live well if needed. I used one of the Velcro dots to fasten the holder to the side of the bucket and placed the pliers in the holder.
The remaining tools (the hook sharpener & clippers) did not have a case so I had to figure out a different system. I decided to use hooks to hang the tools on the bucket side. I used peel and stick picture hanger hooks for these items.
Step 10: A Useful & Versatile Tackle System
I'm very pleased with how this turned out. It keeps my gear organized and provides a comfortable seat to use at the lake or river bank. The square bucket was very easy to work with but a standard round one could be used just as easily. The bucket could also be used as a tool box, a hunting blind seat, or even a cooler. I'm contemplating using some Krylon brand plastic paint to give it camo pattern so I can use it during dove season.