Introduction: Foldable Classic Guitar Practice Stool
When it comes to play classical guitar, there are many options when you choose a stool that has to be slightly higher than a regular stool. I visited many music stores and from what I saw I decided that the ones in the market are either too weak, the finish is not very nice, very expensive, or the color didn't match my setup (pedal, guitar color, guitar stand, etc). I decided to give my design abilities a try and this is what I came up with. I hope you like it. So far, it has worked for me.
It can also be used as a regular portable stool, only by changing a couple of measurements.
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Step 1: Materials
The materials we are going to need are easy to find either in a scrap yard or probably at home from old jobs we made, or get them new; either way, they are:
- A 6 meter cold rolled 3/4" X 5/32" flat bar (you don't need it all, but then again they don't sell less than the whole 6 meters).
- A 1 meter 1/2" cold rolled flat bar.
- A 28 centimeter by 7 millimeter round piece of plywood.
- 2 rivets.
- A small piece of thick wire or thin rod 30 centimeters tops.
- A 1 foot piece of your favorite color leather.
- 4 1" X 1/4" carriage bolts with nuts.
- a 34 centimeters 10 cm thick round piece of foam (slightly bigger than the piece of wood for aesthetics)
- A handful of upholstery tacks.
Step 2: The Safety Feature
This is perhaps the most important part of the build, as it is related with safety, and one of the reasons why the guitar practice stools on the market weren't appealing to me.
Take your 1 meter 1/2 inch plate and cut it in half. You want to make two pieces like the ones in the picture; personally, I bent them in a regular vise with the help of a regular hammer. Make sure that once the pieces are bent the way they should, their length will not exceed that of the diameter of your round piece of plywood, or the stool will look terrible. Take a look at picture two and you will get my point. If the plates are longer than the top of the stool, it doesn't look very nice.
The best thing for this design is that even if you move or bend your body in any way, the stool's legs will not slip out of place. To me, that's a winner.
Note: Make sure the two pieces are not completely closed, because during the final assembly, you need to insert the other pieces of the stool through these openings.
Step 3: The Top
When you have your two pieces shaped and not exceeding the diameter of the top of the stool, place them with the opening against the plywood. Center them at approximately the same distance from the edge without going out of the piece off wood on any side, as you can see in the picture. Mark and drill two holes on each of them so that you can secure them to your piece of wood; mark the wood as well so that you put them in the same place after you drill the holes. Once you have drilled the holes, place the plates over the wood again and mark the wood so that you can drill the holes for the carriage bolts. When you're done, it should look like picture 2; now you are ready for doing some upholstery.
Step 4: Upholstery Work
To make a nice looking stool top, take your piece of round foam and cut at an angle of approximately 45 º as shown in the drawings; it doesn't have to be laser cut, but try to cut it with a very sharp knife so that it looks decent. Apply a liberal amount of contact cement all around the shaded part in the picture and after you let the cement set for around ten (10 mins) join A and B; when you do so, the foam should look like in the bottom right image of the drawing.
Now take your piece of leather and cut it into a circle (1 Foot diameter). Put the carriage bolts through the wood at this point even though you are not going to put the plates yet; remember that once you put the foam and the leather, there's no way to get the bolts under them.
Place the foam flat side facing the wood an cover it with the leather. Turn the wood upside down and start tacking the leather. Start tacking in four places at 90 degrees angles and start stretching the leather and placing tacks all around the wood while securing the leather. Always stretch the leather and tack in opposite sides to make it as even as possible until you get something like in picture 2. If you did it right, the stool top should look like picture 3.
Step 5: The Legs
To make the legs, you need to bend the 3/4" plates into rounded rectangles that should both be exactly 55 cm in length, but one of them is slightly shorter in width. The picture shows completely square rectangles, but it is only for explanation purposes. Notice how the inner rectangle is slightly narrower than the outer rectangle. The reason for that is that our stool's legs are placed in an "X" type of setup.
When you have bent your leg plates as illustrated, weld them to have them fully closed. Place them side by side on the floor or on a table, and mark the center at "C" on the side to drill holes and run your rivets through them (from the outside). Place the narrow square inside the broad one and rivet them. Now you have a flexible 3D "X" . Pictures 2, 3 and 4 give you a general idea of this step once you have accomplished it.
Step 6: The Sliding Guides
There is the need for some kind of guide for the stool top to be put in use or folded as needed. For this step we need to pieces of thick wire or a very thin rod. First cut two pieces of wire at about 10 centimeters. After this, make an "L" bend either in the middle or a little further; it doesn't really matter. When you have the two rods bent, go back to your finished stool top and measure the outer distance between your two plates (Picture 1). This distance will give you the location of your two "L's" on the inner rectangle, because the stool top will slide on and off the "in-use" position guided by these two rods. In the next picture you will see where they go.
Take your two "L's" and make a small bend to be able to weld them at the distance measured, so that the two 1/2" plates will slide freely between them; there should be two "L's" in each rod: a short one for welding purposes and a long one for guiding purposes. The welding "L" should be short and face outside and the sliding/stopping "L" should face inside (Picture 2). In Picture 3 you will see how they should slide. Make sure you don't leave too much distance between the two rods, because although the stool will not fall apart, when you are sitting on it, if there is too much distance between them, you will get the feeling that the stool is going to break. As soon as your rods are welded n place, make yet another bend toward the outside of the stool as if it were already assembled. Again the length of the rods is not critical, but a 10-12 cm pair of rods will look the best. Pictures 4 and 5 show you how far "out" you should bend your rods, as they stop the 1/2 plates when the stool top is in use or folded.
Step 7: Final Assembly
In order to assemble the stool once you have painted the metal parts, start by putting your stool top upside down. place the legs with the inner rectangle having the welded rods facing up. Next, grab one of the 1/2" plates and run the two squares through the opening (see Picture 1). After this, do the same with the other 1/2 " plate (see Picture 2) Remember the opening in the two 1/2 inch plates goes against the wood. Before you secure the plates with the nuts make sure the rods welded to the inner square, are resting over the 1/2" plates as shown in Pictures 3, 4 and 5, and that the 1/2" plates are sliding freely between the two small rods. If everything checks out alright, secure your nuts and open your stool. In the next step there are pictures of the stool in use. I hope you like it and enjoy it.
Note: You can use the stool as it is without any rubber in the part of the legs that rests against the floor, or you can get a suitable hose and cut 4 pieces of about 1", and after splitting them place them under the legs with contact cement (that's what I did).
Another option is to put the hose on the squares before you weld them but when you paint them the hoses are going to get on the way. In the last set of pictures you can see the pieces of hose resting against the floor.
Step 8: The Stool in Use
Here are some shots of the stool being used as well as put aside. Some of them will give you more detail on how the pieces function after assembly.
Questions or feedback are welcome.