How to Make a Live Edge Bar Stool/Table

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About: About: I am a 14 year old who loves woodworking, photography, and being outside.

This stool is very beautiful because of its live edge and modern design. It is a bit too high to sit on safely, and would be perfect for a lamp stand or a small table. It can easily be made over two to three weekends. I liked making this stool beacuse I learned how to weld, design somthing from scratch, and then make it. If you have any questions or notice any mistakes please leave a comment, also if you like this instructible please vote for me in the furniture contest.

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Step 1: Supplies and Tools

  • 4 pieces of rebar that are 1/2" thick and 3' long (for the legs of the stool)
  • 2 pieces of rebar that are 1/2" thick and 16" long (for the lowest supports)
  • 4 pieces of rebar that are 1/2" thick and 9" 1/2" long (for the highest supports)
  • a log with the bark still on; mine is roughly 5" across at the least wide part. The log I used was unseasoned pine. I should have used a seasoned log and one that was not pine because it is very sticky when the sap starts to ooze out of the log when it starts to dry.
  • carpenters square the one I used was 7"
  • drill I used a cordless and brushless Makita drill
  • hand held grinder I used a cordless and brushless Makita hand held grinder
  • welder and safety equipment; I used a stick welder
  • angle gauge for setting the angle of the stool's legs

optional tools and supplies

Step 2: Drilling the Holes for the Stool Legs

Get your log and carpenters square, put the square on top of your log and draw a right angle triangle then draw another right triangle opposite it (use a crayon for drawing the square, it works better than a pencil on the rough wood). If you did it right, you should have a perfect square (second photo shows finished square). Use your angle gauge and set a 5° angle outwards (the third photo shows this step). Get you drill and put in a 1/2" drill bit then line up your drill bit to the line on the gauge (get a second person to tell you when it is lined up with the gauge) and drill the hole 1" 1/2" deep. Repeat the process for all three legs. Hammer in the four legs using a rubber mallet (the fourth photo shows two of the legs hammered in).

Step 3: Welding Supports Onto the Legs

This, will probably be the hardest step in making the stool because the welds need to be good and strong. Otherwise, it will just fall apart when somebody sits on it and they will have a nasty surprise! For the first part you need a another person to hold the legs while you weld them. Make sure everyone has proper safety equipment, and are wearing closed-toe shoes because it is very painful when some molten metal drips onto you foot (also you should wear a long sleeved shirt, unlike me, because you can get a nasty burn if you are not careful). For this instructible I am using a stick welder. This link goes into more detail explaining how to use one.

Now get one of the lower supports, (16" rebar pieces) and either get somebody to hold it or clamp it against the leg across it (it needs to be positioned so that the lower supports will form an X shape when you are finished welding them) 7" from the end where the legs will touch the ground. Weld both on, then position the top on so that it makes a perfect X, then weld them together (fifth photo). Make sure to hammer off the slag (sixth photo), wear safety glasses or keep your welding visor down. Next take the metal legs out of the log. then get the highest supports (9" 1/2" rebar pieces), put two of the supports opposite each other and 9" 3/4" from the top, and weld them. Get the other two pieces and put them opposite each other and 5" 1/2" from the top supports and weld them. Use a handheld grinder to smooth the welds if you want. Note: if you do not want burn marks on the wood get a bit of cardboard and soak it in water and lay it over the wood, or you can just sand the marks off later.

Step 4: Priming and Spray Painting the Metal Legs

Get your primer and use it according to the directions on the can. Then use you spray paint according to the directions on the can. Make sure all the rebar is painted evenly on the top and bottom.

Step 5: Cutting the Log to Form the Seat

Put your log on two blocks of wood, so that it is it is off the ground. I got my Dad to cut it roughly 3" thick. Try to cut it as straight as possible. Do not put the legs in the wood until you are finished the next step, which is sanding and finishing the slab of wood.

Step 6: Sanding and Finishing the Slab of Wood

You can leave the wood rough if you want a really rustic look, but I wanted to be able to see the grain of the wood so I sanded it for about three hours (I am not joking). Start sanding the wood with 60 grit until the it is level and feels smooth then sand it all the way through 100-150-200-220 grit. I sanded the bottom with 60 grit to remove some burn mark from welding (third photo) . The wood should be glossy and feel very smooth (second photo). Wipe all the wood dust off with a damp cloth or paper towel (fourth photo). Next, get your finish of choice. It needs to be quite durable so I used outdoor/indoor polyurethane, if you use polyurethane, I suggest aplying it with some paper towel beacuse it is really hard to wash it out of a bristle brush without using paint thinner. Wear disposable gloves beacuse it can irritate your skin and is also very hard to wash off. Polyurethane is best applied in thin and even coats wait at least five hour between coats (sixth photo). I did three coats on the top (seventh photo), one heavy coat on the bottom (eighth photo), and one coat on the bark.

Step 7: Conclusion

I'm quite happy with how the stool turned out for being my first-time-ever making a peice of furniture and having never welded before. It is a bit high for sitting on (over 3' high), but I think it would make a great stand for a lamp or a picture frame. If you have any questions or notice any mistakes please leave a comment and if you like this instructible please vote for me in the furniture contest.

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    9 Discussions

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    bpark1000

    Tip 10 days ago on Step 7

    This stool, made from a cross-section of unseasoned wood, will split when it dries (like a pie with one small slice eaten out of it, because the circumference shrinks more then the radius). The bark will also come off. To prevent this, you need to treat the unseasoned (preferably fresh-cut from a felled tree) with PEG (rockler.com/polyethylene-glycol-peg-green-wood-stabilizer) solution for about a month for the size piece you have. Then the piece can be dried without shrinkage or splitting, and the bark will stay on.

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    Sethsgbpark1000

    Reply 10 days ago

    You can do this, but if you polyurethane it it will stop the wood from shrinking and keep the bark on.

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    Sethsgsharpstick

    Reply 10 days ago

    I never did anything stop it from splitting. You can if you have a big enough pot boil the log in it or just use some seasoned wood, mine never spilt very much and It gives it a nice look.

    _DSC6596.jpgIMG_2488 2.jpg
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    FranB39

    11 days ago on Introduction

    A beautiful idea! But I can imagine people snagging tights or other clothing on the edge; would it work to have an extra thick layer of varnish to prevent that?

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    SethsgFranB39

    Reply 10 days ago

    Yes you could, or just round the edges a bit on the bark.

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    Sethsgjessyratfink

    Reply 16 days ago

    Thank you, it is the first piece of furniture I have ever made.