Shock Absorber Stools




About: I like to make stuff for my home and garden from wood and metal..

This instructable shows how to make a pair of stools using shock absorbers and coil springs from a car. These are fun and quirky stools that would fit in well in any home, man cave or workshop. I always love messing about with different materials and parts from old or broken machinery, appliances etc to see what I can make from them.

⚠️ Warning, these coil springs were not under compression!!! If you are attempting these and are not sure what you are doing make sure the springs are clamped as they maybe under compression and could cause serious injury when opening them. Also before welding it to the base drill a small hole in the shock to release the gas inside. Although it should be inert gas it is wise to do so to stop the gas pressure building up from the heat of the welding.⚠️

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Step 1: Have a Look at the Video Below.

Have a look at the video above to see how I built the pair of stools from start to finish.

Materials: (2 stools)

Two shock absorbers and coil springs.

2 x 1 steel:

2 @ 20 inches
4 @ 9.5 inches

Flat steel:

2 @ 6 x 8 x 1/4 inch



Screws & glue

8 Plastic caps.

Step 2: Shock Absorbers.

The shocks were taken from an old VW polo car. Some of you may recognize the car as this is the car where I got the seat belt buckles for my seat belt buckle key holder project.Seat belt buckle key holder. The shocks and coils spring were taken from the rear of the car.

Step 3: Taking Apart.

I started by taking the unit apart. Warning these springs were not under compression!If you are attempting this make sure the spring is clamped before opening. I removed the nuts which released the coil spring and then removed the foam bits which were inside. These would not be needed again so they were discarded. I then set aside all the nuts and small parts which will be needed later. Using an angle grinder I cut off the knuckle that was on the bottom of the absorber.

Step 4: The Base.

For the base I used some 2 x 1 inch steel. I cut two pieces at 20 inches and 4 pieces at 9.5 inches. (Amount is for two stools)

Step 5: The Base Continued.

After cutting to length I eased all the edges with a grinding disc and then set out the pieces on a flat surface. I tack welded them in place after checking they were square. I then finished all the welds on each of the pieces.

Step 6: Feet on the Base.

To keep the base slightly off the ground I decided to cut some circular feet. I marked a 2 inch circle onto some 1/4 inch flat steel. Using a grinder I roughly cut the shape of the circle before finishing the circle with a grinding disc. I the set them in place and welded then to the 2 x 1 steel base.

Step 7: Cleaning the Shock Absorbers.

I used a flap disc to clean off the dirt, rust and flaking paint that was on the absorber. The flap disc made short work of removing all this material.

Step 8: Welding to the Base.

Warning make sure the shocks are not under pressure before welding as serious injury can occur!

I placed the clean shock absorber onto the base and then tack welded in place. When I was happy with the position I fully welded it to the base. I did this slowly and a little bit at a time as I did not want to burn through the metal of the shock absorber. I then cleaned up the joint with the grinder and applied a few coats of paint.

Step 9: the Seat.

I wanted a seat thickness of about 1 1/2 inches so to get this width I glued together some off cuts of 1/2 inch mdf I had. I applied plenty of wood glue to each piece before clamping it and leaving it to cure.

Step 10: Steel Plate.

While the glue was curing I cut two pieces of 1/4 inch x 5 inch steel. These plates are how the seat and absorbers are joined together. I marked the centre of the plate and drilled a 1/2 inch hole. About one inch in from each corner I drilled a 1/4 inch hole and the countersunk them. These 4 hole are for screws to attach the seat.

Step 11: Cutting the Seat.

After the glue had cured, using a compass I drew a circle on the mdf and cut it out using a jig saw. The edges were a bit rough so I sanded them with my belt sander which was clamped to my work bench. To ease the edges of the mdf I rounded over the edges with a 1/4 inch round over bit in my router.

Step 12: Recess for Plate.

Rather than just screw the plate to the seat I decided to remove some material so it would sit in flush. To do this I marked the position of the plate on the mdf seat and then with a straight cutting bit in my router I removed material to the depth of the plate. Before I removed the material I drilled a 1 inch hole in the centre of the seat. This is for the locking nuts when the stool is assembled.

Step 13: Painting.

I gave the seat three coats of a black gloss paint. For the coil spring I applied a coat of primer and a few coats of an orange spray paint. Having a contrasting colour really shows off the spring. At this stage I also applied a few coats of black paint to the metal cap which was removed at the start when I was disassembling the shock absorbers.

Step 14: Assembly.

I slipped the coil over the absorber and fitted the cap and then bolted the plate on with nuts and washers. I used two nuts to lock the plate in place. There was some excess threaded bar sticking up at the top so I cut it off with an angle grinder.

Step 15: Plastic Caps.

To close the holes on the ends of the 2 x 1 steel base I inserted some plastic caps which I purchased. These are just hammered into place and give it a more finished look.

Step 16: Screw on the Seat.

To attach on the seat I placed the plate into the recess which I routed out earlier and then secured it in place with some screws.

Step 17: Floor Protection.

To protect the floor from any damage I stuck on some felt pads on each of the four feet. The pads I used were self adhesive so they were very easy to fit.

Step 18: Thats It.

The finished stools! Let me know what you think of them and if you would do them differently or change anything. This is the second project I have made from the parts of this old VW polo, who knows what else this car may yield! Thank you for viewing.

If you would like to see more projects from me you can subscribe to my YouTube channel here: Eamon Walsh DIY.

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    27 Discussions


    Question 1 year ago on Step 15

    Can you tell me where I can purchase the plastic caps for the 1x2 steel tubing? Thanks. Very nice stools. I plan to make these! Cheers

    2 answers

    Answer 1 year ago

    I got them from my local steel suppliers. They can easily be purchased online.

    Niii Pawww

    1 year ago

    Is it springy/comfy? Car coil springs are super tight, they move maybe an inch with 1000-lb load. So while they look great I'm wondering if they might be too tight to be springy? Great build though!

    1 reply

    1 year ago

    Having been in the auto repair business all my life, I have kept
    some things over the years that were replaced that I thought I might be able to
    repurpose. I always wanted to keep a pair of coil over shock absorbers, but
    they would just take up space needlessly until I found something I wanted to
    make with them. This is a great instructable, but I want to make sure everyone
    realizes that these are coil over shocks, NOT struts. You would not be able to
    take apart a strut like these shocks were because the spring on a strut is
    compressed before the strut is assembled and would come apart with such
    velocity that someone is more than likely going to get seriously hurt, possibly
    fatally. I also want to mention that some coil over shocks are assembled with
    the spring compressed, but not nearly as much as a strut is, so be cautious
    when disassembling any coil over shock. Lastly, a lot of shock absorbers now,
    if not all, are gas pressurized, so welding on them will heat up the gas inside
    and create an unsafe condition that could possibly result in serious injury
    like the author mentions. If they are gas pressurized, it will always give a
    warning, usually on the bottom stating something like caution, contents are under

    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you very much for all the information and taking the time explain it all.


    1 year ago

    Nice description, but this idea is old and you find it on pintarest

    1 reply

    1 year ago

    Nice! I'm just wondering if I could modify an existing office chair since I don't weld.

    1 reply

    1 year ago

    Do these have any bounce to them with the way you put them back together, or are the shocks fixed in place now?

    If the upholstery is not completely trashed in the VW, you could salvage some foam and fabric to pad the seats.

    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    Hi, yes they still have bounce. Great idea about the seats but the are covered in mold.

    Antzy Carmasaic

    1 year ago

    I was expecting someone to sit on these in the video just to see how they react and whether it is challenging or comfortable.