Wheel Stool




About: Furniture hacker. Author of Guerilla Furniture Design, out now. Find me on Twitter and Instagram @objectguerilla.

I made this chair from a wheelbarrow a couple weeks ago. Like Indians using every scrap of the bison for something, I saved the wheel for some unspecified future project. It eventually struck me that the tire could make a nice stool. Unfortunately, I thought of the idea on the way back from the dump, where I had just thrown away the handles from the former wheelbarrow. They could have been used for the legs, making the circle of life a little more complete. In lieu of handle-legs, I was able to use the leftover 2x4 scrap from the legs on the Wheelbarrow Chair to make the legs for the stool.

The form is kind of a knock-off of the claw-foot, wooden screw type of organ stools. It would also make a nice stool for a drummer, or considered a post-modern commentary on Marcel Duchamp's famous "readymade" mash-up of a stool and a bicycle wheel.

The wheel still spins, and a little red paint gives it a jaunty air, perfect for the living room, porch, or basement.

For sale here.

Step 1: Core & Legs

The core of the stool is made from some scraps of 3/4" bamboo plywood. I cut the shapes shown on a bandsaw, then laminated two of each together with urethane glue, which is good for non-porous surfaces. Bamboo plywood is very hard and very dense, which makes it difficult to work and glue, but exceptionally strong. Lacking access to bamboo plywood, just make the pieces out of regular plywood or a dense hardwood like oak. The pieces have a 37 degree angle to the sides, and are approximately 4" from top to bottom. The width at the top is 1-1/2", same as the width of each piece and each leg. The bottom plate is 1/4" bamboo plywood.

The legs were also cut on a bandsaw, at 15" long, tapering from 2-1/4" to 1-1/4" at the bottom. They are pine, from old 2x4 scrap.

Once the pieces are cut, slather them up with some more urethane glue and stick 'em together. Screw on the base plate to hold everything in place as the glue cures, or use big clamps. Make sure everything is square before you screw them together. Urethane glue (Gorilla Glue) need water to work properly, so dampen the wood first with a sponge. It also expands a tremendous amount as it cures, so either wipe it off as it comes out, or cut it away with a razor after.

Step 2: Adding the Legs

To get the angle at which the legs should hit flat on the floor, set the legs against the core piece and scribe a line across with a straightedge, then trim them down.

Drill pilot holes and glue and screw the legs in place. Be careful to offset the screws so they 1) don't start a split in the pine, and 2) so the screws are centered in the width of each piece of plywood. If you center them on the total width of the plywood, the screws could go into the glue joint between the pieces and force them apart. I used 3" coarse thread drywall screws. Galvanized deck screws could also be used.

Step 3: Wheel

Cut the flange off one side of the wheel with a Dremel or angle grinder. This will provide "butt space". Then, tape off the tire and sand, scrape, and re-paint the rim. I chose a jaunty red.

Step 4: Axle

In place of the original axle, I used a 5/8" threaded rod. Dimensions on your wheel may vary. Drill a hole in the center of the core block with a 9/16" bit, or 1/16" less than the diameter of the rod. I went down three inches. Squirt a little urethane glue in the hole to make sure the rod is seated securely, and screw it down into place using some vise grips. Put the grips on the bar code label to prevent damage to the threads.

I drilled a hole in an old chair and screwed the frame into it upside-down to sand and polyurethane it. You could pop a hole in a scrap of wood or your workbench.

Trim the rod down to the total height from floor to tip is around 17".

Step 5: Tourniquet

If you have read any of my other instructables, you may have noticed a propensity for adding this turnbuckle-type system on the legs. It achieves a couple things -- the tension element tightens the top screw joints by pulling against them, the strings prevent the tendency for the legs to spread when loaded, and the amount of torque you can put into it helps level the slight differences in the legs so that the stool with sit evenly on the floor.

Drill a hole in each leg about 1" up from the end. Loop string through opposite legs, hiding the knots in the hole. I used nylon string -- you want something really strong. It may be hard to see in the photo, but I weaved the string through one another, then inserted a nail and twisted it on the diagonal. Trim or blunt the sharp end of the nail first. Once it's tight enough to strum a tune on, tie it off.

Step 6: Finishing Up

Put a nut on the rod, tightening it down to the wood. Add a second, with a washer, for the axle to rest on. Then add the wheel, with some Vaseline for lubrication, and bolt on the top. Unlike what you see here, use a jam nut on top -- it's a kind of nut that is half the thickness of a normal one, which provides more "butt space."

All done. Sit down and take a swivel.



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    12 Discussions


    2 years ago

    iron or wooden top make it big coffee table.

    a leather seat on wheel make it a seating stool.

    then it became multi use stool.



    6 years ago on Introduction

    this is awesome :) though that bolt looks painful maybe get a bolt with a large flattish rounded head. this gave me the idea to (with a lot of tires) to make an outdoor bench/sofa but have the tires vertical, maybe cut them in half or into strips, flatten them out and bolt them to a metal frame. also a large tractor tire would make an awesome man-chair if you filled the inside with wood (or metal/the original hub for structure) then some padding in leather or something and youve got youself a chair fit for any man guy


    7 years ago on Introduction

    What do you know about the piano stool with the clawed feet in your instructable? I received one just like it from a fellow freecycler and stripped off so many layers of paint but restoring it was worth the effort. There was no tag, label or makers' mark on the stool I refinished but it looks exactly like yours. Thanks for any info you might have. Jim

    Tye 9

    7 years ago on Introduction

    That seat and the legs from my stool would look awesome. https://www.instructables.com/id/Turned-stool/


    10 years ago on Introduction

    That's beautiful, though stuffing the middle with some kind of padding definitely seems crucial for comfort.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    maybe add a piece of plexiglass or summat, so you can still see the wheel, but not have to clean it out or worry about "bolt-butt" syndrome - ha.

    1 reply

    10 years ago on Introduction

    Great mash-up! With the tire as the seat, I would imagine it would be fairly comfortable. I love your work! Keep it up!