Intro: Make a Simple Welded Bar Stool
This is a simple bar stool I made out of angle iron with a walnut seat.
The angle iron was recycled from some old bed frames, and the wood was from a piece of walnut that I had. The finished stool stands 25" tall.
The secret with this project is the form I made to help in precisely marking and cutting the angle iron pieces and holding them in position to weld it all together. It was a good beginner welding project for me, and hopefully there are some tips here that will help you if you're making something similar.
Step 1: Begin Making a Form
I started by creating a form to build the stool on.
This was made with scrap MDF. I cut four pieces, sized 7 1/4" by 22 1/2".
These were joined together with butted joints and fastened with screws to form an 8" square tube, that is 22 1/2" tall.
Step 2: Angled Base for Form
The base of the form was made using pieces of framing lumber that were 3 1/2" wide.
These pieces needed a bevel cut so they would angle upward to the top of the form tube.
Using a measuring tape and a bevel gauge, I found the needed angle and set my table saw blade to match. The pieces of lumber were run through the table saw to create the beveled edge as needed.
Step 3: Finish Base
The ends of the beveled pieces of lumber for the base of the form were cut at 45 degrees, and were fit around the perimeter of the form. (The corners were left with small gaps to allow the angle iron to rest against them regardless of any internal radius that might exist on the metal pieces.)
The beveled base pieces were fixed together with scrap pieces of plywood that were glued and nailed in place. This base perimeter section was not fixed to the upright tube portion - it fits snugly but can be slid off and removed if needed.
Step 4: Mark and Cut Legs
The beauty of using this form is that it helps you precisely mark the legs where they need to be cut. There's no real measuring - just hold a piece of metal in place and make the marks.
The lower end of each leg was marked and cut first. To mark these, the corner of the form was hung over the edge of the table and the metal held in place as shown. Using a paint pen, the insides of the metal angle are marked using the form as a guide.
The bottom ends were then cut using my portable bandsaw which I have mounted in a homemade stand. I wrote a full Instructable on my bandsaw stand here.
With the leg bottoms cut, the pieces are placed back on the form and the top ends marked in the same fashion, and then cut as well. See photos for details if this description is unclear.
Step 5: Stool Top
The top of the stool was made with four pieces of angle iron.
These were marked using a framing square and paint pen, and cut using my portable bandsaw.
These pieces were tack-welded together, and then removed from the form to receive a full bead weld on each joint. I have this welder, and am mostly self-taught; however, Instructables has a great welding class which has loads of information for anyone wanting to learn the basics.
They are not shown in these photos, but at this point I drilled several holes in the top of this piece through which the wooden seat will be fastened with screws later on.
Step 6: Portable Vise
Here's a little mini-instructable: I recently mounted my vise onto a ridiculously heavy maple log, which was then bolted to a large brake rotor. The top of the vise stands about 36" from the ground, and I've found it be incredibly useful to have my vise somewhat portable like this. I drag it around the shop to where I need it, and it's great.
Just a side note ;)
Step 7: Footrest
Pieces of iron were now cut to create a footrest/lower frame support for the stool.
These pieces are 12" long, with a 45 degree angle cut where they meet at the corners. Magnets were used to hold the pieces in a perfect square, and they were tack-welded first, and then got a full bead welded at each joint.
Step 8: Finish Welding Stool Frame, Clean Up Welds
The footrest/lower support piece was held in place with support blocks on the form with the legs and stool top piece.
All of these parts were then welded together.
Tabs made of scrap metal were welded to the bottoms of each foot as well.
At this point, all accessible welds were cleaned up with a 40-grit flap disk on an angle grinder.
Step 9: Seat
I have had this half-log of walnut for several years, and figured now was as good a time as ever to use it!
I began by squaring it up using my bandsaw, and slicing the main chunk into two, 2 1/4" thick boards.
These boards were cleaned up further by running them through my planer. Two seats were made, one of which was used on the stool shown in this Instructable.
The final seats are 2" thick and 10" square. The edges were routed with a roundover bit and all surfaces were sanded from 100 to 220 grit with an orbital sander. The pieces were finished with coats of poly-oil finish, which is brushed on and rubbed off with a rag, and repeated after 24 hours.
Step 10: Paint
The stool frame was spray painted first with a coat of primer, and then with a couple of coats of satin black.
Felt stick-on leg tips were added to the tabs on the bottoms of the legs.
Step 11: Fasten Wooden Seat
The wooden seat was fastened to the stool frame with screws from the underside, into pre-drilled holes.
I plan to make a few more, only using different varieties of wood for the seats. It's a simple design, but robust and heavy duty. Thanks for reading!