DIY Round Top Bar Stools

Good news: the new saw works like a beauty! I (mostly) finished my first project with it this week and everything went off without a hitch … in regards to the saw at least …

Let’s get to it: build your own bar stools. Our countertop bar is 47” high, which is super tall. To fit properly, these bar stools are 33” tall.

It’s still too cold here in Minnesota to paint, and these stools are presenting some challenges as I figure out how to assemble them (I’m still learning). As a result, it’s taking me a little longer than I had hoped to finish the build. So, I’ve decided to try something different. Rather than post photos of my building process, I learned SketchUp this week and drew up a more “official” set of plans! Of course, I’ve also included some photos of my build process to help clarify the SketchUp plans.

It doesn’t take too long to complete one stool, but when you multiply that times however many stools you need, it can become quite the endeavor. I started with three stools, which wasn’t too bad. The worst part was definitely sanding the legs. I know the math behind that one is obvious, but three bar stools means twelve legs and each leg has four sides … which is a lot of sides … I didn’t really pay attention to that until I started sanding … it got a little old after about, ohhhhh, let’s say leg number three. But it’s worth it in the end! And that’s what I kept telling myself as I sat there with my hand going numb for hours on end with the sander …

Anyways, let’s get to the plans! I’ve written everything up for one barstool. Adjust as necessary for the number of stools you need.

Lumber:

  • 1 | 2×2 – 8ft
  • 1 | 1×2 – 6ft
  • 1 | 12” Round Edge Glued Board

Cuts:

  • 4 | 1×2 @ 4” along short side with 5° perpendicular miter (Top Brace)
  • 2 | 1×2 @ 5” along short side with 5° perpendicular miter (Brace)
  • 2 | 1×2 @ 6-1/2” along short side with 5° perpendicular miter (Brace)
  • 2 | 1×2 @ 5-1/4” along short side with 5° perpendicular miter (Brace)
  • 2 | 1×2 @ 6-3/4” along short side with 5° perpendicular miter (Brace)
  • 4 | 2×2 @ 32-9/16” with 5° miter and 5° bevel parallel (Legs)

Tools & Supplies:

  • Miter Saw
  • Orbital Sander
  • Kreg Jig & Bits
  • 1-1/4” Pocket Hole Screws
  • Drill
  • Wood Glue

Let me clarify the stool legs a bit before we get too crazy with the plans here.

Number 1: The stool legs will have both a miter and a bevel which will allow them to angle toward the center of your stool top (like a standard round stool). The ends will all be parallel to each other, so you just have to slide your board along the saw from your first cut to your second cut. No need to flip the 2×2 over or anything like that. I only turned my 2×2 over and over and over approximately 1.2 bazillion times to figure this out …

Number 2: Because the legs are angled, the length you cut is not exactly the stool height you end up with. If you want a stool that is exactly 33” tall, the legs will actually be 32-9/16”. You can adjust for this using triangles and some trigonometry … or you can just cut the legs to the height of your stool (minus the thickness of the stool top) because it won’t make that much of a difference.

Number 3: Mark the tallest corner of your stool legs as you cut them. It’s hard to tell which corner goes toward the center of your stool since they are only at a 5° slant. Like so:

Now, on to the plans!

Download Bar Stool Plan Set PDF or follow along below.


Step 1.

Attach two stool legs with a 4” top brace. I centered the top brace on the legs, but that’s up to you. It won’t affect the overall dimensions if you line it up off-center or flush with the front or back of your legs. Repeat for the other two legs.

You should now have two leg frames that look like the frame shown above.

Since I made three stools, I had quite a pile of frames at this point:

And yes … that’s my kitchen. It got too cold to assemble these outside. I just couldn’t stand out in the garage any longer, so the kitchen island became the new workbench 🙂

Step 2.

Add a 5” brace and a 6-1/2” brace. They will split the stool approximately into thirds. Don’t worry too much about placement. Simple slide them to where they fit snugly against the legs.

Repeat for the other leg frame. You should now have two leg frames that look like this:

In real life:

The cross pieces are all drilled and attached on the back side of the frame. I filled the pocket holes with wood and glue at the end, which covered them pretty nicely. But I still wanted to place them toward the inside of the stool so they were a little less obvious.

Step 3.

Attach the leg frames to each other with 4” top braces.

Step 4.

Add a 5-1/4” brace and a 6-3/4” brace between the leg frames.

These braces will be offset about 1” below the first set of braces. Again, don’t worry too much about placement. Simple slide them to where they fit snugly against the legs.

Viewed directly from the side, you should have a frame that looks like this:

Step 5.

Attach the seat-top of the stool from its underside.

Fill all visible pocket holes with wood and wood glue. I like to use the Kreg wood pocket hole plugs (available at Home Depot or any other home improvement store). 

After placing the pocket hole plugs and allowing to dry, sand them down and finish up with your favorite stain or paint.

There you have it. One bar stool ready to go!

Let me just say that my kreg jig definitely got a good workout with this project …

If you want to adjust the plans and use dowels instead of 1x2s for all the braces, I’d say that might be a good idea. I don’t know what I was thinking using 1x2s for everything … but alas, I survived.

I hope the SketchUp plans are clear and easy to understand. Let me know of any questions or comments you have!

 

 

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