Thinking about how you can build your own swing out stools on your workbench? Check out this project where I added stools that swing under my workbench!
Things I Used In This Swing Out Stools Project:
Woodpeckers Speed Square
Woodpeckers Straight Edge
Woodpeckers 12″ Square
ISOtunes Bluetooth Hearing Protection
RIDGID Round Shop Vac
Universal Small Port Hose Kit
Dust Right Separator
Titebond Original Wood Glue
Rockler Surefoot Clamps
Infinity Spiral Bit
Triton Router Table
Infinity Round Over Bit
I am starting off the with the three legged stool that goes all the way to the ground. These are made from 3/4” plywood and kinda have a spoke sort of design to support the legs. A smaller spoke at the very top that connects all three but will also give me a flat surface to attach the base to the seat later on. Then another, larger spoke down the legs to support the base some and also give my feet a place to rest.
I took the time to 3D model the stool first so I knew exactly how big I needed to make everything, then use a few woodpeckers measuring and marking tools to draw it out on good size cut off of 3/4” ply. However, if you are interested in making your own, I do have a free download for both spokes available here.
Once I had the spoke drawn out, I took it to the bandsaw to cutout. If you want to make more than one stool, I recommend cutting material for the number you want, then taping them all together with painters tape. This way you can cut the pattern once but make the total number of spokes you need with it.
Next I took the left over cut off to the table saw and cut a few legs. Since I want the legs kicked out like this instead of straight up and down, I used a speed square to mark off a 10 degree angle on both the top and bottom, then again used the bandsaw to cut these angles out. If you do this, I recommend grabbing the miter gauge and setting it to 10 degrees so you can get a straight cut rather than pushing it through my hand.
Then last cutting detail for the legs is I added a small taper so the top of the leg would be chunkier than the bottom. After coming in at the bottom, I used a straight edge to connect it to the top and also cut it out using the bandsaw. Now you can see the slight taper this gives the legs.
Alrighty now to clean these parts up. I moved my new dust collection cart over to my workbench, hooked up shop vac, flipped my belt sander on it’s back, then started smoothing out the edges on all my parts.
I originally thought I would paint or stain these bases a dark brown because I honestly want the seats to be the focus. However, I really started to dig the look of these plywood parts and decided to leave them as raw looking as possible. But before moving into finish I stuck a round over bit into my router table and ran each part through.
And that’s the majority of the project done. This is a super quick one but looks great in my opinion. If you’re needing seating for a bar area, garage, or shop then don’t put it off because you can easily knock this out in a single day.
For assembly, I started off with the smaller spoke at the very top, and placed Titebond original in all the cut outs, then shimmied the legs one by one into their spot.
After getting all three in, I repeated with glue and placement of the larger spoke. I placed this one at a height that was comfortable for my feet to be propped up on. After getting it roughly where I intended it, I use a small level to make sure it was level across all three legs. Checking to make sure my workbench was level first, before using it as a reference for the spoke.
After letting those sit up over night to dry I went ahead and took my belt sander to each top just to clean it up a bit and make sure it was nice and flat.
Then last thing before attaching the seats, I cleaned off each one and gave them four coats of spray lacquer. This hardly changes the tint or shade of the plywood so it stays that raw look I was going after, but does give it some protection.
With the seats being made from solid wood, I didn’t want to just screw the base directly into it, and I was planning on using those Z clip or figure 8 fasteners but a buddy suggested I drill an oversize hole through the base for the screw to pass through, then add a washer to the head. The trick is you don’t want to over tighten the screw so that the washer can’t move. By only tightening down enough for the seat to be secure but allowing the washer to move freely, the seat can move if the wood wants to. I liked this method as it meant I didn’t have to wait on ordered hardware so I tried it out.
That’s one! And I must say, they feel pretty darn secure and I was/am really happy with the way they came out. I honestly never would have thought I would end up liking the raw plywood base look as much as I do. Next I repeated until all four were secured and sittable.
With those knocked out, lets get to the more complicated but fun one shall we? For the four remaining seats I switched gears completely and made some swing out swiveling shop seats that have a supersized speed square design as the support. That’s 9 Ss if you weren’t counting. ; )
I thought of a speed square only because the shape lends itself so perfect for the supportive base. I recently added a 4×8 Laguna CNC to my shop ….I’ll be putting out a stand alone video on that soon, so stay tuned for lots of details.
Since I wanted the speed square to be two tone, I first painted a section of plywood silver then after it was dry, taped off the silver portion before setting the machine to carve out four squares.
Each seat is made up of two that will be glued together. Once the engraving pass was complete I spray painted the markings black then set the machine to cut out the empty spaces and perimeter.
After getting the squares cut I then had the tedious task of pealing off the tape. I thought this would come off in a few big pieces and have this awesome reveal for y’all, but it didn’t. So I’ll skip to the end and show you the results. Pretty cool huh??
Like I said earlier, each seat is made up of two squares glued together so next I applied glue to the inside face and set weights on it until dry.
Next up was making a flange that will rest on the top of the square assembly to give a flat surface for me to later mount the seat to. This is also made from 3/4” plywood, and I started by cutting a wide board at the tabelsaw then using a square to mark the center of the board so I could cut in a stop dado wide enough for the square assembly to snuggly fit into.
Since I didn’t want this dado to go all the way from one side of the board to the other, I set up a straight bit in my router table to make this cut. I clamped a scrap into place on my router fence to act as a stop for my workpiece, then also set the fence’s depth away the blade so the dado would start where I needed it. After a few passes I got to the width I was needing to slip the square snuggly into place.
So far so good but lets refine it a little bit. Instead of having just a big rectangle, this stop dado dies off in a curve that will later be used as a pivot point. Then I also marked off the sides so I could remove the bulk wood here and slim down the profile in order to create kinda pedestal on the end where the seat will later go. After marking off a shape I liked, I took it to the bandsaw to cut out. Moving the fence to the distance needed to get a nice straight cut.
While at the bandsaw, I also taped together some small pieces and made the same rounded shape that I did on the end of the stop dado portion to create some reinforcement pieces for the pivots points. I glued these parts together to be drying while I moved on to cleaning up all the parts I just made, on the belt sander.
Then it was time to start assembling, For this I’m using Titebond original once again, since this seat is inside. I applied glue to all the dados then started sticking the pieces in their place. First placing on the top flange with the seat mount, then the back portion then the doubled up pivots. I stuck that in clamps the best I could, then set it aside to start drying.
While I was waiting on that, I started cutting and build a mating mount that would attach to my workbench leg and give me a way to connect this square assembly to. This is also made from plywood, but I’m thinking of doing another rendition in the future where I keep the wooden square but make the rest from metal.
After getting the first portion of the mount glueing up, I took the down time to start painting the square assembly. I painted the entire frame black then the rest of the speed square parts silver. And just a tip for you: when only working with a rattle can paint but not wanting to take the time to tape off anything and everything that doesn’t need to get painted, I grabbed a foam brush and sprayed some directly on it then dabbed it on. This has saved my neck a few times and works really well.
I let the paint dry then used this finished assembly to mark off where on the bench mount I needed to place the second pivot point. I did it this way because I wanted to make sure it was the tightest fit as possible. Once I had the location of the second tabs sorted, I added a few more reinforcement pieces then set it in clamps to dry before throwing on a coat of paint so it would match the other.
Alright, now it was time to drill holes for all the hardware going in this thing. I’ll be using a piece of all thread at the pivot point so I started by drilling these holes. The important thing here is that these holes on in line with one another so I used some simple wooden block as a drill guide. Also, I do recommend drilling these at a drill press but mine was giving me issues and I didn’t want to stop and mess with it so I did these by hand.
Next I drilled holes through the back and these will be for the bolts to connect it to the workbench leg. After getting these drilled through the wooden mount, I clamped it to the workbench and drilled the same holes through the leg. I placed this on the inside of the leg so that the seat could fold up under the bench when I’m not using it and be completely out of the way.
Now onto all the hardware, like I said before I’m going with a piece of all thread to connect everything and create a pivot. There are also some nuts, washers, and bolts thrown in there. Oh and just a tip if you do this, I would chuck this up in a drill and use it’s power to help get the rod all the way through the pieces.
Next I mounted it to my workbench then tested it out. You can probably imagine, it was prreeety nerve wracking sitting on it the first time. Ok….things held together so I moved forward with mounting a seat on it!
I order some swivels so the seat would rotate independently from the base itself. I first attached this to the mount with some screws and washers, then set he seat in place, and attached it to the underside. And that’s it!
Oh and on this second one, you’ll see it’s mounted on the end of the workbench instead of the long side like the other….that’s because the apron under the workbench is so much lower on this side, my knees would have been knocking into it. Which is fine, now I’ll have a seat I can use on the end as well as the long side.
I love the way this project turned out, I think it’s fun and pretty darn cool. Overall the seats do feel good, but of course they haven’t experienced much use yet so we’ll see how well they hold up. If they end up failing then I’m going to explore making the mounting portion out of metal instead of wood. Of course if I make modifications I will be sure to bring a camera along to show y’all. I’ll see you on my next project.
I have a fresh batch of plywood mallets now listed on my website. If you’d like to pick one up for your shop, then check those out here
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