It eventually came during a trip to the ARC. To be honest I hardly ever shop there because they are way over priced...but it was Saturday, and almost everything was half off so I decided to take a look.
When I spotted these car jack things I got an idea. They were $4.99 each, but with half off, I got them both for $5. Not too bad.
I promptly took them home and got started.
First I needed to cut some barn wood to the size of the seat I wanted. I also cut a slightly smaller piece of barn wood to help me attach the seat to the car jacks...I know it is confusing but hopefully the photos will help. See why I needed the hole?
I measured the center of the smaller piece of wood and cut a circle the size of the adjustable car jack (I really have no idea what this thing is called so just go with it). To save time, since I was making two chairs, I cut them both at the same time. This Ryobi jig saw was a birthday present from my husband! Woo hoo!!
After the circle was cut I clamped the small and big piece together and drilled four holes (top left).
I added bolts to the bigger board through the four holes, with washers and nuts (top right). Then with the car jack slipped through the circle in the smaller board I put the bolts through the four holes and attached them with more washers and nuts (bottom left). Then I slid the whole thing into the rest of the car jack (bottom right).
This whole process was really a big experiment, you can see I was trying out scrap strips to see if I needed them for spacers (bottom right photo). I ended up not needing them. This was motivation enough to keep me going...
...and to continue using the car jacks to make the chairs. I did have a few reservations (which I will get to in a minute), but promptly pushed them to the back of my head. No, I'm not stubborn!
At this point I spent the better part of a week debating how I would do the seat backs. To say I am indecisive would be a HUGE understatement. One idea that I really liked was doing an X back (to match the desk), but I would have had to buy wood to piece it together, and I had already spent more than my norm. I mean these chairs were right at $6.50 each, I am used to almost totally free! Lol!
I used my Kreg Jig to drill pocket holes all along the angled end, top right photo.
Need more details on using a Kreg Jig? See my article How to use a Kreg Jig Pocket Hole System
After I had drilled the pocket holes I was going to draw an oval at the top, sort of like a handle, and cut it with my jig saw, and then it hit me!
Why not just cut and X shape with the jig saw!? So I did. I used a really advanced method of "measuring" out my X... with a scrap piece of wood. I am very high tech around here. 🙂
Oh, I did want to point out that I got my bolts, washers, and hex nuts at Home Depot for a rocking price. It was just over $7 for all of them. I got 10 bolts, 18 hex nuts, and 16 washers.
FYI: They were cheap because I bought the zinc ones, not the stainless steel. Luckily, I had spotted these as I was leaving with the stainless steel ones I had first grabbed, I switched them out in a quick hurry. The same thing in stainless steel would have been over $20, eeek.
I also debated how to finish the car jacks, and eventually decided on Oil Rubbed Bronze, which I always have on hand. I know they look black in the photos, but they are very pretty in person. Thank goodness it warmed up to at least the 40's this week so I could spray paint! I am SO not into this cold weather. 🙂
Remember my reservations I mentioned above? Well Gorilla Epoxy came to the rescue. I used it to keep my "car jack pole" from sliding around in my small wood hole. It takes five minutes to set after you mix it up and dries clear. This stuff is soooo awesome, it totally saved me. Now that pole is going NO WHERE, it is nice and solid, which makes my seat nice and sturdy.
I had also finished the barn wood pieces with three coats of poly, sanding between coats 1 and 2. It was easier to do this before I put them together. Before I did that, I used some Rustoleum's Kona stain to darken the cut ends to make them look "weathered" like the rest of the wood. I barely put any stain on the rag and rubbed some off, then lightly rubbed it on the cut pieces of all my wood.
Now it was time to put them together. Starting with my big piece and adding the bolts, then the smaller piece. I used a pair of pliers to tighten them up.
I couldn't wait to see how they looked with the desk, so I ran downstairs to try them out. They were cute, but I still needed my seat backs. I used my Gorilla wood glue and attached them with my pocket hole screws.
Since I had some scrap pieces laying around I added them to the back for a little extra support and to sort of "hide" my pocket holes. I just used my nail gun to attach them.
Here is a side shot of how they look. Can you see that one chair is taller? That is because they are adjustable! I used my extra bolts and hex nuts I had bought to put through the holes, and you can make them taller or shorter really quickly.
Here are some shots of how to adjust. Just unscrew the hex nut, remove the bolt, slide to the desired height, then secure with the bolt and nut. Easy.
My boys were excited to try out the chairs, you can see my younger boy's chair is one notch shorter, perfect for him. And leaning a little...
This is where my second reservation was realized. I knew the base was not very wide and I had worried about them being a little tipsy. Well, they were. Of course they were useable but not as sturdy as I would have liked. Ugh! Why don't I listen to the little voices in my head?
So I debated on how to fix my problem and decided that I had to add a more sturdy base, but how to do it?
More wood, of course. I cut a square the same as my smaller one on top and decided to notch out some semi-circles for the car jacks to rest in. I squared them up with the seats, and traced around the metal pieces onto the wood. Then I scored the parts I had traced with a pocket knife (very carefully). With a chisel and hammer I hacked out the wood. Then set my base inside. Perfect.
I had to finish the wood the same way, so I did my cut ends with the stain and three coats of poly. Now for that awesome Gorilla Epoxy...
Here to save me again!
Sorry it is blurry, you have to work fast when using this stuff! After I mixed it up I filled in the notched out sections with the epoxy and then set the chairs in their place, and let it set until firm.
They fit perfect and now they are very sturdy, phew...problem solved.
Aren't they pretty?
They are very unique, I mean who has chairs made out of old car jacks? (or whatever they are called) 🙂
The rustic rich barn wood is hard to resist, and I love the industrial look the metal adds.
They fit perfectly with the desk made from repurposed cabinet doors.
The best part? No more tipsy chairs!
I think it's time to call it a day.