Friday, December 14, 2012

the vintage box no-mas

Something that's a lot of fun and I love doing is perusing antique stores. Although I'm not a huge fan of traditional antiques. There's always a vintage piece, not too pricey, that can take on an entirely new purpose.

Last weekend we went perusing... my find a vintage box that was 20% off, NICE!

So what are we going to do with it? I'm thinking a well traveled off the hook bar stool.

finished product

Getting started:
stage 1 the vintage box find

The first thing that needs to happen is to construct a simple frame that will support the weight of anyone who sits on it. In this case I used 2x6 material (2) pieces laid on the bottom and (4) cut to the same length as upright supports about 3/4" below the top of the box (this will allow my seat to locate correctly).

stage 2 simple frame for good structure

Choose or make a leg style for the project and per-drill anchoring holes. Typical stool height is 24"-28" high so make sure the combined leg and workpiece don't exceed your preferred measurement.

In this shot you're looking at the upper right corner of the box (notice the 1/2" x 6" lag screw and washer this is what anchors your leg). The 2x6's laid in the bottom are crucial for structure, otherwise your legs will be wobbly and the chair unstable.
stage 3 how to secure the legs

This photo illustrates the seat structure and all the legs attached. As typical with me the piece has a modern 15deg cut to achieve the flaring effect.

stage 4 seat structure and legs attached

The backrest also needs some simple structure for support. In this case I used a 2x4" cut to length and then ripped (split) it up the middle. It's recessed about 3/4" from box edge (this allows for the backrest to locate) attached with course drywall screws through the side.

stage 5 backrest structure

Now it needs the seat and backrest. Using mdf cut two pieces to the projects inner dimension. In this case the project had a true rectangular shape making the cuts simple. I've seen this done to vintage luggage and it looks really cool. But remember structure is essential for making a functional project.

stage 6 the overall project

Because the box or luggage used in the project wasn't intended to be a chair you will need to make a dead stop and attach it to the back. My stop was a simple piece of 2x4" secured with (2) deck screws through the box into the stop and I added a rubber bushing at top (this allows the backrest to have support and a fixed position).

stage 7 the dead stop

Finish your project stain, paint, whatever the preference. Just use the proper technique for the application. I chose a stain and polyurethane for mine and used a couple of coats with a light sand between. You can finish the legs before attaching them if preferred. I personally like the position their in attached.

stage 8 finishing legs

Every comfy chair needs a good cushion. A used piece of memory foam is just perfect. I've found when working with foam material an electric knife is the only way to go, it cuts through the material clean.

stage 9 cutting foam seat and backrest

First, attach the foam to your mdf with spray adhesive. It will make attaching the material much easier.

Second, A unique cool piece like this needs fun and unique material for its upholstery. I'm thinking Faux cheetah will work nicely. Use whatever the only prerequisite make it FUN!!

Cut material so you have sufficient length all around to wrap and staple.

stage 10 putting your stamp on it

BAM!! It's about done attach the seat and backrest and step back. Now sit on it and try it out. This last step is for comfort (make adjustments where necessary/ if necessary).

stage 11 stand back and try it out

This project like most was an absolute blast. From the perusing for the right piece with the family at the antique store through its development.

Reminder, structure is essential on a project like this to make it sound and functional, take a few moments and think it out...

In the end you'll have a one off conversation piece that was a blast to make.

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