How to Build Bar Stools

Building Bar Stools

So you've got your wood, all of your other supplies, and you've measured the height of your bar or counter -- so you're ready to start building, right? Not so fast. Even those 12 inches (30 cm) you've subtracted may not be enough. Remember to subtract the height of the wood used for the seat itself, and if you plan on putting a big comfy cushion on the seat, subtract its height as well. There's nothing worse than a counter that cuts into your legs because the chair is too tall. Actually, there is -- wood particles flying in your eyes is definitely worse. So before you start using any tools and cutting wood, put on your eye protection.

To build a bar stool, you first create the legs and then attach them to the seat. Once you have measured and cut the wood for your legs, you are ready to begin. Remember, always measure twice and cut once!

You should work with one pair of legs at a time. First, you will want to make a u-shape with a pair of legs and a strip of wood that equals the width you want for your seat [source: DIY Network]. You can glue these pieces of wood together using wood glue. You'll have to make two of these per seat (so each stool will have four legs), so you may want to have a bit of an assembly line going if you plan on making a several stools. Be sure to have proper ventilation when using wood glue as the fumes can be powerful.

Once your pair of u-shapes (also known as leg assemblies) are dry, you can glue them to the seat. You should then put in stretchers, which are the bars of wood situated between the stools legs, located closer to the bottom of the legs. These strips of wood help provide support to your seat, as well as a place to rest your feet so they aren't dangling in midair. When gluing the stretchers, it's best to do the two opposite sides, let them dry, and then measure, cut and attach the remaining stretchers on the opposite sides [source: DIY Network]. This allows the wood to settle, giving you the best support and stability for your stool.

These are the most basic steps, so to make your stools a little more decorative, you may want to add designs, some kind of stain or other finish and possibly even a cloth cover for the seat.

For more information to help your DIY project succeed, visit the links below.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • Bar Fly Racers. "Barstool Racer Forum." (Accessed 3/1/09)
  • Bar Stools Plus. "Are You Looking for Bar Stools?" (Accessed 3/1/09)
  • DIY Network. "Carved Oak Barstool -- Assembly." (Accessed 3/1/09),2049,DIY_14439_2274731,00.html
  • Miller, Lori. "Bar Stools-Who Knew?" Do It Yourself. (Accessed 3/1/09)
  • Pankaj, Andy. "Build Your Own Bar Stool (In An Afternoon)." Ezine Articles. July 2, 2005. (Accessed 3/1/09)
  • Phillips, Simon. "How to Build a Bar Stool." Extreme How To. (Accessed 3/1/09)
  • Pioneer Thinking. "Build a Wooden Bar Stool." January 19, 2009. (Accessed 3/1/09)
  • Quality Barstools. "Build Your Own Wood Bar Stool Starting at $200." (Accessed 3/1/09)