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Completed bar stools in an outdoor area around a drinking island with two beers

Overview

Bar stools are a great addition to any kitchen or outdoor living area. With just a few pieces of dowel and some plywood, you can make them yourself and completely transform the look and function of a space.

Steps

1Cut your timber

The first step is to cut all the timber. Here's our cut list for this project:

30mm plywood

  • 300mm diameter circle (seat)

35mm F17 Tasmanian oak dowel

  • 700mm x 4 (legs)

25mm F17 Tasmanian oak dowel

  • 230mm x 2 (supports)
  • 240mm x 2 (supports)

2Measure and mark for the diameter of the stool top

Clamp the ply to the workbench. Measure and mark the ply to find the centre point. We're making our bar stool seat 300mm in diameter. Drill a hole in the centre to attach the router arm. Set the router arm to 150mm.
A panel of wood being measured for a bar stool seat to be cut from it

3Cut out the stool top

Screw the router arm into the centre point. Place timber offcuts under the ply to allow enough room to make the cut. Clamp the ply in place so that it can't move. Cut out the top of the bar stool with the router.
A circular stool seat being cut from a square wooden panel with a router

4Cut the dowel

Use the mitre saw to cut the dowel to a manageable length.
A mitre saw cutting a bar stool leg from a length of dowel

5Tape the legs together

Lay the 4 legs on the workbench and use masking tape to secure them.
Lengths of dowel being taped together to cut bar stool legs of a matching length

6Cut the legs

Set the mitre saw to a 15-degree angle. Cut the 4 taped legs near the end.
Bar stool legs being cut with a mitre saw

7Measure and mark for the length of the legs

With the legs still taped together, measure and mark the length of the legs for the bar stool. Ours were 700mm.
Lengths of dowel being marked for cutting bar stool legs

8Cut the legs to size

Make sure the mitre saw is set to a 15-degree angle. Cut the 4 legs for the stool to size.
A mitre saw being used to cut several bar stool legs at once

9Measure and mark for the supports

Our first support is 200mm up from the bottom of the legs. Use the set square to measure and mark 200mm up from the bottom of the legs.
Bar stool legs being measured together

10Drill the holes in the dowel

Clamp the 4 pieces of dowel to the workbench. Use the 25mm spade bit to drill the four holes in the dowel.
Holes being drilled into stool legs

11Measure and mark for the second supports

Rotate the dowel so that the holes you've drilled face each other. Re-tape the dowel so they don't move. Measure and mark 250mm up from the bottom of the legs.
Several lengths of wide dowel being marked for cutting

12Drill the holes for the supports

Clamp the dowel to the workbench. Use the 25mm spade bit to drill the four holes for the second supports. Drill to a depth of about 10mm.
A drill bit being used to cut holes for a support rail in bar stool legs

13Measure and mark for the legs in the top of the stool

Find the centre point on the top of the stool and position the four legs an equal distance apart from that point. On a grid, our legs were positioned 50mm and 140mm apart.
Positions for stool seat legs being marked with a ruler and pencil

14Pre-drill the holes in the top of the stool

Clamp the top of the stool to the workbench. Use the 2.5mm drill bit to pre-drill the holes for the legs to be attached to.
Holes being drilled into a stool seat

15Apply glue for the supports

Apply the PVA glue into the holes for the supports. Use the 2.5mm drill bit to pre-drill holes to attach the supports.
Foot rails being glued into place in a bar stool leg

16Attach the supports

Push the supports into the holes in the legs. You might want to use a rubber mallet to gently tap them into place. Use the drill and 30mm timber screws to attach the supports to the legs. Once both sides of the legs for the stool are complete, join them together with glue and screws
Stool legs being drilled to secure a foot rail

17Attach the seat to the legs

Apply glue to the top of the legs for the stool. Use the drill and the 40mm timber screws to secure the top of the stool to the legs. Screw from the top of the stool, make sure the tip is just poking out of the base, before screwing into the legs.
Holes being drilled into a stool seat

18Putty any holes

Putty any holes with wood putty. Leave it to dry. Sand the stool with some 120-grit sandpaper. Hand sand the dowel legs and wipe away any dust.
Putty being used to fill screw holes in a bar stool seat

19Paint the stool

You can choose whatever colour paint you want, depending on the look you're going for, we chose black. Paint your stool in a well ventilated room and then let it dry.
A finished bar stool being spray painted black

20Put the stool in place

And there you have it, a fantastic looking bar stool that you made yourself. Make as many as you need and find a place for them at the kitchen bench, a bar or outdoor entertaining area.
Completed bar stools in an outdoor area around a drinking island with two beers

Suggested products

More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.