Sliced Bar Stool

I recently built some custom work tables that had rectangular cut-outs along the sides for storage. Each cut-out left me with a scrap piece, and as a result, I ended up with more than 100 small pieces of 1/2″ birch plywood. Each piece was approximately 3″ x 18″.

I decided the best use of the plywood strips would be seats for a new set of barstools.


I printed out templates for each of the 10 different shapes that make up the stool top and taped them to each of the plywood strips.


After several hours of drilling and cutting on a band saw, I had a stack of rough cut pieces.


After sanding and routing the edges of each piece, it took nearly all of the table space I could find to spray them with clear lacquer.


The bases for each stool were built from scratch, as I couldn’t find any stool bases that the pieces would easily.

Stool legs

I cut the steel pieces and ground the edges for welding. To weld them in the correct place, I built a simple formwork from 2×4’s.



Then cross braces and foot rests were added:


To allow the seat sections to mount to the top frame, I cut, drilled, and ground metal “ears” and welded them to the top. These pieces will allow the seat to mount on via a threaded rod:




To protect the steel, I sprayed on a high gloss black lacquer. After assembling the first stool, I realized that I didn’t have nearly enough plastic spacers, but the first stool came out well:


To make the rest of the stools, I purchased plastic bar stock and made my own spacers on the lathe.




Here is a pair of finished stools in my kitchen:


Truck Roof Rack

After its mounting bracket rusted out, I was in need of a new place to store my spare tire. I let it bounce around in the bed for a few weeks until it got so obnoxious that I had to take action. In order to keep costs low, I decided to use some pieces of rebar and pipe that were left over from previous projects.

Truck Roof rack

I began by cutting and welding scrap pieces of steel angle to the pipes as mounting brackets that would attach to the roof of the truck cap.


I welded a scrap plate and section of pipe together to create my own rebar bender


I bent sections of rebar into wide U shapes that would form the bottom, sides, and ends of the rack. I welded all of the pieces together with a stick welder.


Once the basic frame was completed, I laid a diamond mesh across the bottom and welded brackets for a spare tire and for mounting 2 bicycle forks.


I used a rusted metal primer since the surface of the metal was fairly questionable for a basic paint.


After a black topcoat, I mounted it to the roof of my truck cap.


Truck Drawers

I recently purchased a new cap for my truck on craigslist. It didn’t quite fit correctly, but it was super cheap, and I love a project. It was going to take a decent amount of body work to make the new cap fit, so I decided to make some other modifications to the truck bed while I was already in there welding, grinding, and patching. I decided the best way to get everything organized would be to put in drawers like the kind you can find at decked.com. $1200 seemed a bit pricey for something I could build myself, so I drew up plans in Solidworks:

Truck Bed with Drawers screen grab

The full Solidworks assembly can be found on my Downloads page.

The first thing I was to weld a flange around the bed to accept the new cap. I angled the new pieces up slightly to help water run off.

Bed perimeter flange

To make the rollers that the drawers would ride on, I decided to use rollerblade wheels since they were both tough and cheap (I picked up a pair of used rollerbades at Play-It-Again Sports for about $10), I drilled out some pieces of steel angle and and welded them to the truck bed using 1/8″ plate as a spacer so that they would clear the floor of the bed.

axle mounts

I then welded some more angles together to make the rails and supports for the drawers to ride on. You can also see the bondo that was used to smooth out the top rim of the bed:

welded rails

You may notice there are some extra brackets up by the cab. Those will hold a large PVC pipe for levels, fishing rods, or anything else long and delicate.

After some sanding, everything was primed

primed bed

Then, it was time to build the drawers themselves. I dadoed the drawer bottom into the sides and ends so it would be strong enough to hold the weight of the tools and supplies I would put in there. To give it a little extra strength, I put dowel pins through the joint as well.

drawer construction

For one of the drawers, I added some rails and built 2 trays to slide along them as well as 2 simple toolboxes that fit just below the tray.

drawer trays

drawer toolbox


I screwed two more pieces of steel angle to the sides of each drawer as well as a bracket to mount another roller blade wheel. This wheel would follow the channels that I welded above the bed floor.

Finally, it was time for a test fit:

drawer test fit

In the above picture you can also see that I furred out the steel frame in order to screw down the final deck and some tie downs. I used pressure treated 2x’s that were scrap from a pergola I built for a client. Also, you can see that my spare tire is just sitting loose in the bed. It has been since the underbed mount for it rusted off last year. I’ll have to find somewhere else to put it, but that’s another project.

For the deck, I used 3/4″ Baltic birch plywood. I was lucky enough to get 2 5’x5′ pieces for a great deal because someone at the lumber yard had stabbed them with a fork truck. I split one piece in half to facilitate easy installation. I then contoured the outer edge of each half to fit around the wheel wells and tailgate latch. I also added cutouts for tie down loops that would screw directly to the frame furring and lie below the deck surface when not in use.

deck finishing

tie down

Once the new deck was installed, I cut another piece of plywood to fit between it and the cab. I cut two hatches and reattached them with cabinet hinges.


Once I installed the drawers, I used some scrap pieces of mahogany plywood for drawer fronts with some flush mount pulls.

drawers closed

In one drawer I put rails for the trays to slide on. In the other, my existing toolboxes fit perfectly (that’s actually the reason for the width of the drawers).

drawer left

drawer right

Here’s a shot of the whole system:

drawers complete