Plywood is actually pretty cool stuff. It’s a terrific option for a lot of builds, but usually you’ll want to find a way to cover those edges. However, if the look you are going for is more modern you can consider leaving them showing.
I created this stool using a single 2×4 sheet of 3/4″ birch plywood and some tapered legs. This look would also be great for a bar stool.
What you’ll need
1 – 2×4′ sheet 3/4″ plywood
4 tapered legs and hardware
stain (*optional. I used General Finishes water based white wash)
2 1/2″ long router bit
circle cutting jig (I used a scrap piece of 1/4″ ply)
pour on epoxy
How to build a plywood stool
Rip the plywood into strips. The width of your strip determines the thickness of the stool seat. Mine is about 2 1/2 inches.
Cut the ripped boards in half on the miter saw.
Glue and press the boards together. Try to line them up as perfectly as possible. Do not be sparing on the glue. At all.
Clamp it up tight and let it dry for a day or so.
Here’s the thing: The thicker you make the stool seat, the longer your router bit will need to be. I needed a 2 1/2″ bit. Fortunately I live close to a Woodcraft store, because I didn’t take that part into account when I cut the strips. Heads up so you don’t make the same mistake! (This is the one I used, by the way.)
You’ll need a small circle cut jig to cut the seat out. Bear in mind that the bit should be very sharp, because there is a risk of tear out cutting this into a circle. A spiral bit would work best, but a straight bit is less expensive.
My jig is simply a straight piece of ply, about 6″ wide. Screw one end to the dead center of the piece you are cutting out (the bottom of the piece), and drill a hole in the other end at the radius you want to cut. Attach the router to the board and – wallah! – you have a circle cut jig that didn’t cost you a thing.
I don’t have a photo of the cut out process. Probably should have recorded it, but, well, that didn’t happen. You’ll want to lower the router bit just a bit with each pass until you cut through the board. Here’s a video tutorial I found on YouTube for cutting circles with the router for reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29l1Bg4fcn8
You can choose to make the diameter of the stool seat a little larger than I did if you like. Mine is 13″ in diameter for the simple reason that I wanted to be lazy and run it through my planar. That did cause a bit more tear out, possibly because my blades were pretty worn out, but possibly it would have happened, anyway. In any event, sand it smooth.
Stain or leave bare. I used a water based white wash by General Finishes, then sanded it back a bit. Not sure I love the look, but I do love General Finishes stains and can whole heartedly recommend them.
Pick up one of these little 8oz containers of pour on epoxy. I used the entire thing. Mix following the instructions exactly, coating the sides and top. Be sure to stick around for a while to make sure it doesn’t drip.
Give it a day to cure, and there you have it!
Love that shiny top!
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!