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Knocked Off: Vintage Barstools

Barstools are expensive, very expensive. Who knew? I sure didn’t! So when I saw that Ana had pinned this vintage style barstool, I very generously offered to build them for her ;) Aren’t I so nice? Haha!

Her inspiration stool had a vintage, chippy finish, and I wanted to do something similar. I made mine a lot “chippier” than the original, and I’m not quite sold on them yet. They kind of remind me of pinto ponies. But they’re growing on me.

I wanted them to look like I had just stumbled on them in somebody’s old barn, waiting for me to come along and rescue them. For the most part I’m happy with the finish, though I may take my sander back to them and work off a little more paint. Perhaps if I hadn’t chosen two such contrasting colors it wouldn’t be such a hard sell. Considering they only set me back $20 each, I wasn’t too afraid to experiment on them. Considering what you can buy for $20 in the store, this is a massive upgrade!

What sold me on this design were all the details. I love the ladder backs, and the decorative insets on the legs. I used the Kreg quite a bit, and you can see my plugs if you look closely enough. These are solid as a rock, even though two have a slight wobble I’ll have to cure with furniture pads ;) They fit in quite nicely with my other Ana pieces.

This open living space features a Farmhouse Table, Rustic Bench, Apothecary Coffee Table, $5 Gallery, and now some Vintage Barstools. That’s quite a few handbuilt pieces! I think I’m a certifiable buildaholic.

These stools took a much longer time to build than anything I’ve done lately, and I’m not exactly sure why. The cutting was quick, as was pre-drilling pocket holes with my Kreg jig. It took a bit longer to put them together since I typically don’t spend this much time measuring and placing my pieces. Despite all the extra effort, I still have two stools that wobble. I’ve heard chairs are the hardest things to build because of that, so I don’t feel horribly bad. Plus the finishing took quite a few steps, from filling the pocket holes with plugs, sanding, staining, smearing vaseline everywhere, painting a layer of red, then two layers of white, more sanding and then a topcoat of glaze really ate up the naptimes! I started these on Sunday and just now finished them up. Whew! But they were worth it.

Especially since the inspiration stools were a whopping $345 EACH! Um, yeah. I’ll take the effort over the cash any day of the week. I plan to write up a finishing tutorial for my chippy look, just in case somebody else loves how these look (and I have to admit, the more I look at them the more they grow on me). Now to throw a party and put them to good use!

Important!

Find the plans HERE to build your own!


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21 comments

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  1. Ashley @design build love

    Holy moly!!!! These are amazing! I absolutely love all of the detail and they are so unique! I’ve been dying to build so many things…. I’ve got the building itch! But I’m trying to focus on one project at a time- get the closet kit finished for my sister-in-law and then get to building our custom double-desk… then, we’ll see! :)

    1. I’m excited to see what you have up your sleeve! A double desk sounds quite fancy

  2. Scabs (@eatmyscabs)

    say what??!!! You actually built these? As in, piece by piece? That’s impressive. They look great. I wish i had that kind of building confidence. Where did you learn you skills?

    1. Thank you so much! It’s kind of a long story, but to sum it up *sorta*: After I left my ex-asshole I needed an “I am woman hear me ROAR” moment and decided to build some knock-off LACK bookcases out of 2×12 solid wood. So I enlisted a coworker for his SUV and saw, and had him help me build two of them for less than half of what ONE new one cost! After that I took a break until I found Ana-White.com, which is the most amazing and wonderful website in the world. This was in the old days when she just had a few plans, and I decided I wanted to build her Farmhouse Bed for myself. I drove my Honda sedan down to my dad’s house, raided his barn, and he helped me cut it up using her cut list and load an entire queen sized bed’s worth of lumber into my tiny car to drive 2.5 hours back to my apartment, where I strong-armed my fiancĂ© into helping me put it together. Which is also when I found out we’re horrible building partners ;) I built that amazing, solid wood bed using reclaimed wood for only $16, and I was HOOKED. Now I contribute for Ana’s site (hence these stools) and am starting a fledgling furniture business, just really slowly. You really should check out her website, her plans are so simple to follow. She gives you a supply list, a cut list, and detailed step-by-step instructions. Not at all like the scary diagrams using fancy tools in the woodworking magazines. Once I had a few dozen of her projects under my belt, I started making up my own. And I love it! It’s the most empowering thing in the world to see the shock on people’s faces when I tell them, “I built that!”

  3. Tammy Killough

    I’m also a build a holic….although…I have to admit…i’ve NEVER built anything quite so industrious. My stuff is remakes….so this seems scary to me. What an amazing job. I’m impressed….and that….doesn’t come easy! Love your blog!!! In fact…I’m your newest fan/subscriber! Tammy@ http://www.dejavuedesigns.com.

    1. Thank you Tammy! Have you ever checked out Ana-White.com? She’s the reason I feel so confident when I build complicated projects! Her plans are so easy to accomplish. She gives you a supply list, a cut list, and easy-to-follow step by step instructions with images. These stools were what I’d consider an “intermediate” project, but it’s very do-able. I encourage you to go check out her stuff!

      1. Tammy Killough

        Oh…yes….I’m a HUGE fan of Ana White….she’s actually how I found YOU!!! lol I’ve been meaning to try some of her patterns…just haven’t had the time…It’s been a little crazy at my house!!! Thank You!!! You’re an inspiration!

  4. Emily Frazier

    This are so cool. I will have to make me a set. I have to agree with killer b about Ana Whites website. Dont go there if you dont want to be hooked. I cant log on to a computer without seeing what she has on there today. I found these stools and added them to my project book. Killer B these are really great stools. I am glad you were able to share.

    1. Thank you so much Emily!

  5. Gato

    These are awesome! Anxiously awaiting your post on how you finished these.

    1. Thanks Gato! My tutorial on the finishing can be found here http://www.killerbdesigns.com/vintage-chippy-finish-tutorial/

  6. Lianna

    I love your chippy chairs! They’re gorgeous and I LOVE your whole living space! I have just built two farmhouse bedside tables (Thank You Ana White!!! My Girl Crush!!!) and I want the “chippy” look at the bottom of the legs. Do you mind explaining the steps in more detail? Right now I have my base coat on the table legs but I don’t know how the Vaseline works? Many thanks!

    1. Here’s the link to my tutorial: http://www.killerbdesigns.com/vintage-chippy-finish-tutorial/ . Basically the Vaseline acts as a barrier between layers, making it much easier to sand off the top layer since it’s not sticking to the layer below. It’s an extra step in prep, but makes the distressing SO much faster!

  7. Tonya Smith

    I was wondering what kind of wood you used on these stools. You said they were only $20.00 each. Did you use the whiteboard? I love these stools and I think I might try and tackle this project. I agree with you and everybody else, Ana White’s website is so awesome!!!! I wish I had more time to just build, build, build!!!

    1. Tonya I used plain old pine, and the 2×4′s were furring strips. They’re hard to use sometimes because they can get really warped, but if you do a lot of digging you can find the good, straight ones. For the 1×2′s I stepped up one category and got the whitewood above furring strips, but not “premium pine”. I think you’re going to love them!

  8. Tonya Smith

    I am in the process of building my first one and I must say I am proud of myself. I have it built, just need to sand it, and paint it. Oh, and I forgot to put the decorative pieces in the corners so I will have to attach them too. As soon as I finish I will post a picture. It is definitely hard work especially for my first one but it is going to be worth it. I know I will just love it as soon as a put the finish on and I can’t wait. It will probably take me a couple more weeks to finally finish because I work full time 12 hour shifts (odd hours too)so I will post a link to the picture of my finished piece as soon as its done. Thank you for the inspiration Killer B.

    1. That’s great Tonya! I’m glad its turning out so well. I think you’ll be really happy with it

  9. Monica

    I’m curious. I love this design but am looking to build it as a pub height bench. How much would you change it?

    1. Brooke

      Hi Monica, sorry for the delayed response. It would be so simple to change the height. Simply figure out what height you would like from floor to seat, then add on to the leg dimensions by the difference in your height vs. the barstool’s current seat height. You may also need to raise up where you attach your foot rests in the front and back.

  10. yashax Rog

    Can you please be so kind to provide detailed instructions that you took for finishing, including the product names and steps. Truly appreciated!

    1. Brooke

      Here’s the link to my full finishing tutorial: http://www.killerbdesigns.com/vintage-chippy-finish-tutorial/ .

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