The stool, made from a bike rear triangle.
bike frame stools
While looking at bike stuff on the internet, I came across these stools. I have some scrap frames and junker bikes, so I filed this away as a project. Realizing that there is so much more that can be done with these, I decided to switch away from Pine Can, a project I was never really satisfied with. In that respect, the non-linear aspects of our design loop are satisfied. However, it is ultimately a pretty linear project. I saw what I wanted, and made it.

If I was really going to make a piece of furniture for the house, it would have to look like it belonged. I figured the niche would either be a bar stool, or a camping chair. As such, I decided to style it after a 1950’s chrome/vinyl stool. This is a timeless aesthetic that I figured would be more than compliant with my busy schedule. If they could make these in the 50s, I can make this now. Right now! I was wrong.

0130161603I started off selecting a frame. This old Fuji had practically no useful components on it, and would be more trouble to salvage than it would be worth. If I donated it, it would likely go to scrap. Furthermore, it was aluminum which should resist corrosion. I took a handsaw to it.

0128161812After the rear triangle was separated from the bike, I took some methylene chloride based paint stripper to it. A dozen chemical burns later, I got the following. This triangle was heavily bead blasted, and so it would need to be refinished.


0128161951Going from 180 to 220 to 320 grit sandpaper, I was able to achieve to following over the surface of the frame. Strangely enough, going with finer grit actually seemed to make  the finish duller. From here I went to a polishing wheel with soft, paraffin based, chrome compound.


Post polishing wheel sample.





10mm bolts put through the dropouts to widen the stool’s stance.






Cane ends placed over the bolts to prevent floor scratching.


The seat I found unfortunately had the seatpost permanently affixed. What’s more is the seatpost was too small to fit in the frame. I 3D printed this shim to fill the annulus.


With polishing done and the seatpost fitted, I pulled the cup holder off of the scrapped frame, resulting in this:



Overall, I like it. Was it worth the better part of 2 days and two lifted fingernails? We’ll see! It is definitely a keeper. Beats standing while I eat.


Things I like:

  • Looks cool.
  • Bikes.
  • Adjustable height.
  • Beer holder.
  • Green.
  • Doesn’t scratch the floor.
  • Decently comfortable.
  • Good range of heights.

Things to improve:

  • More polishing after I’ve recovered.
  • Remove the cable lugs for a cleaner look. This would bring it closer to the 50s aesthetic.
  • Find paint to match the seat post clamp and bottle cage to the seat.
  • Remove the bottom bracket.
  • Cut off the remainders of the top and down tubes. Find some way to face them.
  • Put a flair on the shim so that it doesn’t fall into the frame when the seat is adjusted.
  • Seatpost sometimes rotates under heavy load. You could say my stool is loose.


[1] https://plus.google.com/106813244834608507382/posts

[2] http://www.globalindustrial.com/p/work-benches/stools/bar-stool/1950s-chrome-swivel-bar-stool-with-green-seat-metal-30-bar-stool?infoParam.campaignId=T9F&gclid=CjwKEAiA27G1BRCEopST9M39gykSJADQyqAlSuKuK-Y8So_75dsY8FdZPUkaamKz7LcfA3e0tscoehoCyRHw_wcB

, , , ,
Previous Post
Upcycling Street Sweeper Bristles
Next Post
Giving SORRY a New Look – Upcycle Complete

49 Comments. Leave new

  • I just wanted to say that your presentation was hilarious!!! Your project also looks definitely upcycled and amazing. It would be cool to have several to make a whole bar area from them !

  • Kenzy O
    Kenzy O'neill
    February 6, 2016 3:28 pm

    Great aesthetic! For more stability maybe you could cut through the legs and weld in spacers so that it has a wider stance at the base.

  • I really like how you took an existing concept and revised it to suit an aesthetic you interesting and appealing. The final product looks fantastic, and like something one would find in a trendy, bike-themed bar or café.

  • like the chrome aesthetic. Funny story about the tax refund. the rubber stoppers on the bolts is a good idea. are you concerned about the frame bending down and damaging floor? any plans to help with the stability?

  • Brandon Boiko
    Brandon Boiko
    February 3, 2016 9:08 pm

    I am really interested in the process you used to get the chrome finish. Was it difficult? How do you think it would compare to a plating method? It is a very nice stool. I’m wondering if the seat could be changed as bike seats are not very comfortable.

  • Ashley Zimmerer
    Ashley Zimmerer
    February 3, 2016 8:50 pm

    I like the green. Like you were saying, it would be neat if you made the drink holder green, too. I also like how you thought about the bottom of the stool, and fixed it so it wouldn’t ruin your floor. Is it comfortable to sit on?

  • I really like the idea, nifty. I see this going to bike shops where you can sit and try biking shoes on for fits.
    Great idea, I like that you left the cup holder in. There are carbon fiber skins where you can stick on the frame which would look awesome. Otherwise great project.

  • Nicholas Flood
    Nicholas Flood
    February 3, 2016 7:53 pm

    Very interesting aesthetic. Seems perfect for the bike enthusiast. I’m curious about how comfortable it is to sit in it for extended periods of time. Nice work!

  • Anfal Abdulrahman
    Anfal Abdulrahman
    February 3, 2016 2:59 pm

    Compared to the ones on the Internet you did make it look much better, nice work.

  • Thomas Brunsgaard
    Thomas Brunsgaard
    February 3, 2016 12:15 pm

    The images that you used for inspiration look like they bent the rear fork out to provide the stability. If you end up revisiting this project, it would be cool to experiment with different types of bicycles. I imagine that it would be easier to work with a frame that has smaller tubes like a road bike.

  • Looks cool, how stable is it? Can you adjust the height? It looks like it does not take up much space. How easy is it to place a drink in the holder? Good job on 3D printing some of the parts. Will you use it in your house a lot?

  • I dig the project – perfect seating for watching the tour or eating breakfast

  • Neat design! I love the bike and polished steel aesthetic. It reminds me a lot of homemade shop stools you sometimes see in home garages.

  • The bike stool looks great! How much would you have to wobble before tilting over? Since drunk people have pretty bad Balance, ha ha.

  • Nice Bert. I love the idea, I’m a sucker for functionality based things so I’m all for making something you can use in your house. I didn’t realize when you showed me before the 50’s retro look, although now that you mention it the stool has the perfect color scheme for that aesthetic.

  • I love the creativity and it turned out as a great project! It might have been interesting to add a twist that differs from the things you found online.

  • Interesting project. I like the chrome finish a lot. The height seems a bit short though to be using for a countertop. Nonetheless, I like how you used 3D printing to make this project work.

  • Gardner Nichols
    Gardner Nichols
    February 3, 2016 12:12 pm

    Nice idea, I like the idea and I think your idea of getting rid of the cable holders and other protruding things is a great idea. The wheel would be a fun addition as well. Nice job!

  • Meridith Richter
    Meridith Richter
    February 3, 2016 12:12 pm

    Very Boulder-aesthetic. You could definitely sell those to people for their garages/work benches or their bars.

  • David Holliman
    David Holliman
    February 3, 2016 12:12 pm

    This is a very cool and clean design. The drink holder is a great addition. I wonder what other materials or colors you could incorporate into the design. Perhaps, some more welded parts?

  • awesome idea! I really like the idea and the way it turned out

  • Jacob McCormick
    Jacob McCormick
    February 3, 2016 12:11 pm

    It looks really good! How long can you sit on it before it gets uncomfortable?

  • Samantha Maierhofer
    Samantha Maierhofer
    February 3, 2016 12:11 pm

    Creative idea. I like the idea in putting a drink holder on the bike stool to add some function to the design. Looks great and shows your passion.

  • Jakob Oreskovich
    Jakob Oreskovich
    February 3, 2016 12:11 pm

    Love how you explained all of the detail that went into the design process. Wheels on the front would be really cool.

  • Sounds like an awesome back yard. I would call it more of an industrial aesthetic; the 50’s chrome look is smoother.

  • Brendan Warren
    Brendan Warren
    February 3, 2016 12:11 pm

    I really like the color selection. Completely transformed the frame! Did you consider using a metallic paint to eliminate the need for polishing?

  • Shawn Sprinkle
    Shawn Sprinkle
    February 3, 2016 12:11 pm

    Really cool upcycle! I love the addition of the drink holder. Something like this will definitely appeal to the Boulder crowd.

  • Albert, Overall, It looks like a great project. I like the functionality of it but I would be a bit concerned about sitting on this seat for multiple hours (and the saddle-sore that could result). I really like how much clean the final product ended up being after sand blasting!

  • Nice stool Albert!! If you want a really specific looking finish, you might wanna try some kind of metallic spray paint. Does it make you saddle sore after a while?

  • Ryan Yankowsky
    Ryan Yankowsky
    February 3, 2016 12:10 pm

    Love the use of old bike parts to build furniture or décor for shops and households, some grinding and paint and you got a sale!

  • Peter Brunsgaard
    Peter Brunsgaard
    February 3, 2016 12:10 pm

    Would you consider using a chrome spray paint in order to get a more uniform finish? Very well done.

  • the silver chrome finish is awesome… definitely worth the hard work through! I feel like you could easily sell these in Boulder!

  • This stool is a very cleaver idea. I can see them being very popular items, maybe take it by Cylehops (http://oskarbluesfooderies.com/cyclhops) and see if they might be interested in buying or displaying.

  • Andre Szlendak
    Andre Szlendak
    February 3, 2016 12:10 pm

    Nice presentation, really captured the manufacturing process. I’m curious what sort of other things are sitting in your backyard.

  • Now that you have a valuable piece of art, you can sell it and donate the money to the bike charity you mentioned. I like the choice of fonts and color. Matches the blog.

  • The retro chrome style is pretty sweet. Could definitely sell it to one of those roller diners, or of course keep it at your bar! Maybe add some suspension so you can bounce around??

  • This is great! Nice call going for a big cushy cruiser saddle instead of the thin leather covered shells that you see on race bikes.

  • Chip Bollendonk
    Chip Bollendonk
    February 3, 2016 12:09 pm

    Really nice pictures to document the process of this project. I’m glad that you have so much cool stuff lying around your backyard! However, is it even remotely comfortable to sit on?

  • I really dig the chrome aesthetic. I would love to see your bar have a whole line of these to sit at.

  • The seat is an awesome color! I don’t think bike seats are the most comfortable, so I don’t think people would really want to sit on it for long. Creative look though!

  • This is such a cool design. I really like the idea of using an old bicycle seat. I really think people could use these sort of stools in a bicycle themed bar. It is really awesome and reminds me of the bus tours where people pedal to make the bus move. Great job!

  • Rachel Grosskrueger
    Rachel Grosskrueger
    February 3, 2016 12:09 pm

    I love how you kept the water bottle holder! It seems like you did a lot of troubleshooting to improve the overall design which turned out really well!

  • I like the finishing job- the shiny chrome look is much nicer than the paint or the bead blast. I would like to see the cut portions cleaned up a bit- taking an angle grinder to make those cut offs flush could be a nice addition.

    • Also, for stability- maybe you can take the crank bearing out and then mount a handlebar through the hole? Could be a nice continuation of the bike theme while adding stability.

  • Joseph Yoshimura
    Joseph Yoshimura
    February 3, 2016 12:08 pm

    Very good use of an old bike! I like how much thought you put in every step. Is it as comfortable as a regular chair?

  • Brittany Warly
    Brittany Warly
    February 3, 2016 12:08 pm

    As a cyclist I like this idea though sitting in a saddle after riding in the saddle for a number of hours sounds rather brutal :-p really cool idea and I like the retro seat.

  • Sreyas Krishnan
    Sreyas Krishnan
    January 30, 2016 9:41 pm

    This is really awesome. Love the 3D printed shim, and the usage of one of my favorite words (annulus). Great stuff Bert.

  • Matthew Sturm
    Matthew Sturm
    January 30, 2016 6:28 pm

    This is an awesome upcycling project – everything about it and the work that you did!
    Adding the cane ends is an ingenious solution to protecting the floor. I did have one question about this though based on the picture – It seems like the stool might still rest on a portion of the metal frame. If this is the case, is there room to attach small pieces of felt or something else recycled?

    • Thank you, I appreciate it!

      So there is still a metal point of contact below the bottom bracket, but the contact patch is large. Definitely putting a pad there in the future though.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.