Cheap Car Seat Office Chair.
Introduction: Cheap Car Seat Office Chair.
Build a unique piece of furniture and recycle in the process!
Since I was a poor college student, I couldn’t afford a $680 office chair, and instead set a budget of $40.
The rest of the pages describe the steps I took to find the parts and build the chair. Enjoy and good luck!
Step 1: Find a Seat.
- Although the seat might look great in the car, keep in mind that its new home will be completely out of its element, presumably in a house, so make sure that the chair wouldn’t look hopelessly dated in your home. (For example: A ’67 Mustang chair might be pretty sweet in a Mustang, it might not look so good with your wife’s Ikea furniture.) It’s just something to consider.
- Make sure your seat has a mostly square bolt hole pattern, and that all the bolt holes face straight down. If your brackets are asymmetrical, or angled (or, God forbid, both) you’ll just be adding that much more complexity to the project. I was lucky enough to find a seat with mostly symmetrical bolt holes, making my base pretty easy to cut.
- Try to avoid electric seats. If you want to able to use the chair’s built in adjustment controls, it’s much easier to pick a chair with manual controls. You might be able to wire up a system to power an electric seat, but that’s out of the scope of this instructable. Sorry.
Then again, if you don’t care about the controls, go right ahead with an electric seat.
- Ebay or Craigslist – These probably won’t have the cheapest seats, but they will have the best selection, and you’re not going to have to pull it from the car yourself. Keep in mind, though, that some cleaning will probably be required, unless the seat is brand new.
- Auto parts stores – This will be the most expensive option, but if you really want a SPARCO race seat, or don’t want to bother with used seats, you’ll mostly like find one here.
- Dig one up yourself at an auto recycling lot (like U-Pull-It, or something similar) – This is going to be your cheapest bet, and the option I chose. Bring a tool kit with a decent socket set, pay a small entrance fee (usually about $2) and start looking! You will have to look hard. The lots are huge, but most vehicles have been sitting there a while, and the seats are likely to be moldy, torn, and/or pretty dirty. After 2 hours of searching, my brother and I found this leather seat from a newer Infiniti that hadn’t been beat up, ripped, or otherwise defiled. The company charges for seats based on features, not condition. Since my seat only had manual controls, it was just $24.99! What a steal!
Step 2: Find a Base.
- Like the seat, a simple bolt pattern and a flat top will make your life much easier.
- Check to make sure the controls still work, if you want to use them, and that none of the components are rusted out, as that’s just not safe.
- It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get just a base like I did. (I got really lucky there.) So make sure you can easily remove the office chair from the base, and that the chair arms aren’t directly attached to the base. Make sure you have a way to dispose of the old chair before you buy it!
Step 3: Build and Assemble the Base Plate.
Now that you have the key components, start making your base plate. I used 3/4″ plywood for my base. This is the thinnest you should go!
Step 4: Finish.
- Paint the base. (Black will probably be your best bet.)
- Clean your seat, if dirty. I used leather conditioner and leather cleaner to wipe away the dirt smudges. A good vacuum job took care of all the crumbs tucked away in the cracks.
- If you kept the seat belt, staple it underneath the base and buckle it in! Although you probably won’t want to do this all the time, it’s just one more conversation piece on an already unique chair.
Now get out there and have fun with it!