Recycling wire or cable spools into rustic tables and chairs is a relatively simple project for the handy homeowner. Depending on your location, utility companies often give away the old wooden spools. With a few 2-by-4-inch boards and basic hand tools, you can build a rustic chair out of a cable spool and the wood slats of a second spool in a weekend. Coat with clear polyurethane to retain the hand-made flair, or paint in fanciful designs to dress up your chairs for indoor use.
Things You'll Need
- 2 cable spools
- Socket set
- Tape measure
- Reciprocating saw
- Saw or jigsaw
- 2-by-4-inch board
- Electric drill
- 180-grit sandpaper
- Tack cloth
- Chair cushions
Disassemble one cable spool completely, using a socket set to remove the bolts. Remove all hardware and set the wood aside.
Measure the space between the top and the bottom of the other cable spool to ensure that your chair is at least 20 inches wide.
Place the spool on its round edges, blocking it with scrap wood or rocks so it doesn't roll while you're working.
Measure 17 inches down from the center of the spool. Draw parallel horizontal lines on both sides of the spool.
Cut along the lines with a reciprocating saw or jigsaw. Set the spool, now the frame of the chair, on its flat edges.
Remove the top half of the center spool slats. You may have to use a hacksaw or reciprocating saw to cut through the boards, depending on how the spool was constructed.
Lay the reserved wood in a rectangle, with the best sides down. Measure and cut two pieces of 2-by-4-inch board to fit between the round sides of the chair. Screw one board across the seat, butting against the back edges of the boards. Screw the second board across the front of the seat.
Turn the seat over and place it on the top of the center spool for support. Trim to fit if necessary. Predrill through the sides of the chair and into the 2-by-4 seat supports. Screw the chair and seat together with the reserved hardware from the disassembled cable spool.
Measure and build a second rectangle of 2-by-4 boards and spool slats to make a seat back. Install with the recycled hardware at a slight backward angle, butting the lower part of the back against the seat bottom.
Sand the entire chair with 180-grit sandpaper, removing all splinters and rough edges. Wipe with a tack cloth to remove the dust.
Brush two coats of satin-finish polyurethane over the wood. Allow to dry between coats according to the manufacturer's directions.
Nail felt-covered feet onto the bottom of the chair. Add a chair cushion or patio cushions to the chair.
Tips & Warnings
- Use the rounded boards from the top and bottom of the disassembled spool for the back of the chair.
- For a less rustic appearance, use wood putty to fill cracks and crevices in the wood. Sand smooth and paint with a satin latex paint. Add two coats of polyurethane to protect the paint.
- Wood wire spools or cable spools are available in a variety of sizes. Adjust the size of your chair according to the available materials.
- Wear gloves and safety glasses to protect your hands and eyes from flying splinters and dust.
- Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
- Cartwright Design: Cable Spool Bench and Conestoga Bonnet
- David Meddings Design: Reel Chair
- Country Living: 5 Ways to Transform Ordinary Objects
- Furniture From Almost Anything; Editors of Rodale Press, Inc.; 1982