Monday, March 9, 2009

Bowling alley chair hack

Chris scores some seats from a bowling alley and pairs them nicely with Ikea swivel legs.

He explains, "Through my relentless searching of craigslist, I found these free seats from a bowling alley. Initially I was going to build a bench with them, but a stop at Ikea led me in a different direction.


Whenever possible, I do not buy products made in any country that tolerates poor working conditions. One of the reasons I go to Ikea is the variety of countries the product are made in. For more on working conditions in ikea factories, you can go here.

Anyway, during Ikea's winter sale at the south Philadelphia store, they have $9.99 Hajdeby office chairs (not on website) which unfortunately are made in China, but the time I was more preoccupied with my idea than looking at the label on the box. The chair is similar in appearance to the Svenning swivel chair. Except the star shaped base of the chair I bought is steel, not plastic.

The only thing I needed to do was figure out a way to attach the two. This is where assemble-it-yourself design comes in handy. The way the chair bottom is designed, you can basically use anything as a seat... anything you can bolt or screw to anyway. In my case, I only needed two pieces of 3/4" solid square aluminum bar (which I have, because I work in aluminum) and a few bolts. The only tricky part was
figuring out the weight balance of the chair, so I had to clamp everything in place and try sitting in it a few times before drilling/threading/bolting everything together.

It's actually quite comfortable. Putting the first one together took maybe 90 minutes. The second one will probably take 15 minutes. There are lots of seats still available at the bowling alley, so I might make a few more... or might make something else with them... not sure yet. Now what do I do with the seat cushions that came with the base? Guess you'll have to wait for part 2."

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