Ever wanted to learn how to make rat rod furniture? Well I’m going to show you just how to do it! I’ve had the great opportunity to work on countless diverse projects throughout my 30+ year career. Building rat rods and hot rods is what I’m best known for, but I wanted to also share with everyone my process on making furniture for your home which in this case specifically is rat rod furniture. Give this project try!
My process of getting material together might be different than most. What I typically do is go into the showroom here at welderup and I’ll usually always find what I need here. During my search I will always come across cool material that I’ve either forgotten about or thought I had lost so you never know what you’ll come across here at welderup. The Material needed to make this rat rod stool includes :
- Tractor Seat
- 120 wall pipe
- Carriage bolt
- 1/4″ metal plates
The tractor seats I found laying around were built anywhere around 1920-1930. The designs were really neat with unique lettering on them. I like to use wheels for the base of the chair because they’re wide and strong enough to not easily flip. I recommend using 120 wall pipe here because it’s thick enough to not break off with ease and 1/4″ plates to ensure the base doesn’t flex.
Take your 1/4″ plate and you can either weld or bolt onto the center cap of the wheel. I’m going to weld the plates on, but before I did this I had to shear my plates for it to work better. Make sure to take your flap disk to the rim of the wheel to clean any rust off and enforce a good weld. After that’s all cleaned up it’s time to weld the plate down. A little tip here is to tac weld each side of plate before moving forward welding. If you only weld one side then the plate will end up pulling up and we don’t want that.
After that’s in place its time to weld the pipe down through the center cap of the wheel and onto the plate. You might run into some issues here like I did, but trust me it’s an easy fix. What might happen here is you won’t be able to get your nozzle all the way down in there to have a solid connection. A pro tip you won’t learn in the classroom is whenever you find yourself in this kind of situation it’s important to turn up your heat and wire speed. The further you are from your connection point the cooler the area will be so turn that sucker up and weld that baby in. Sometimes more gas and shielding will work here too.
Next, take your tractor seat and more of your 1/4″ plate. You may need to shear your plate depending on the stool. Once this is set you’re going to line up your plate with the bottom center piece of the stool, just like I do in the video. Draw a center piece like I demonstrate above and drill a hole through. I end up using an ironworker to drill my hole but using a drill bit works great too. Once the hole is drilled you’ll place a small piece of 120 wall pipe over the center and weld the plate and pipe together from the outside. This will then bolt to the seat and will be the pivot point.
I had to get creative with the carriage bolt I had because it was really shiny and didn’t fit the look. If you ever find yourself here don’t panic and instead have some fun with it. Take some heat to the piece and use a chipping hammer to patina it out. Once you’ve completed the look you’re going for, take your bolt through the center of the seat and bolt together like I show you in the video. Drill a hole or two through the pipe and place your other piece of pipe through to plug weld together and complete your swivel.
From here you’re seat is starting to look pretty cool and you can start to add any finishing touches you like. I didn’t like the way the pipe looked on the stool so I decided to take an old radiator hose and sleeve it onto the pipe. Now feel free to decorate the rest the way you see best fit. Once you’re all finished it’s time to find a perfect spot in your home or sell it for a couple hundred bucks!
If you finished the project, Congrats! You can officially make rat rod furniture and would have demonstrated quality welding and fabrication techniques with your own kind of creativity. All projects will be different one way or another in terms of process and design, but this will get you in the right direction. If you’re interested in more how-to videos check here!