Vehicle Nanny: A DIY Shop Solution!

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From time to time we repost interesting content from @VehicleNanny's blog, and when we saw this one we knew we had to share it with the Rusto Garage community! Read on for an ingenious shop solution 💡

Reposted with permission from VehicleNanny

My morning ritual includes reviewing a number of automotive YouTube channels.  It’s where I keep up to date on latest trends and get ideas for future projects.  During a recent morning review, I was served an ad for a rolling shop stool.  Not just any shop stool, but one that looked really stable with big wheels.

I had to have it!

As I followed the link to the website, I discovered that this stool by Vyper Industrial was indeed a very sturdy, stable stool with 4 inch wheels.  It was also $425!  For a stool that measures 16 x 17 inches.

As cool as that stool is, I just could not justify that expense.  I currently have a standard shop stool that I like to use when detailing our cars.  It allows me to comfortably reach the lower part of the doors and bumpers without having to kneel on the ground.  Wheels make the stool even better as I can scoot along the length of the car without getting up.

The problem with the old stool is that it is tippy.  The small base and short wheels cause it to fall over if it encounters any crack or bump in the driveway or garage floor.  That Vyper stool seemed perfect, except for the price.  

DIY Solution

My default attitude with many expensive items is “I can build that!”  In this case, my mind was already working on a plan to build a strong, stable and cost effective stool.  

Looking at the Vyper stool, its base measured 16 x 17 inches.  Based on my size and the specific need for this stool, I needed something a tad bigger.  Considering where I was going to store the stool in the garage, I landed on one with a 16 x 20 inch base.  

The plans and materials used are covered below.


Listed below are the materials I purchased at Lowe’s for this project (except where noted):

  • 2’ x 4’ x 1/2” Birch plywood (for the body of the stool):  $24.98
  • 1” x 3” x 8’  pine board (to add strength to the base and under the seat):  $9.74
  • 1.5” finish nails (these were already on hand)
  • Wood glue (already in the shop)
  • 1 ⅝ inch wood screws (four–already on hand)
  • Minwax Polyurethane (Warm Semi Gloss):  $16
  • 4 inch PVC Swivel Casters (four needed):  $3.99 each at Harbor Freight

Build Process

The picture above shows all of the pieces I cut to make the stool.  Not shown is a roughly 19” piece of 1×3 that I added to increase strength.

Once cut, the pieces were glued and nailed.  Once I built the “box,” I sanded the edges and applied the polyurethane (three coats).  I considered painting it a cool color, but I really like the look of wood.  I can always paint it a different color another time.

Once this was built, I sat on it to test the strength.  I sensed the seat needed more support, so I added the 1 x 3 board under the seat and screwed it on the side and top.  Now, it is rock solid!

I then bolted the casters to the bottom of the stool’s base, and the project was finished!  I took it to the garage for a quick test and am pleased to report it glides across my garage floor and out to the driveway with ease (and without tipping over!).

Final Thoughts & Questions

Building something like this stool is very satisfying.  Not just for the cost savings, but for the ability to make it exactly as I need for a purpose.  I spent around $50 for the core materials (wood and casters).  I probably used about $4 of polyurethane, leaving the rest for another project.  Everything else I had on hand in the shop.

Do you have questions about this project? Tag @VehicleNanny or @Pete in the comments!