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Design | Cut | Build – Season 3, Episode 11 – Re-purposing a Vintage Airplane Seat into a Reclining Chair!


Do you have any military memorabilia gathering dust in your garage? Now you can repurpose your grandfather’s prized relics into the centerpiece of your home! In this episode, we turn a seat from a Grumman S2F Tracker into a reclining, industrial-style chair and show you how you can do this at home.

With some Mild Steel and 1x1” tubing, you can convert any metal seat into a reclining chair. To start, we decided to create some prototypes for the spine and brackets that will mount the seat to the bottom of the reclining chair. Using 3/16” Mild steel on our Torchmate 4400 cutting table and FlexCut 80 plasma cutter, we were able to quickly cut out the base plate for the chair. Once we designed all of the additional parts we needed with Torchmate CAD, we headed over to our table and cut out the nested batch of parts with 11 gauge Mild Steel.

Minimize Your Material Waste

The Nesting tool in Torchmate CAD is extremely helpful in minimizing waste of your materials. It automatically rearranges objects on the material sheet to reduce wasted material between the parts you need to cut. If you need to learn more about using the Nesting tool, visit Torchmate University. Torchmate offers a complete library of video tutorials that show you how to utilize the many tools within Torchmate CAD.

To create the legs for our reclining chair, we cut the 1x1” tubing at an angle to perfectly fit the pieces to the base and to other pieces of tubing. Cutting square tubing at an angle required a little bit of creativity with our chop saw. We created a contraption with a rectangle and two separate “M” shaped pieces to safely position the tubing while cutting with the chop saw.


Once the legs have been welded together, we used the Torchmate 5100 to cut out circles for the bottom of the legs. The 5100 cutting table has the option of a full five-axis bevel head and can cut up to 45 degree angles depending on material thickness and plasma configuration. The circular bottoms of the legs were cut from 1/2” Mild Steel and the bevel cut provided a nice touch to the overall industrial theme we were going for. For your own chair, you can create the bottoms out of any shape you’d like.

The Grumman S2F Tracker seat we had, still had a working lever attached to the frame. We wanted to make use of the lever and needed to fabricate a few extra pieces to allow the chair to recline. We cut out two of the same shapes from 3/16” and 1/8” material and combined the two pieces. To allow the chair to recline back, we cut out three holes on the material at slightly different angles so the chair could recline at various levels. The shapes were pretty thick and we decided to create a channel by beveling to make sure there was penetration when welding and grinding off the weld.

If you’re ready to fabricate your own reclining chair from an airplane seat, visit and download the design files for this project. When your prized possession is complete, upload some photos of your project build and share it with the Fabrication Forum community!