Observing Chairs and Stools

I find a height-adjustable chair or stool an essential accessory when observing. The longer you look through the eyepiece the more you see. This is especially the case for clusters and galaxies. I would also find sketching impossible without a chair.

Denver Chair

The homemade Denver chair folds flat and doesn’t take up a lot of room when not in use. It is comfortable and sturdy but as a consequence quite heavy with the base being 9Kg and the seat 3Kg.

Dave Trott’s Instructions for making a Denver chair

Charles Carlson’s version

Collapsable Camping Chair

A much cheaper alternative as well as lighter is a collapsing camping stool attached to an inverted bucket with pieces of high-strength Velcro. Total cost less than £20/$26.

The Lybar

Simple, light-weight and cheap, the Lift Your Butt and Rotate seat is made from a single piece of 20.5 x 144 x 1800mm pine purchased from Wickes for just under £10.

It is rotated to provide three different observing heights.

L to R: High, Medium, Low

A jigsaw is used to cut the plank into four pieces, 2 x 42cm and 2 x 48cm. Four holes 35mm from the edges are drilled into the 42cm lengths and long counter-sunk screws are used to join them to the 48cm lengths. A coat of white undercoat followed by a coat of white gloss was applied to finish the job.


Ironing Chair

Another cost-effective option is to use an “ironing chair” or “ironing support”. These are available online for £35 to £50.





  1. Hi Brett!
    Great blog! You’re chair looks great, do you have any plans for it? I can’t seem to find plans for a Denver observing chair any where on the internet! Yours looks incredibly well built, well done!

    1. I’ve added a picture that shows the high strength Velcro tabs, I used. The tabs are actually too long and could be shortened as they don’t need to extend beyond the bucket.

      1. So, it seems you have stuck velcro tabs on the bucket circumference facing up and corresponding velcro tabs on the base of the stool facing down and then you join them, correct? What velcro strips you used, something from 3m?

        1. That is correct. I used Industrial Strength Velcro Heavy-Duty Self Adhesive Velcro Tape 20mm 2cm Wide (1m) cut into small pieces but it might have been better to have used longer pieces that approximately followed the circumference of the bucket. This is what I’d do if I were repeating the procedure.

  2. Hi Brett,
    A very creative and simple solution… Bravo! I looked at these telescoping seats on Amazon and was impressed… Just not as tall as I thought may be required… I looked through nearly of them with largest height being 20.5″. I sat and racked my brain for a few hours about how to adapt this product. Low and behold, you provided the simple solution. Meanwhile, I had a Home Depot bucket sitting just 2′ away from me!!! LOL! I gotta remember not to overthink these things! Well done!

  3. Thanks! I shall buy a bucket shortly. I have the camping stool and was disappointed at how short it was but here you have solved it.

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