DIY project: build a dining table by welding a metal base and adding a wood top
OK, this one might not be for the feint of heart, but trust me, it is easier than it looks! I was in love with some tables I had seen online with a metal structure and had been wanting to have a go at welding for a while so I took the opportunity to make my own table! I did the welding at a community workshop and found the wood in a skip nearby (someone was throwing away this perfect pieces of hardwood floor!) If you don't have access to a workshop where you can do it yourself, call a local metalworks or freelance metalworker to see if they can help you out or do it for a fee. For the wood, you can find it like I did or buy hardwood timber or use birch plywood instead.
YOU WILL NEED:
- mild steel (for the base)
- welding machine
- sandpaper/electric sander
- drill with metal and wood bits
- First work out the dimensions for your table. Because you're building it from scratch you have the luxury of making it fit perfectly to your needs. If already have chairs, make sure it fits 2 or 3 lengthways. My table is 184cm long x 75cm wide x 80cm high.
- Next work out how much steel you need and order it. I bought mine online from a metal supplier who cut it to the sizes I needed and shipped it perfectly cut. I got 19mm wide square steel.
- Now, the fun part, take it to your workshop and get it welded! All the joints I did are fairly simple. I used a TIG welder, which is the easiest kind of welding to learn. When you're done welding, make sure you grind down the joints to get a flat surface on the edges, and wipe them well. In the end you're left with a steel frame. I had to rent a van to transport it back to my house. When you get it back, clean it off with a wet cloth to remove any small pieces of steel.
- Next you need to shape your wood to fit the frame. The wood I had was, at one point, a hardwood floor, so it was all pretty straight and had tongue and groove slats to lock together. I cut it to fit and glued the whole thing together. If your wood is in loose pieces you will have to build a frame underneath to keep it all together.
- Now comes sanding. Depending on where your wood came from you may have less to do than I did. I sanded with corse grain sandpaper to remove the varnish and smooth out the places where the wood pieces met, and then fine grain sandpaper to give it a nice smooth finish.
- Then, varnish the whole thing and leave to dry (I gave it three coats).
- Finally, to fix the wood to the steel frame, drill holes into the top of the metal frame and into places where they will line up on the wood top, put the wood onto the frame, and screw them together.
And you are done!
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