Make a wooden coffee table with steel frame base
We've had quite a few DIY Divas and DIY Guys attending the Basic Welding Workshops and this is a simple project that any beginner welding enthusiast can tackle. The table base is made from steel square tube that is welded together at the corners and then topped off with a wood top.
Rachel at adventures in creating made this steel frame coffee table. She originally wanted to use reclaimed timber for the tabletop but was unable to source any nice pieces at a reasonable price, so ended up using pine that was stained.
When buying steel square tube you can have the guys cut it too size for you at the store, which saves a lot of time and effort on your part. What you'll need to do is put together a diagram of the table design you want - with all the sizes - so it can be cut when you buy. You'll also need to wipe down the tube with a degreaser, since steel has a light coating of grease to prevent rust.
You might also need to sand the cut edges smooth with a grinding stone - or use a Dremel MultiTool if you have one.
Lay out all the cut pieces on a flat, level surface. Rachel said that she actually used a bit of glue to hold the sections in place while she welded them.
Rachel started on the smaller table, just to get in a bit of practice, before tackling the bigger table. DO wear a welding faceplate and welding gloves. It's also a good idea to wear old clothes.
Use an angle grinder to grind off any slag - or again you can use a Dremel MultiTool for this - and then polish it up.
Here's what the completed table looks like after welding and polishing.
Wipe down before taking the frame outdoors to spray with Rust-Oleum 2X satin canyon black, or gloss black - or whatever colour you want for the base.
Rachel wanted the tops to be extra sturdy, but since she doesn't have a pockethole jig or biscuit joiner, she used No More Nails adhesive to join the boards together for the top. Run a bead of adhesive along the ends, lay them out and clamp firmly together until the glue has set. Make sure to wipe away any excess glue that oozes out, as this will spoil the finish.
Apply your choice of stain colour to the tabletop and then apply two to three coats of Woodoc sealer in clear or coloured, satin or gloss finish. Apply with a paintbrush and go with the grain. Allow each coat to dry before applying the next coat.
To secure the top to the frame, drill 5mm holes through the top edges of the frame with an HSS drill bit. Use steel screws and washers through the frame and into the underside of the tabletop to secure.