Introduction: Make a Tree Table

Picture of Make a Tree Table

Welcome to my first Instructable! Hope you enjoy it.

Please vote for me in the Furniture Contest. Thanks!

A few years ago, my wife had a client who wanted a table that looked like a tree for her breakfast nook. She had searched high and low, but couldn't find what she wanted. She heard that my wife, an artist, might be able to help her out. A couple of weeks later, she got what you see here.

We made this in our garage and forge, using scrap iron, Oriented-Strand Board (OSB), concrete countertop mix, and a few odds and ends.

Step 1: Gather Materials

Picture of Gather Materials


Scrap iron
available at your local steelyard for ~$.50/lb or
FREE if you know how to scrounge (cue Sanford & Son theme)
  -5" x 16" steel pipe
  -1" square tubing, various lengths
  -12-gauge sheet metal scraps
  -1"x1" scrap angle iron

Wood: 1- 4'x8'x3/4" sheet of OSB, cut in half
1" x 4" boards for forming concrete

Concrete countertop mix (different brands available)

(2) Sheet expanded metal lath (~ $7 @Home Depot)
(1) Tube of Liquid nails or equivalent wood constructive adhesive
(1) Box drywall screws 1 1/4" long
Tar paper
(5) Wood screws 1/4 x 1" (to attach the branches to tabletop)
Felt furniture pads (little circles of felt available at Home Depot)
Concrete stains: yellow, red, and brown
Metallic paints: brass & copper
Concrete sealer

1/2" drill with mixer attachment
5 gal. bucket to mix concrete
Staple gun
Tin snips
Arc or MIG welder

Forge, hammer and anvil
Vise, hammer, & 3-4' length of 2" pipe

Step 2: Forming the Tree

Picture of Forming the Tree

The photo is simply an example of what you can do with a length of pipe and some scrap metal. It's ugly, but strong. This will all disappear under the concrete mix.

If you have access to a metal shop or smithy, bending the tubing is easy. Go for random, interesting bends; tree branches and roots can do just about anything. For instance, my avocado tree has a branch that corkscrews. Just make sure when you weld your branches to the trunk (the big pipe), one end is on the same plane as the underside of the table. It doesn't have to be perfect, but close. You can adjust it later with the pipe.

If you don't have access to a forge, hammer and anvil, bending the tubing is harder, but not impossible. Bend the tubing to your liking, using a vise and a length of pipe, or a hammer and a stump. If you don't have that, a concrete curb and careful use of your foot can make nice bends. The tubing is mild steel; it will bend cold just fine, just don't bend any one spot more than once, or it may break.

As you can see in the photos, the tips of the branches have been flattened with a hammer and drilled (1/4" hole) to allow mounting the table top.

Use sheet metal and angle iron scraps as gussets to reinforce the joints. Arc or MIG weld the joints.

**Important** Make sure to position the roots and branches so that the table resists tipping in all directions.

Step 3: Prepping for Concrete

Picture of Prepping for Concrete

Prepare for bloody fingertips!  Metal lath is not fun to work with, but is necessary to support the concrete shapes we wanted to make. The lath isn't tight against the iron; we left it loose to break up the hard lines of the iron and form a more natural look.

Step 4: Forming With Concrete

Picture of Forming With Concrete

Here's where we play with mud, I mean concrete. Mix it thick enough that it doesn't run. Form and smooth the concrete by hand. Leave the flats at the end of the branches clean so they attach smoothly to the bottom of the table.

Step 5: Forming the Tabletop

Picture of Forming the Tabletop

Unfortunately, I don't have pictures to show the steps involved in forming the tabletop, so I will try to explain it.

First, cut a 4' x 8' x 3/4" sheet of OSB in half. Glue and screw them together, using Liquid Nails or other construction adhesive and 1-1/4" drywall screws. If you want an unusual shape, like we have here, cut to shape before you glue and screw.

Next, staple 15 lb. tar paper to the top and sides. This prevents the water in the concrete from absorbing into the wood, ruining both the wood and the concrete. Staple metal lath to the top and sides to help the concrete stick to the tabletop.

Use styrofoam or 1" x 4" boards to make a form around the tabletop. Pour concrete about 1/2" thick on the top and about 1" thick on the sides. Smooth with a trowel.

As the concrete cures, you can add decorative touches, such as the cracks you see tooled into the surface. As you can see, the edges were chipped with a hammer.  Play with it to your heart's content. Be prepared to patch the concrete if you chip off too much.

Step 6: Color, Seal, and Finishing Touches

Picture of Color, Seal, and Finishing Touches

Once the concrete is completely cured, about a day or so, depending on temperature and humidity, it's time to play with colors. Again, unfortunately, I don't have pics of the steps.

I'm also not an artist, just a knuckledraggin' mechanic, so bear with me. Better yet, befriend an artist to help you with this step.

Use multiple layers and mixtures of yellow, brown, and red stains. Mix the stains with water and use spray bottles to apply. Let dry.

Finish with layers of brass and copper metallic paints. Let dry.

Seal with concrete sealer. Allow to cure for at least a day.

Apply felt coaster pads to the bottom of each leg to prevent them from scratching the floor.

Assemble the top to the base using wood screws.

Stand back and admire your work!


jokefree (author)2016-01-19


diggidy (author)2015-07-13


motherprune (author)2014-06-14

Its magnificent :)

cobbledbeard (author)2014-06-13're making me blush! Thank you very much.

mousepaper (author)2014-06-12

Thats splendid...

Christopherhenson88 (author)2014-06-11

Thats interesting

gorgeddamp (author)2014-06-09


illrings (author)2014-05-26


airbugger (author)2014-05-22

Its extraordinary

williamsjavellana (author)2014-05-19

Thats neat...

headlymph (author)2014-05-08


tealrink (author)2014-05-08


grousebandit (author)2014-05-05

Its brilliant :)

harechubby (author)2014-04-28


jiffymanager (author)2014-04-25


calmlunch (author)2014-04-20


clapfilk (author)2014-04-07


NumerologyAnswers (author)2014-04-03


workexaminer (author)2014-03-28

Thats awesome...

clickyummy (author)2014-03-08


bearblue (author)2014-02-25


bearblue (author)2014-02-25


gazumpglue (author)2014-02-02

Thank you very much for your comments, Janice! I think that if someone takes the time to say something, the least I can do is thank them for it.

trinitygr6 (author)2013-10-23

I love your tree table. It looks so artistic. I think you are a great person to make a table. I would choose you for anything I want to make. You are fantastic artist. I will vote for you

KoomoriForge (author)trinitygr62013-11-04're making me blush! Thank you very much.

Mariska Botha (author)2013-09-04

Very cool and neatly done. Would love to see the kiddies version MAApleton suggested if you ever get round to making something like that.

Thanks, Mariska! I'll let you know if I go for it.

BunnyRoger (author)2013-09-03

I love this idea.... So so cool. Very unique.

KoomoriForge (author)BunnyRoger2013-09-03

Thank you very much!

Amanda Culbert (author)2013-09-02

So cool!! I love this idea, very creative!!

Glad you like it. Thanks!

MAApleton (author)2013-08-29

I love this, would look amazing if you make a smaller one for a kid's room, and maybe even doing something similar as a chair to go with the table?

KoomoriForge (author)MAApleton2013-09-03

That's something to think about. Thanks!

bshreve (author)2013-02-07

Looks great!

What did you use as an aggregate in the 'mud'?

KoomoriForge (author)bshreve2013-02-08

Thanks, bshreve!

We used sand as an aggregate to keep it smooth.

keepintouch (author)2013-01-26


KoomoriForge (author)keepintouch2013-01-27

Thanks! Nice F/A-18 pic!

spylock (author)2013-01-27

Too cool,I can never find the materials to carry out such a beautiful project.the table fits my style and personality, Ive never saw one any finer.

KoomoriForge (author)spylock2013-01-27

Thank you very much for your compliments!

Spylock, you underestimate yourself and your abilities. Think positively! Do you know why WD-40 is called that? It's because WD (Water Displacing) formulas 1 thru 39 didn't work! They kept trying and eventually got it right.

Instructables is all about making something from "nothing", and showing others how you did it. If you want to do something badly enough, you'll figure it out. That's how I made this table. It took some time and thought, but I learned from my mistakes and, most importantly, I enjoyed every minute of it.

As for materials, they are all around you! If you walk around your neighborhood, I'd bet you would be surprised to see what people throw away. For years, I've been telling people I do blacksmithing, then asking them if they know of anyone who has any metal they want to get rid of. I've gotten some neat things that way. I take whatever I can get and, if I don't use within a certain period of time, I turn it in for scrap. Look up Nemomatic on this site to see what you can do with "junk".

Here's one of his ideas:

You can do it, Spylock. Get out there and try!

Lord of The Things (author)2013-01-27

Very cool Sir...

Thank you, sir!

bajablue (author)2013-01-27

This table is a work of ART!!! Absolutely gorgeous!!!

KoomoriForge (author)bajablue2013-01-27

Thank you, young lady! If it's gorgeous art, it is my darling wife who made it that way. I'm just the knuckledragger who built the structure and wrote about the process.

By the way, your recipes look fantastically delicious! The photos of the finished dishes are brilliant!Well, except for the peanut pranks. They're giving me nightmares, as I (used to) bite through peanut shells when eating them.

pfred2 (author)2013-01-26

I can't believe scrap steel is so expensive now! When I worked in a machine shop in the late 90s we'd get new cold rolled steel delivered from the distributor for 25 cents a pound. Then I worked for a demolition outfit and they'd only get $20 a ton for scrap they sold. Call whoever you're buying your scrap from and pretend you want to sell them some scrap, see what they quote you. Then negotiate a better price for buying it if there is a large difference. Because 50 cents a pound for scrap seems pretty steep to me!

KoomoriForge (author)pfred22013-01-26

Welcome to the California economy. Things ain't cheap here. I can't remember exactly how much I got for the last ton of scrap iron I turned in, but it was quite a bit more that $20. That's why I'm always on the lookout for junk iron in people's yards. Most of the time, they just give it to me. All the iron I used in this project was out of my scrap pile. Thanks for your comment.

pfred2 (author)KoomoriForge2013-01-27

California? I'm on the east coast. I guess shipping is a killer.

streetrod5 (author)2013-01-25

Very well done! What kind of bender did you use? Also, thank you for your service.

KoomoriForge (author)streetrod52013-01-25

Thanks and you're welcome! I used my coal forge and anvil to bend the branches and roots, then arc welded it all together.

Lorddrake (author)2013-01-25

how much does the table weigh?

KoomoriForge (author)Lorddrake2013-01-25

Thanks for your question. It weighs about 100 lbs (50 kg). Most of the weight is the table top.

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm a retired Marine, now playing with fire literally instead of figuratively. I enjoy blacksmithing, collecting old tools, rat rods, shooting, and public speaking.
More by KoomoriForge:Make a laptop stand from scrap copper / ironMake a Tree Table
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