Introduction: Metal and Wood Table

Hello this instructable will go through basic steps to make a solid, large work bench or work desk for your home or business area.

- Made at Techshop (www.techshop.com)

Step 1: Buy Materials

Materials used for this work desk:

Metal:
4 leg pieces - I used 2"x2" square profile steel tubing, 1/8" thick, 28" long (after final cut)
4 square table mounting pieces - 6"x6" x 1/4" thick steel, wit 4 holes drilled near corners to attach final welded legs to wood table underside
4 metal bases - One large 12" x 40" x 1/4" thick steel piece which was plasma cut to make 4 bases for the 4 legs
Metal cost:  ~$60-80 depending on where you go to get the metal and if you can use some scrap/salvage metal

Wood:
1 solid core wood door - cut down to specific size, 32" x 60" birch, 1 3/8" thick
Wood cost:  ~$80

Supplies:
Wood stain + polyurethane varnish (or spray cans) - I used matte for wood, gloss for metal legs to increase shine
Wood mounting screws
Felt sticky pads to put under table legs and prevent floor scratches (+ allow easy movement)
Supply cost:  ~$40

Total work desk cost:  ~$200
Comparable furniture design store cost:  $1500-$3000

Step 2: Cut Metal Bases to Length

Use horizontal band saw to cut metal leg pieces to correct length.  Typical sitting table height is about 29" so I cut the legs to 28".  This allows 1 3/8" for the top wood, 1/4" + 1/4" for the metal leg top and bottom pieces and ~1/8" for the carpet/sliding fabric to be put under the metal legs to prevent floor scratches.

Step 3: Polish Legs

Use hand-grinder and course lap wheel to polish metal legs.  They can be put next to each other and moving back and forth you can create a scintillating pattern along the length of the leg for effect.

Step 4: Plasma Cut Metal Bases

Using Corel Draw, you can create any pattern for the plasma cutter to carve out desk feet.  I chose a rounded triangle pattern shown cut out of the 1/4" metal piece.  Plan to make more bases than you need to  have 1-2 spare if needed.

Step 5: Cut/machine Metal Top Squares

You will need to attach the metal legs to the underside of the table/desk.  These can be plasma cut as well however will need holes in them to put bolting screws in (thereby attaching the finished metal leg to the desk top).  Picture shown in next step of these parts.

Step 6: Clean Metal Components

Clean all metal parts with water/TSP mixture solution to remove grease and oil

Step 7: Weld Metal Bases Together

Using a MIG welder for steel weld the top and bottom pieces to the metal polished metal legs.  Be sure to tack weld first then do larger weld seams first on the bottom piece then the top.  Orient vertically and center to make sure the legs are not crooked.  Heat may cause the base piece to warp slightly which can be compensated later with spacer material on the bottom of the legs.

For aluminum bases/legs TIG welding can be used (not done here).

Step 8: Polish Metal Bases

Remove weld impurities by brush polishing the weld seams. 

As the legs are now done and ready, you can spray coat with sealant to prevent rusting.  I used a standard marine clear coat coat spray, gloss finish, 2 coats (let the first coat dry before applying second coat).

Step 9: Buy Wood Desk Top

Purchase solid core wood door at a local lumber yard. You can go and pick out a specific door which has a nice grain pattern.  I would not recommend hollow core as that is very weak to use as a work bench or desk.

Step 10: Stain and Weather Coat Wood Desk Top

Sand down door with 220 fine grit sandpaper and wipe off all wood dust.

Using a wide, good quality brush lay down a coat of wood stain with the table top lying flat on the ground.  Wait 5-15 minutes for penetration (longer will make it stain darker), then using a cloth wipe off excess stain. 

Coat and wipe off stain application in direction of wood grain, using even strokes.  When removing excess you can even out coloring by applying some pressure onto the wood.

Let dry for 4-6 hours and coat underside of table top.

A second coat can be applied for darker stain.

Wait a day then spray coat or brush with polyurethane sealant.  This will prevent water damage if you spill on the table.  2-3 coats can be applied.  I prefer matte finish for the wood.

Step 11: Add Mounting Screws Into Desk Top

On the underside of the desk, wood screw bolts can be put in.  These are similar to drywall mounting screws.  I drilled pilot holes with a drill first to prevent the wood table from cracking at all.  Also when drilling pilot holes be sure to measure the length of the drill bit, possibly marking with blue or black ink to make sure you don't drill through to the other side of the table.

The best way to find the location of these screws is to place the desk top on top of the legs in the position they would be used (2 people make this easier) then ark with ink or do a small pilot drill from the bottom.  Measuring exact dimensions can be tricky so I prefer the 'pre-assemble' method.

Step 12: Assemble!

Put the metal legs in line with the metal screw and screw into the wooden desk top.  You can use washers to add more area on the mounting.

Add felt coasters on the bottom of each leg to prevent wood floor scratches and allow easy movement of the desk.

Ready to use at a fraction of the cost from a designer furniture store and stronger than an IKEA desk for sure!

Comments

author
pddonovan2011 made it!(author)2013-11-24

I love this Instructable. I have a desk that does not please me. It once served a purpose but now needs an upgrade. This desk is simple to construct and, being a welder myself, is in the range of my abilities. Attractive, utilitarian and damned well built. Be proud, for sure, of your achievement! I'm surprised to not see a great deal more comments!

author
philo271 made it!(author)2013-11-24

Hey thanks very much. If you're a welder than you can do this no problem. Best of luck with your builder projects.

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Penolopy+Bulnick made it!(author)2012-08-14

That table is really beautiful and so well constructed! Nice :D

author
philo271 made it!(author)2013-11-24

Hi Penolopy,
Thanks for the comment on my table and I love your cool rainbow hair! Totally awesome and I've never seen that before either :)

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nettro1 made it!(author)2013-07-28

This is really nice. Really. Now where did I put my plasma cutter? Maybe I loaned it to a neighbor?

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Prototyp+81 made it!(author)2012-08-16

nice setup :)