Introduction: Marble and Stainless Steel Planters
This idea came in mind back in 2017 when I went to a marble shop with my brother for marble flooring of the newly built first and second floor of our house and there we saw a bunch of broken slabs and asked them about the seller. Seller agrees to sell them at the minimum rate and that felt very cheap to us as compared to those which we purchase for the flooring. For our design, the material need not be too precise and straight because we both estimated that with this price we can easily manage out our build cost. The second good thing about this build is that the material used in this is all natural which I think very awesome for a build like this which always came in contact with water. To manage space problem in our house we decided to cut the pieces at the time when we build a steel and ceramic countertop table, really enjoyed that build and this one also. For me, the most satisfying thing for me is that these planters increase the beauty of my house. In the future, I have a plan to build some more planters also, so follow us if you are a plants lover.
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Step 1: Material and Tools Used
Following is the list of tools used for building these planters.
Following is the list of material used for making these planters
1. Marble slabs
2. Wooden planks for the bottom support during the cutting process
3. 1½” SS angle
4. 1” SS angle
5. 1½” square tubing
6. 1” square tubing
8. End caps
9. SS 308 welding electrodes
Step 2: Cutting Process
First thing in this build is to cut those slabs into required pieces. This task definitely not a light work you need a second helping hand in these kinds of heavy duty tasks. So have my brother for help. First, we lay down wooden planks onto the floor. After that, onto each plank place, some rag for the additional cushioning because along with the weight this thing is extremely fragile and that packing really helps to lift up the material once it cut down. The slabs we have are 33” in width so we decide to cut them in 11” wide section that will provide us minimum wastage. The irregular edges are removed in the further process. Once the slabs cut down to the equal pieces I made a design so that wastage can be minimized as possible as we can. The SketchUp file I made is just for reference purpose and it really stood up as we wanted. So according to the calculation, the planters are 38” in length, 11” in width and 12” in height. Although the final build height is around 30”. After cutting the longer section by using the fence system the smaller sections are cut onto the multipurpose track saw. One thing you need to understand is that always use water during the use of diamond wheels onto marble. The water will prevent the overheating of the blade and increase the life of your tool. Water will also prevent dust from flying around and making other things dusty. Onto the jig, I cut down all the smaller pieces which are going to use to build a box with an open top. This process is similar to cutting plywood but with heavy material you have.
Step 3: Material Cutting for the Frame
Once the marble is cut down to the final dimensions I cut down the material for the frame which is going to hold the marble box within itself. For the main frame I am using 1½” square pipe for this build, I cut them onto my chop saw, but I recommend to have a stop block kind of thing to obtain a repeated cut with much more accuracy. I also cut down 1½ angle and 1” angle for the top and bottom frame of the marble box. This is extremely necessary to have some kind of support for the marble box because you can't leave that joint just onto the glue. So for that support angles are cut down to the required lengths.
Step 4: Deburring
Once the cutting process finished I start the cleaning process. For that, I use 120 grit flap disk in the angle grinder and use that to knock off the sharp edges. I bevel the edges of angle but I didn't do that with the box pipe because I am using stick welding for this process. If you have tig welding then bevel the edges is necessary for you. After this, the pieces are ready for the welding.
Step 5: Welding the Angle Frame
So for the welding work, I started with angle frame the thickness of the angle is 4mm which I think sufficient for the this when I saw the overall project. For the joining of angle frame instead of a miter joint, I prefer butt joint by removing the small portion equal to the one of angle arm and cut it with the angle grinder. Later on, I use a grinder to bring it to the finish stage. Then I start the welding. First I clamped the pieces and check the squareness with the help of speed square and made a tack weld and the same procedure has been repeated for the rest of the sides. Once the tack weld is done I recheck the joint with square and complete the full weld.
Step 6: Welding the Legs and Frame.
To word the legs together I first made the H shape in which the horizontal section lies 1½” from the bottom. Then I made a tack weld and ready bunch of H shapes legs. Welding with the stick welding difficult because of the amount of heat it generates. Which always leads to warpage. To prevent that thing it is better to first make the frame with tack weld and then proceed the final weld. To join the H shape legs I cut down a stretcher piece with the same material. To weld, the stretcher piece I clamped all the thing together, leveled up everything and make each joint square and tack weld to finish the basic frame. Make sure to check the squareness at regular intervals.
After that, I connect the legs and 1½” angle frame together. I made a mark and place the legs onto that marked location and tack weld both assemble together. Once everything looks perfect to me I made a complete weld. One thing you must have to keep in mind that do not make long weld using stick welding. Stitch welding is the only method with which you can achieve good beads onto your projects. Otherwise, you are ended up with blow holes which are extremely difficult to repair.
Step 7: Working on Decoratives
After this, I start the work onto the decorative pieces. These are used to hold some inlay marble pieces. For the side of the legs, I am using 1” square tube. For that, I made a small square which can be fitted inside that space. Once it's done I clean up the weld joints and buff it completely because once it's permanently weld to the frame it's extremely difficult to finish because of lack of space. After that to join that square with those legs I cut down two longer pieces which are going to connect the frame to top and bottom according to my design. Since there is nothing for the top that's why I weld a piece of the flat bar onto the top. So that the decorative piece can be welded. Other than that I also welded 2 pieces of 1” X 2” to the base also. At this location, I am also going to install some Inserts.
Step 8: Cleanup
To bring this frame to finished state I first use the pickling agent to remove the blackening because there are many places where I get a very good weld bead and I don't want to damage that finish by grinding that away. But around that bead, there is an area which needs some touch up so to do that I use pickling agent. If you buff that black burnt surface you are not able to achieve a good finish but if you follow the same steps after the pickling agent you get a fantastic result. You need to keep that agent for a few minutes but not kept it for so long otherwise it starts eating the surface and leads to corrosion. After that, I first use 120 grit flap disk then followed by Scotch Brite wheel and then ended up with the buffing wheel and green polishing compound.
Step 9: Marble Inlay
For the inlay work, I cut down some leftover pieces onto that multipurpose saw into a triangular shape and then glue them up with the help of two-part epoxy. For the bottom inlay, I cut down some strips which are going to glued together to form a slab which then fitted inside that bottom area. One thing I want to tell you that these pieces are leftover from our household works or from our other projects which we built so far. Once the epoxy dried I take the measurements of actual size and then cut them to the required length. Later on, I finish the surface up to 2000 grinding wheel. Here the polishing onto the stone has been done to only one side because other side not going to be visible. Once they all finished I mixed two-part epoxy and provide support from the bottom side so that it became completely flush to the visible side.
Step 10: Installation of End Caps.
Installation of end caps is much easier to do them in the early stage because once the slabs gonna glued up together it's not that easy to do because of the weight. I place them onto the open end and made some blows with the mallet and it fits right where it needed. Now when I drag, it's not going to damage the surface of the marble flooring.
Step 11: Gluing Up to Make the Box.
Finally, the gluing process came for which we have been waiting for a long time. For that, we cleaned up all the surfaces and place them in the right Orientation around the planter base to ease the installation process. Then we use specialized epoxy suitable for joining marble etc. And mixed them accordingly to the weight on the weighing scale. Then mixed thoroughly. Then we first lay the epoxy onto the bottom surface and spread the epoxy little more than required. The plan is that when slab placed on that the glue squeezes out and make a seal around the slab piece. We repeat this for all sides. This is definitely a two man's job because the pieces are very fragile and I don't have enough to complete this build. To keep some amount of force until the glue dries I also clamp down bar clamps, which gonna kept the pieces to its place until the glue dries, since it's a slow setting epoxy it's definitely going to take some time. To make it more watertight we apply the glue along the corners and make fillets so that water will not leaking out of this box. Once it dries the box is ready for the final finishing.
Step 12: Reinforcing the Box and Finishing
Once the epoxy dries the box is ready for the final weld. For this, I place 1” rectangular angle section over the top of the marble box and then weld it with the angle pieces. To eliminate the contour onto the angle I need to remove the straightness from that marble box but it's not that hard just make one pass with grinding and it's good to go. Then I first made a tack weld those angles onto the corners. There is some distortion into the frame but a little bit of clamping sort out the problem quite nicely. Once tack welds are done I made the full weld and then finishes those welds until they become shiny.
Step 13: Plants Installation
Now the fun part came I went to a nursery and saw a bunch of different kinds of a flower some of them I never heard about. I also grab some fertilizers packets which I am gonna use for the planters. For the soil, I am using regular soil with nothing too fancy and install the plants. To prevent the spillage of water I also spread a layer of aggregates onto the soil. Although you need bigger aggregates those are much easier to replace if any of the plants die. But the smaller aggregates works for me because even today I need not replace any plant but in future, I am definitely going to replace them with bigger gravels.
Step 14: Finally
In the design, the project doesn't reveal too much but after the plantation, it definitely grabs some attention. Definitely this one of our beautiful project which we built so far. If you like this then show your support and try to make this.
Runner Up in the