Here's my process for welding up a set of steel legs for a coffee table I made a while ago. Check out the video to see this tutorial in motion!
Step 1: Removing the Old Wooden Legs
In a previous video, I made this mahogany coffee table with wooden legs. The wooden legs were ok, but I decided to upgrade them to steel legs.
I removed the old legs and set them aside.
Step 2: Cutting the Tops of the Trapezoids
I'm using half inch by one and a half inch steel for these legs.
I cut a piece of scrap wood to the exact width of the table. I used this piece of wood to mark and cut 2 pieces for the tops of the legs.
I used a cutoff piece to transfer its exact width onto each end of the top pieces. I then notched out an inset for the side of the legs to fit into.
Step 3: Drilling the Attachment Holes
At the drill press, I drilled pilot holes where I'll later attach the legs to the table. I used a step bit to enlarge the holes enough to fit a washer up through the bottom, but not out the other side.
Attaching the legs to the table this way will allow for small movements in the wood as it expands and contracts with humidity over time.
Step 4: Cutting the Sides of the Trapezoids
Now that the top pieces were done, I cut 4 pieces to 16 inches for the sides of the legs.
Step 5: Cutting the Bottoms of the Trapezoids
I cut a piece of scrap wood at 81 degrees and used it to layout the three completed pieces of the leg in order to get the measurement for the bottom. This ended up being 13 and a quarter inches.
Just as I'd done for the top pieces of the legs, I notched out insets in the bottom pieces as well.
Step 6: Welding the Trapezoids Together
With all the pieces cut and drilled, I used some magnets and my 81 degree piece of scrap wood to lay out each leg and tack everything in place, then came back and completed all of the welds.
Step 7: Cleaning Up the Welds
After I finished all the welds, I used a 40 grit flap wheel to smooth everything out.
To get into tight corners, I like to switch to an eighth inch cutting disc.
I cut another piece of scrap wood to the length of the table minus 3 inches and used that to mark the length of a cross brace to attach the 2 legs.
After tacking the cross brace in place, I finished the welds and ground them smooth so the table could sit flush against the steel base.
Step 9: Finishing the Base
I painted the base with three coats of a flat back satin spray paint.
Step 10: Attaching the Base to the Table Top
I pre-drilled into each attachment point, then drove in 5/8 inch wood screws through washers to attach the table and the base.