A Good Source of Welding Projects – Artisan Welding Projects
I have had the good fortune to come across a book of projects that can be constructed with welding tools. I will outline one of them in this article but the rest can be found in the book "Artisan Welding Projects, 25 Decorative Projects for Hobby Welders" by Karen Ruth. I found the book at my local library and maybe you can find something similar at yours. After reading through some of the projects, I think the book assumes you have at least a few tools other than a welder at your disposal. It requires you to do things like cut and grind, as well as paint and finish. I am going to assume though, that if you possess a welder, you probably have other common tools.
In this section, I will describe the nesting tables project from the book. This project will produce three tables. One larger one, a medium one, and a small one, all scaled so that the smaller ones fit snugly beneath the larger. With projects such as these, it's a good idea to read through the instructions completely before you begin so that you know what's expected later.
Materials for the tables:
- 28' of 1/2" x 1/2" square bar
- 17' of 1 x 1 x 1/8" angle iron
- 1, 2' x 4' sheet of 1/2" veneered plywood
- 12 3/4" #8 panhead screws
- 3' length of 1/2" pipe
- Carpenter's square
- Power drill with 3/16" and 1/8" metal bits
- Bench with a strong vise
Before you begin, clean all the metal parts with denatured rubbing alcohol.
1) First, cut 4, 18" pieces of the 1/2" x 1/2" square bar. These will be the legs of the large table.
Next clamp the lower 1/2" of a leg into a strong bench vise. Use a 3' length of 1/2" pipe to bend it about 5 degrees. This is so that the lower portion of the legs will splay out when finished. With the first leg as a template, bend all the rest of the legs to match.
Now cut four pieces for the mid-sized table and four for the small table. The mid-sized table leg size is 16" of the 1/2" x 1/2" square bar. Also cut four for the small table. They measure 14". Bend these in the same way that you bent the first four.
2) Next we will make the frames for the tabletops.
Each tabletop consists of two long pieces and two short pieces cut from the 1 x 1 x 1/8" angle iron.
- The large table, long sides are 23" long, and the short sides 17".
- The mid-sized table long sides are 20" long with the short sides at 14".
- The small table long sides are 17" with the short ones at 11".
When these are all cut, miter the ends to 45 degrees, or notch them so that they fit together snugly.
Using one long side and one short from the large table, lay them on the bench in an L shape and check for square with a carpenters square. Then clamp them down and tack them together. Do this with the other two pieces as well, forming another L shape. Then fit the two L's together to make a rectangular frame, then tack them. Check for square with the carpenters square. Weld the outside joints when everything is square, then grind them smooth.
Do this for the mid-sized table and small table frame pieces as well.
3) Attaching the legs.
If you plan on using tile for the tabletop, weld the legs to the flat side of the tabletop frame so that the L iron can hold the tiles and backing material. Otherwise, weld the legs inside the flange so that the flat side is up. In either case, make sure that the bend in the legs flares outward from the center, preferably towards the long side.
Be sure to check to make sure the legs are square before you weld them in place.
Next we'll make the crossbars from the 1/2" x 1/2" square bar. These attach to the legs 4" from the bottom, reinforcing the frame and giving you a place to put your feet if you want. Since everything else is welded in place, we'll cut these to fit. Do the short sides first, measuring them to fit and welding them in place, then only one of the long sides. Do this for all three tables.
4) The last step is to make the tabletop.
The tabletop can be made from either wood, metal or tile. If you're doing tile, make sure you attached the legs on the flat side of the tabletop frame so that the L iron makes a cradle for the backing material and the tile.
If using wood for the tabletop, cut and finish it with stain or paint before attaching it to the table. The edges can be covered with banding, or routed with a 1/2" round bit. To attach the top, drill a 3/16" hole in the center of each side of the table frame as well as a 1/8" pilot hole in the underside of the wooden top. Screw these together with the 3/4" panhead screws. There should be a 1/2" overhang all around if you've gotten it right. Affixing the tops to the frames will be the same for all three tables aside from the measurements. The dimensions of the large tabletop are 24 x 18", the mid-sized tabletop is 21 x 15", and the small tabletop is 18 x 12".
For a metal top some materials you might want to use are expanded sheet metal, aluminum, or patterned stainless steel. Cut the desired piece of metal so that it fits the top of the frame with no overlap. You can either tack it from the underside or weld the entire perimeter, grinding the edge smooth when you're done. If you're using a rough textured pattern, you can cover it with glass so that you have a smooth surface while ensuring that the pattern is still visible. Treat the small and mid-sized tables the same just with their smaller dimensions.
If you're doing tile, cut a piece of plywood so that it fits in the cradle that the tabletop frame makes and use silicon adhesive to affix it in place. Draw the desired pattern on the plywood, apply adhesive to the backs of the tiles, and stick them down. When you're done placing the tiles, use a rubber mallet and carpet covered 2 x 4 to set them. When the adhesive is done setting, apply grout according to the manufacturer's instructions everywhere except between the tiles and metal frame. Use colored silicone sealant between the frame and tiles.
I hope that this is an adequate description of the Nesting Tables project in the Artisan Welding Projects book. I recommend getting your hands on a copy because the pictures add a lot to the instructions that I just wasn't able to describe well using words alone. Thank you for reading and happy welding.
Written by Dustin Saunders