This may be my favorite piece I've built so far. It is actually something for my own home, so I may be a bit biased, but a lot of love went into this table.
I've been drooling over the "Aiden" table from World Market for quite a while, and $289.99 for a coffee table isn't a bad price, but I could do better. There were just a couple things I didn't like about it.
First, although the top is "made from real mango wood" it is only a thin veneer. I would end up tweaking the color of the wood anyways (a bit too bright for me). Also, some of the reviews I read mentioned the casters falling off and I really wanted the look of over-sized casters.
I've been wanting to practice my welding since my first welding lessons, so I finally decided to give this coffee table a shot.
The construction of it was actually pretty simple. I started by building two frames (42" x 28") from 1.25" wide, 1/8" thick angle iron. I used a chop saw (different from a miter saw) to miter the corners. I then used a MIG welder to run a bead of weld across the top and outside seams.
I cut four legs from the same angle iron at 10". I then flipped the first frame on it's face and welded a leg on the outside of each corner.
I flipped the second frame on it's face, lined up the legs, and welded the pieces together. I now pretty much had a rectangular box with the angle iron open to the center.
I picked up my steel from Industrial Metal Supply and found some awesome, heavy, 6" v-groove steel wheels. I've been looking on-line, through thrift shops and craigslist for large casters for a good price. I may as well have been looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Cheap, over-sized, steel casters do not exist.
When I saw these wheels, I started to think about ways to mount them to my coffee table. I came up with a cheap and somewhat easy solution. I'll share a tutorial on them soon. This system would work as rigid (non-swivel) casters for a number of different projects.
To attach them, I drilled a 1/2" hole in the top of the caster bracket, as well as all four corners of the bottom rail of the frame. I then ran a 3/4" long, 1/2" bolt through the bracket and bottom rail, and secured it with a nut.
With my frame done, it was time to address the top. I was really going for a "pallet-ish" look for the wood, but I've experienced pulling pallets apart (about as much fun as going to the dentist), and to try to find enough slats around the same size and thickness wouldn't be easy.
A good substitution for pallet wood are fence pickets. The are rough-sawed, cheap, and come in a variety of widths. For my size of table, the design called for 8, 5.5" slats. I simply cut them all to length, and attached them to a scrap piece of OSB, cut to size, using wood glue and finish nails.
I drilled 10 holes in the top rail of my metal frame, and secured the top with wood screws from the underside. The bottom shelf, I cut to fit inside the angle iron. Just make sure to notch out the corners of the OSB, underneath, so there is room to accommodate the caster bolts and nuts.
The last step was to add the decorative gussets in the corners.
Finally, this is the World Market "Aiden" table...
And here is my version.
I did a few things differently. For starters, I didn't curve my corner gussets. In fact, they aren't real gussets at all. I have a tutorial on how to make those coming up soon too.
Secondly, I chose to add a carriage bolt in each corner to give a little detail to the top. Probably my favorite detail.
The slats and finish of the wood are different too. The finish I used was the same as the wood crate tutorial.
I REALLY love the 6" casters! To finish the metal frame, I selectively sanded areas with a fine grit flap disk. The wheels received lots of love from a wire brush. I then played around with a couple different patinas that I bought while at Industrial Metal Supply. I think I was able to achieve the tarnished, rusty look I was going for, without over doing it.
The frame, wheels, and wood all received 2 coats of wax to seal everything.
Its exactly what I was hoping for.
I've asked this before, but I'll ask it again. Why don't you hear of women welding? You hear of women creating beautiful things from wood, but rarely do you meet a woman that welds.
It's actually fun! And really not that hard. I would suggest keeping someone close by to help you set your speed and voltage until you get some experience. Also, practice makes perfect. I still have a ways to go with my welding, but I can do it well enough for my needs.
Please feel free to ask questions about this project! I would love for you to try it. Cutting metal is slow and tedious, but this table is really quite simple.
I was talking to the husband about it, and I think it may be possible to create a "no weld" version. Just lots of hole and bolts. If you are interested in trying, let me know! I would love to see it!
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A Stroll Thru Life