NO WELD Metal & Glass End Table | Brazing Aluminum

Monday, October 7, 2019 -

*This post is sponsored by The Home Depot. I have been compensated for my time and provided with product or payment in exchange. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

I know. The idea of welding is scary. I think professional welders encourage that idea to keep people away from it and keep paying them for all their metal fabrication needs. The truth is, my husband taught me how to weld years ago and I was SHOCKED to learn that it's not nearly as hard as it looks. It takes lots of practice to get the feel of it and produce pretty looking welds, but it's not too hard to get two pieces of steel to stick together. Now, even with that being said, I'm sure many of you are reading this and saying "I don't care what you tell me Elisha, there is no way I'm ever going to try welding". Well, there's good new for you my friends. You have other options. 

Have you ever heard of brazing aluminum? Admittedly, it's is a lot more limited than welding and doesn't work on steel, but brazing gives you the option to join metal together without having to purchase an expensive machine or have lots of technical experience. I've been wanting to experiment with different materials lately, and that's what I just did on this modern aluminum pipe and glass end table. 
Great news. The aluminum brazing worked! And it's actually super fun. Check out the build video for the full process. Keep scrolling for a few tips, tools used, and finally the pretty pictures.

No matter what type of metal you buy, odds are it will come from the mill with scale. oxidation, and/or a greasy residue. Luckily, a little acetone cleans that up lickity split. I strongly recommend getting a good pair of gloves when you're moving metal around, like a pair of  Gorilla Grip Max Impact Gloves with TouchscreenSharp edges and slippery surfaces are definitely different than working with wood. Luckily the Gorilla Grip Max Impact gloves are dipped with a specialized coating to keep your hands protected no matter the application wet, dry or oily. 

*Note: it is not recommended to wear gloves while using power tools. 

So what's the magic to the whole brazing process? Just two things: brazing rods and a good MAP gas Torch Kit.

I've recently received the new Bernzomatic MAP-Pro Hose Torch Kit and it's a winner. I've used a couple different Bernzomatic torches in the past, but this one is definitely my favorite. It comes with a holster! And the long, flexible hose made getting the torch tip into awkward spaces (like inside a round end table) much much easier.

On another note: If you are wanting to join smaller and/or thinner pieces of metal, soldering might be an option. Did you know Ryobi makes an 18V Soldering Station? It allows you to adjust and set the temperature anywhere from 300°F to 900°F and features an iron holder. It's perfect for joining wires and fixing electronics. 

Ready to see the final result??

One of the coolest things about aluminum is that the oxide it forms is clear. That means it doesn't develop rust like steel does. It also means you don't have to apply a finish over the surface.

I'm digging the round pipes right next to the round-over profile on my Stair Tread Arm Chair.

I discovered you can find pre-fab glass table tops easily online. That's opened up a world of design ideas for me. Don't be surprised if you see glass popping up again soon.

And if you're worried about how strong those brazed aluminum joints are, you gotta go check out the video above. I'll put it this way, if the joints can withstand multiple blows from my DeWalt 4lb Engineering Hammer, then they should be more than strong enough to hold my tea. In fact, this baby sledge hammer was designed for driving stakes, breaking concrete, and demolition work, so I'm pretty proud of my brazing work. 

What do you think about aluminum brazing? You have any ideas for new DIY projects now?

Ready to build your own glass and metal end table? Feel free to pin the image below to save the idea for later. 

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