So awhile ago I posted a video showing me building a steel base for a coffee table. I never made the second half of the video because I never made the second half of the video. I did however, finish the table. It took me longer than expected, but in the end, I think the finished product turned out fantastic and am pretty proud of it.
That being said there were a lot of things I learned as I made the table. I learned all about cold blacking solutions and drive screws. I learned how much work it is to add riveted gussets. I learned how expensive old school wire infused security glass can be. And I learned that while it is intimidating to cut up a large beautiful slab of wood, a single person can do it easily with just a normal old circular saw and hand saw.
The gussets took a lot of time but were not all that hard to do. I cut 11 gauge steel sheets into squares using a plasma torch, cut off one of the corners on each one and drilled 5 holes in each on the drill press. Then I clamped the gussets in place on the table base, drilled the specified sized hole and hammered the rivets through the gusset into the table base. That simple, now drill another 99 holes, burn up and break a few drill bits, wear out the motor in your cheap cordless drill, and don’t lose a single rivet because you only ordered exactly enough to finish the job and you’re done. The table was then sprayed with a matte finish aerosol polyurethane to prevent corrosion.
The slab portion of the top is made of a beautifully colored slab of Beetle Kill Pine I picked up at Hobby Hardwood just outside of Huntsville. It was the first time I had ever worked with a piece of wood like this and I was pretty intimidated. I decided to cut the slab roughly in half and cut one of the live edges off and join the two pieces to create a roughly 34″ by 44″ table top. I decided just to use a piece of steel tubing as a straight edge to drag my circular saw along cutting most of the way through the slab and then finish the cut with a small hand saw. A little hand planing and sanding and the the top was biscuit joined together and glued. The results almost look book matched.
If you look closely you can also get a glimpse at the shelving along the bottom. The center shelf is made from a single piece of 3/16″ plate steel with 1/4″ wired security glass plates on either side. I’m looking forward to doing more projects with that type of glass in the future.
All in all I think the table turned out great and I learned a lot in the process of making it.