In our conference area at work we had a rather interesting table. Â It was a huge poster of James Dean sitting on top of a piece of wobbly antique furniture. Â It was time to upgrade the desk to something more usable and fitting of serious meetings. Â Clients don’t like to sign expensive contracts on a wobbly table. Â It surely sends a message of sloppy workmanship and an attitude of “eh, good enough” that will give someone a little bit of subconscious uncertainty about our company.
The idea was to utilize some existing counter top pieces from IKEA. Â They were relatively cheap, easy to finish, and I could focus on an interesting frame to hold them up. Â I started with some 1 1/2″ steel tubing from the local metal place. Â I drew up a plan on a napkin and started cutting, cleaning, and prepping the steel for welding. Â I drilled holes in the frame so I could easily bolt the wood down to keep everything sturdy. Â For each bolt I put a small hole on the top and a large hole on the bottom of the square, so I could use a drill gun to tighten the bolt. Â It was much easier to measure and drill everything before I welded things together. Â It’s extremely difficult to steady a table frame on the drill press!
To solve the problem of legroom, while still allowing for leg supports at the bottom of the legs, I made some interesting looking 45 degree pieces and attached everything together. Â The key was doing some trigonometry to get the angles just right as the square tubing was getting joined together in non-right angles. Â Once I figured out the dimensions and angles of the cutouts I marked the tubing with a sharpie and removed the offending material with a cutter on an angle grinder. Â Once I laid it out on the ground I was able to fit everything together beautifully.
For the feet of the table I used some adjustable 5/8″ threaded feet. Â This way I don’t have to worry about getting the entire thing 100% level. Â Our floors aren’t level anyway, so that wouldn’t have helped.
I finished the steel with some Johnson’s Paste Wax, too keep it from rusting. Â It’s an indoor table, so the finishing can be light. Â I finished the counter tops with Tung Oil and put them on top. Â I also left the pieces separated by about an inch so electrical cords can be run up the middle to help keep a tidier desk for computers. Â The result is a useful, sturdy, elegant, and gorgeous table. Â I’m definitely proud of it.