Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

December 7, 2011

Build an Easy Welded Desk Base

This post is brought to you (with little interjections from me) by my wonderful Handy Hubby.  It was a little long, so I broke the "reveal" and "welding how-to" into two posts.  Check back tomorrow to see the desk surface and welded base together, forever.

This was a fairly basic weld job but we aren't going to get fully into how to weld, as that skill is a little more in depth than what a blog post can cover.  It's just plain dangerous to pick up a welder for the first time with only these written instructions.  If you are interested in learning, check out your local college.  Many of them offer night classes as well as regular curriculum courses.

Supplies:
  1. Flux core wire feed welder (ours was a gift from Tanya's grandpa)
  2. Grinder (ours was $20 - on sale at Canadian Tire)
  3. 0.75" square metal tubing (2 eight foot lengths)
  4. Welding mask (the welder came with a cheap-y one, but Hubby had his own)
  5. Work gloves/protective clothing (something safer than what Hubby donned, please)
  6. A workbench helps, but something else can be jury-rigged
  7. Tape measure
  8. Square
  9. Chalk
  10. Workshop/garage (this is messy!)
  11. Metal primer
  12. Paint & brushes


A note about the welder:
For this job the machine we used was a Lincoln Weld-Pak 100.  It is a basic flux core wire feed welder that is great for home and hobby use and can plug into your standard 15A 110V outlet.  This exact machine is no longer produced, but there are many similar ones at the Lincoln Electric website and available at many retailers.
(Tanya's note) You might also need one of these:

Preparation:

First we measured the height Hubby wanted for his desk. Already knowing the design we wanted to copy, we quickly determined how many lengths of tubing we would need (two, 8 foot lengths were enough and could fit into our Versa hatchback).

We purchased the metal from a metal supply shop. Turns out, we could have had them do all the cuts there. 

We packed some old sheets, to keep our Versa clean from the grime, and Hubby even fashioned little cardboard "ends" to keep the dash from getting scratched. My heart melted when he pulled them out of the hatch at the metal shop. What a cutie.

How-to:
This part was written by Handy Hubby . . .
I measured and marked my cuts with chalk.  I used a 4.5” angle grinder with cut off disks to cut the lengths I needed and ground the ends smooth (freshly cut metal can be razor sharp) with a grinding disk.  Remember not to use cutting disks for grinding because cutting disks are not designed for it and it can be very dangerous.


Using a framing square, I laid out the pieces on the garage floor and used the welder to tack them in place.  Start with small tack welds, as it allows you to check for square as you work.  Also, as a welder heats up the metal, it can distort the shape.  The tack welds hold everything in place as you complete all the welding.




Once the welding was complete, I used the grinding disk to smooth out the welded areas, remove any welding spatter, and level out any welds that were less than perfect.  I can weld, but I am not a pro.


Then I slapped on a coat of metal primer and a few coats of white paint (leftover from painting the walls).  If we had waited until summer, we could have used spray paint for a smoother finish.


In order to fix the top to the legs, I used 1.25” wood screws.  The top is 0.75” and the tubing is 0.75”, so a 1.25” screw can go through the legs and into the top with 0.25” to spare.  Drill holes in the tubing that are just large enough for the screw threads to pass through.  Pre-drill a smaller hole in the table top from the bottom (ensuring you don’t go all the way through!) to provide a path for the screw and eliminate the chance of cracking the wood.  I used four screws per base piece and it seems to be sufficient, but I can add more later if needed.


To protect the floor we simply attached stick-on felt feet to the bottom bar.

As a side safety note, read all tool instructions and when using a grinder always wear safety glasses with your face shield.  You do not want to see a cutting disk come apart at 11000rpm.

Thanks Hubby!

Apologies for crummy photos, we were project-crazy so too tired for pretty pics, plus we were worried that photos of the actual welding could ruin the lens.  But check back tomorrow to see the desk 100% COMPLETE (the varnish has cured - woo-hoo).
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9 comments

  1. I think hubby needs his own blog!! Wow, that is quite an accomplishment and a very nice looking accomplishment. Can't wait to see the final product.

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  2. Hubby DOES need his own blog. But I don't want him to start a projects blog and pilfer material I've already pilfered from him. He needs a blog chronicling the process of turning our '92 Dodge Colt into a race car (which is - slowly - happening). But he's blog reluctant. Curious. Who wouldn't want an all-consuming hobby that makes no money??

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  3. Exciting! Great job!! Can't wait to see the completed desk :)

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  4. I'm whispering this...
    'major handy hubby envy'
    fee x

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  5. Even though we had to buy a desk due to time restraints...okay, we're procrastinators, I am totally taking notes here. Future dream desk!

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  6. I'm sure your purchased desk is lovely, Julia. Hey - we can't DIY everything, right? Check back tomorrow to see our desk complete! (With purchased lamps and chair).

    Maybe we should swap: you guys DIY us some awesome lamps and we'll whip up another desk!

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  7. Thank you so much for making this post about the welded desk and the work progress! I can´t wait till my really gold-handed husband will take his welding class that he is looking forward to, but must postpone because of his working and study schedule. Seeing what you have done with your office area, I can only get another confirmation that being able to do welding for home projects is such a great asset!
    And you do have a great area to work now - I like the combination of white & black and clean lines.

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  8. That's amazing that your husband will be taking a course! Our headboard and side tables (see the townhouse tour tab under my header) are also welded. Once you have the skill (or the Hubby) and the welder, metal furniture is ridiculously inexpensive but makes a huge impact!

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