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I Forge Iron

Steel and wood table

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Sorry to flood the que with threads about stuff I've made but I'm excited to share and learn from other people who understand the unique challenges of working with metal. Up to this point I'm completely self taught in both welding and cutting/shaping steel. I am enrolled in a blacksmithing class set for October and I would dearly love to go back and take a formal welding class to learn how wrong my technique probably is but for now I am just excited to produce anything worth sharing.

My younger brother just moved into a new condo with his longtime girlfriend. He mentioned he wanted a table for his front entry hallway to leave keys and stuff on so they'd always be near the door. He needed something long and skinny so it wouldn't take up too much space. After a trip to a local building materials salvage place we found a beautiful 8' x 1' piece of 1.5" thick oak butcher block. The edges of the butcher block were softened with a 1/4" round-over bit on the router top and bottom. I left the wood raw but encouraged my brother to either stain it or at minimum treat it with oil to protect the surface.

The frame I made is pretty simple but I took the time to do it right. 3/4" angle supports each shelf and the legs are 3/4" square tube. I welded and ground everything flush so there are no visible seams when the wood shelves are in place. The X's on each side are 1/2" solid square stock. I wanted to keep the design simple because I wanted it to work with whatever other furniture they own. The final touch was adding adjustable leveling legs (taken from an old desk they were throwing away at my office) to allow the table to sit flat even on an uneven tile floor.

Not the most amazing piece of metal furniture but it is solid and works well in their space. After my aunt visited my brother's new place she sent me a link to a very similar (and in my opinion, not as nice) table with a very similar design being sold for $679 @ http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/08/02/garden/20120802-SHOPPING.html?ref=garden#8 . I'm not sure how many they sell at that price but If I could find buyers for tables like this at half that price I'd probably make another. The original was a gift so no money was exchanged.

The frame after some welding.

The table tops being test fit and waiting for final cleanup and paint.

Oddly I can not find the picture I have of the finished table in place at his house but it looks just like the picture above only the frame is flat black.

Comments, critiques, and criticisms welcome.

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It is a nice console table, good proportions.
I'm not supprised at the price you've mentioned though. Dont be amazed Be encouraged !
And yes, unless wealthy people wander through your driveway ~half of that $700 is yours...
minus expenses, paperwork, finding folks who want to sell them, yadda yadda

It is good looking though, and should you pursue the idea of selling them be shure to take the unpainted picture
as an example of an alternative finish ( you might be supprized ).

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Nice job Handsome. Sure there could be improvements, we're all familiar with that feeling. We tend to be our own worst critics but that's a good thing it pushes us to improve no matter what we're doing. I can see getting $700 a copy for nice console tables like that. For variety you can try different end patterns for the stiffener, say nice large "S" scrolls and such.

I like it.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Several years ago I made a table quite similar for some young folks starting out. The top was plate glass and the bottom shelf was flattened expanded.

When we went to the salvage place the original idea had been to use stone such as marble or granite for the top and I'm not even sure that a lower shelf was ever discussed. The place carries a wide variety of stone slabs but most of it is broken/remnants and would have needed to be re-cut and polished to make them work. I don't have to tools to cut stone like that and I think having it re-cut professionally would have been a budget buster for this project so we opted for the wood instead.

Personally I like the wood. Both from the fabricator standpoint of it being easier to cut to size and router the edges for a cleaner finish but also I just like the look of wood and steel together. With the rather simple construction of the steel frame, he can always have stone cut to size at a later date and just drop it in place if he decides it needs an upgrade. I even teased him about making some plywood cutouts the size of each shelf that could be done with a tile mosaic or something. He could have a half dozen of them and rotate them seasonally. A Christmas tree for December, red and pink hearts for February, shamrocks for March. I was a little concerned that without some other bracing the table would lack strength from side to side (a problem the maker of the table in the link I posted solved with the large X across the back) but after I got it together it feels more than sturdy enough for its intended use. I wouldn't stack a dozen cinder blocks on the top of it but it holds a little flower arrangement, a purse, and a little basket to throw their key in just fine.

As far as cost goes, I think I spent about $65 total on materials. It took about 6 hours broken down over the course of a few days. I think I could make a second one much more quickly but I had to do a lot of figuring out how to hold pieces in place and checking and double checking to make sure my jigs were square on this first one. If I were selling a table like this, I think I would probably ask something like $300 and be willing to negotiate to closer to $250 to make a sale. At that price I'd oil finish the wood myself and possibly use a color other than black on the frame. Once I get my forge going and learn proper scrolling and other more decorative steel work, I think I could spice up this basic design to put it closer to the $400-$500 mark. Some of that has to do with this area though. My day job is in Rockville, MD very close to a town called Potomac, MD. The average home selling price in Potomac last year was >$1million and there are plenty of homes there well into the tens of millions (in the 12th richest county in the country I believe). To me, $500 is more than one decimal place away from being an impulse purchase but there is a whole population of people here who have that kind of money falling out of their pockets and getting lost between the sofa cushions. As Kevin mentioned, the hard part is finding buyers who have that kind of coin without selling your soul to a gallery or broker who wants to take 50-60% off the top.

Thanks again for all the kind words and advice from everyone.
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