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Sofa Table Base Help Needed


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I'm getting ready to start on a sofa table for our house.


I have a request from the boss to make the base along the lines of the drawing I did below.  This design is based on a lamp she really likes.  Of course, it can't be an easy design...... :rolleyes: .


Thinking that I will have flat stock along the bottom of the table to attach to.  Then attach the legs to the flat stock. 


For the flat stock I have some 4" x 6" x 3/8" angle that I can flatten out.  I'd guess the table slab at around 30 lbs max, maybe a little less.  It is about 60" long x 18" wide x 1-1/2" thick.  The top of the table will be appoximately 36" off the floor.


On the legs I was thinking about using some 1-1/2" solid square stock I had.  I would flatten the ends of the square, fishtailing the feet out wide.  Punching the primary leg to slip the secondary though.


I'm not sure I can do this and make it structural without using my mig welder, but if anyone has any ideas I'd love to hear them because I'd much rather use traditional joinery methods where ever possible.


I think I'd like to use some wraps with 5/16" - 3/8" round stock if possible, but not a necessity.















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Need more width to prevent it tipping easily---can you morph the design to a 3 point system?

That's what I was thinking as well.  No matter how wide I fishtail the square stock out it's going to want to tip, unless I go with really wide material.


I'm open to any ideas at this point, I'm struggling with how to make this work at the moment.


What if I split the stock at the bottom to make four feet basically?

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What if I split the stock at the bottom to make four feet basically?


Sounds like this may the best way to go structurally and aesthetically.


Do you have any software that you can use to render what it might look like? The idea sounds good but looking at your drawing all I could initially picture was “ironing board”

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Here's another design she likes......doesn't look any easier though.....go figure.


I could build this with my forge, plasma cutter, & mig welder. 


Trying to figure out if I can come up with a similar version of this as well.




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I'd split the back end a ways up and try to forge similar swoops in the split ends and leave the other  one  alone to make a 3 point stable set


for the other suggested design---sheetmetal.

Need to figure out if 1-1/2" square stock would give me enough material for the feet once it's split out.  But yeah, I think that would be a good version of what she wants, especially if I can get the split end spread enough to make the table stable. 


I was thinking a third separate leg, but I like what you are describing (or at least what I think you're describing) because it keeps the same design flow.

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I thought the slab looked like it had a wide end and a pointy end so the 3 point support would mirror that too.


Any chance of forge welding the back legs together allowing full crossection of material for the feet?

I was thinking about as well.  Forge welding would eliminate the need for settling for smaller feet caused by splitting.  Plus with the material I have on hand it would work out better overall.  This may be a better apporach.

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So glad you could make it Bob, would you mind posting up some pictures of furniture you've built to give me some other ideas?


Do you think 1-1/2" stock with be large enough for my "table" or will it likely fall down?


How would you join the leg and tail?

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Well Bob,  if you never really got into furniture making I can definitely understand.  I'm new at this and just trying to do what I can to learn new techniques by attempting to make things.


If you don't mind, maybe you could post up some of your traditional joinery projects, I think seeing those could really help me with my projects.


I really appreciate the help Bob S.

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Here is a 3 leg version of your initial drawing,,,air pics are great. Where's that coffeeshop napkin when you need it.

For the left leg split or forgeweld.

Split: long split on bottom end(time consuming especially w/ interior cleanup.

Forgeweld: cleaner natural transitions and the transition where all three come together would be sweet (infinity point)!

Taper the top as in your drawing.

Open up the bottom and taper both left hand legs as your drawing including the flair for the feet.

For the right leg, same choice as above. Single branch to bottom and top two as in your drawing.

The weight of the table and legs should work for the iron-iron joinery.

Personally I would forge weld instead of split. The "infinity point" (where the fw disappears) would be awesome.

I would fw in the horizontal plane.

I would use 3 pieces for the fw. You get more material to play with.

For the 3piece legs, I would forge each piece to final shape, then fw the two for the split then add the final piece and clean up the transition by final forging.

As a strong general rule, start with way heavier material than you think you need, and forge to your final cross section. This tends to keep your work looking light and delicate instead of thin and wispy.


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Thanks Anvil, as always I really appreciate your input.


I've never forge welded this large of material, I would definitely be working from my coal forge on this one.


I think it will be tough to forge weld the 1-1/2" stock together by myself, but I'm up for giving it a shot anyways.  I would much rather forge weld than split that much stock.


So would you taper the two legs out relatively flat up at the welded end and weld them to a third square riser?


Maybe square stock isn't the best choice, I am only considering it because I have a friend that has a few pieces he's offered to give me and it's larger than any stock I have at my place.


I think in a perfect world (one where I had the cash to buy some steel) I would use something more along the lines of 3"x1" rectangular stock for the legs.  Maybe even 4"x1"?

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What do you guys think about maybe using 4"x1" for the main leg and splitting it at the bottom and flaring the feet and then using 3"x1" for the shorter leg with a round or square shoulder tenon though the wider main leg?

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Got a couple of strikers/helpers?  Powerhammer?

I may be able to recruit a friend.  I'm about $3,500 away from having a power hammer :D .


I'm really liking the idea of 4" x 1" main leg split at the bottom and a 3" x 1" shouldered for the short leg.....or tail.

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Another design I've been toying with.  Thinking that I could use three separate legs, maybe 2-1/2" x 3/4" and then have a single flat tie bar that's attached to the three legs.  I could use small flat bar to make wraps that would joint the two back legs together above and below the tie bar, capturing it.  Then punch the tie bar and put a shoulder tenon on the single front leg to come up through the tie bar.  I would flare the rear legs apart toward the floor for stability and also fishtail the feet out. 


It would be pretty tough to build with an anvil and hand hammer and get everything to match up, but if I could pull it off I think it would look pretty good.  I could possible set up a bending jig to get the two rear legs to match.


This one gets rid of the ironing board image that's now forever burned into my mind....thanks for that  :D !




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Is it realistic to believe that I could bend 3" x 3/4" across the width slightly by hand to get the legs to flare out at the bottom a little or would it require a press/powerhammer?


I can actually get 3" x 3/4" cheaper than I can get 2-1/2" x 3/4", just not sure how much harder it would be to work with.  I imagine for the standard long radius bends it won't be much different, but bending across the flat may be much worse, not really sure?

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I do use coal, not gas, so that's not a problem.

All the material you are considering is big. Nice to have a powerhammer, but not impossible by yourself.

I'll stick to your original design and answer your questions. I prefer it due to its utter simplicity. Lol, simplicity is the hardest to pull off!

I have forge welded 1-1/2" sq stock by myself. Stands are critical and if they are the roller type even better. This keeps everything in the horizontal plane,well supported and easy to move.

Without doing a full scale drawing, and not considering your pocketbook, I would use 1" sq as parent stock.

You have two legs, each made of three pieces. The process for each is basically the same so I'll describe the left one.

I always calculate my needed material by volume/LB per cubic ft /inch. This is especially critical when using heavy stock.

Also we need a top view as well as side view. Here's my assumption

Side view: taper thin at bottom (1/4") to 1" to 3/8".

Top view: 1-1/2" at bottom tapered to 1/2" at forge weld to 3/4" at table.

Two bottom pieces are 1/4" x1-1/2" tapered to 1"x 1/2" over x length.

Single top piece is 1"x1" tapered to say 3/8" x3/4" at top.

Forge all three pieces to shape and leave a larger mass at fw area( scarf).

Fw lightly two bottom pieces and finish scarf. Scarf is approx 1" square.

Fw on top piece and dress scarf.


I prefer a fw over a split for one primary reason. With a split, no matter how done, the end is a "U". If you close it up, its still a " U" with a cold shut. If forge welded, this detail is an "infinity point". It disappears to infinity and no cold shut. A beautiful detail much like branches in nature.

Roughly figuring, the total leg length is ~5'. The bottom two about 3' and the top piece about 2'. All easy handling lengths for most of the forging.

Where the two legs join I think a tapered hole to match the dia where you want the leg to join would suffice. I believe the weight would hold all unless the table were really abused.

No matter what you chose, thanks for the mental exercise!!

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I would rivet or tack weld the joint together first before forge welding If I was doing it on my own to keep everything lined up for the weld.


Actually I would probably go for a different look and put two large "industrial" rivets to hold it together and drift rather than punch or drill to make the maximum amount of push out on the stock---smooth clean swoop and then a massive industrial rivet area with smooth clean swoop to the table top

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One more thing, the scrolling, I use bending forks. One in the anvil and one hand held.

This type is scroll is what I call edge bend and twist. Edge bend is what you see in the top view, twist is from the side view.

I edge bend first, then twist. Its called twist because when you scroll it, you also have to twist it back into proper plane.

I'm trying to remember, but I believe if you do the edge bend to 3times the radius (larger) when you do the twist it will be pretty right on. Lol, do a test piece to check this out, I may be dyslexic here ;)

I would prolly do the scrolling before the forge welds at least up by the forge weld, but maybe not. Its worth a thought.

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