It may still be cold out, but we’ve been thinking about summer (and how to update our outdoor space) all winter long. And while the writing has slowed, the projects have not. Dan has about 4-5 projects that he’s in the middle of as we speak. In fact, as I sit at the dining room table and type this up (all warm and cozy), he’s out in his workshop sanding away (and probably freezing his butt off).
This project was a fun one because Dan was able to piece old designs with new. He wanted to make a coffee table to use in our outdoor living space, and would be incorporating a tried-and-true wooden butcher block design for the top, while testing out his welding skills for the first time by incorporating black metal legs.
Designing the tabletop
With all of the woodworking projects Dan’s created over time, it only makes sense that we’d have bins full of leftover scrap wood. From plywood to pine and oak to maple, it’s always fun to go “shopping” for wood in our own garage.
In this case, the wood came from pallets that were given to us by a friend of Dan’s who lives in Cleveland. During our last trip to visit, we ended up coming home with a trunk full of pallet wood. Christmas came early for Dan.
The pallet and scrap wood were cut into individual pieces that were the same width and planed down to the same thickness. Lengths of each piece purposefully varied.
The next part is where I got to come in, making my contribution by “organizing” the pieces into the layout that we wanted. Because each board had a different length, the possibilities of how we pieced them together was endless. Some rows were made up of three boards, while others were filled by one long board. It’s fun to mix the boards up and play with a few designs, but eventually we settled on a layout.
Some of the rows ended up longer than others, so Dan had to cut them to the appropriate size, forming a 16×42 top. To hold the boards together, he used a piece of MDF as the base, placing it underneath the butcher block pieces and using wood glue and brad nails to attach each board to the MDF itself. He then added two layers of plywood to the base, helping to thicken the tabletop to three inches.
With the butcher block boards in place, there was still more left to do to complete the design that Dan had envisioned. Lately, he’s had a thing for Walnut, and decided to incorporate it by adding a Walnut border to the perimeter. The border was 1 inch thick and 3 inches wide, adding depth and stability to the frame of the tabletop itself.
He also added circular dowels to the frame of the tabletop. The dowels were made of Pine and helped to hold the frame together, while also adding a bit of character to the design as well.
Leaving the wood elements natural, he then topped it off with a few coats of semi-gloss poly.
Welding the legs
Now onto the new part of this project, where Dan was able to test his welding skills for the first time. He’s always been drawn to designs with a mix of wood and black metal, which ultimately led to the inspiration for this project. And because it was his first attempt at welding, the design was pretty straightforward – two square legs. To get started, he used 1×3 square tube metal, welding four pieces together to form a square. He then repeated the same process for the second leg.
With sparks flying in the garage, I think it’s safe to say that Dan had fun with this one, and that it definitely won’t be his last welding project.
With the raw metal smoothed out, black paint and poly were added to complete the look of the legs. They were then connected to the base of the tabletop using thread inserts and bolts, each installed about 5 inches from either end of the tabletop.
The cool thing about this butcher block coffee table is that it’s sturdy enough to double as a bench. With Dan’s successful attempt at welding, and another project complete, we’re one step closer to getting our outdoor space ready for summer. That is, if summer ever comes.
For more behind-the-scenes photos and real-time updates on all of our projects, check out Dan’s Instagram account – @dan.waz