welding time!

A month ago, we showed you our design for the loft ladder. Because welding was an unknown territory for us and we didn’t own the equipment, Kyle put together shop drawings and we sent them to a handful of local steel fabricators. Even though we were introduced to a couple great companies in the process, the estimates unfortunately came back at $3500-$3800 (and that didn’t include the wood work or powder coating). So…yeah. Time to DIY!

So Kyle took a 5-hr beginner welding class, found a great Craigslist deal on a welding machine (it even came with gloves and a helmet!), and got busy. (Even with the cost of the equipment, it was still way cheaper to do it ourselves.) We’re also lucky to have a steel supplier in our neighborhood.

But before he could build the loft ladder, he had to build a welding table. Or rather…weld a welding table. (His instructor recommended this as a good first project.) So right after we got back from the holidays, Kyle cleared out the carport (which is where we’ve been storing lumber, sheet goods, and well…junk), so he could have a protected place to weld. Since our concrete slab slopes, he set-up temporary supports to ensure that the table frame would be plumb and level. The design for the table was adapted from various welding tables that Kyle had googled. The main objective was a simple frame that had a flat work surface with numerous areas to attach clamps to. Kyle then created a 3D model in SketchUp and referenced dimensioned print-outs during construction.

The table frame is made of tube steel, with adjustable casters/legs attached to flat plates welded to the tube steel. I love this photo. I call the green suit his welding onesie.

The tabletop is a series of steel channels welded to the deeper tube steel members below. This allows the pieces that are being welded to be clamped to the table so nothing moves during the process. (Kyle also used a grinder on some of the finished welds, hence the shiny spots.)

(Even though we bought adjustable casters, our slab was sloped enough that we needed to use some steel scraps as shims to get it perfectly level.)

Not bad for a day and a half of work, huh? I know, my husband is a badass. He is also IN LOVE with welding now. He is literally looking around the house for things to weld, which is probably a good thing, considering we already have a lot of wood. But it’s all about the loft ladder now. Oh, and the sliding barn doors? You know we’re redesigning those!


32 Responses to “welding time!”

  1. When you start landscaping you should weld some planter boxes or edging. We are and its AWESOME!

    Welding is the best, can’t wait to see the ladder.

    • chezerbey says:

      You know it! Maybe we’ll even play with some corten steel… I’m so envious that you can do outside stuff this time of year, it’s pretty much going to be crap weather here until…uh…July?

  2. Monica says:

    I am assuming that is him in the 4th picture. All he needs is a cape and you could call him Captain Weld. Sorry couldn’t resist.
    Think it is so cool that you are tackling welding. Definitely not something most people would try. Can’t wait to see the results.

  3. Brismod says:

    Is there nothing the man can’t do? Very cool to be so versatile.

  4. ModFruGal says:

    Niiiice….so forwarding this post to my husband…he will be so envious of your CL score!!! Can’t wait to see the ladder and redesigned barn doors…and whatever else he decides to melt together!

  5. You guys are amazing! Are you going to share your plans?

    • chezerbey says:

      Thanks Melissa, we linked to our post about the ladder design at the beginning of this post and we’ll definitely share the barn door design (once it’s finalized!).

  6. Chris says:

    Nice job Kyle — sounds like things are turning out well. Welding is a blast!

  7. Yolanda says:

    Wow! Nice first project. Can’t wait to see what you’ve designed for the doors!

  8. Nicole S. says:

    Awesome. Now I wanna weld…

    • Kyle Z says:

      it’s really easy, kind of like using a hot glue gun but at 10,000 degrees! The teacher who taught me had just finished teaching a class of grade schoolers. I’m sure you could find a local class, MIG welding is best to start with.

  9. LauraC says:

    Haha!! “Welding onesie!” Cracked me up. He looks like Iron Man in that picture. Ha!

  10. Robin says:

    Awesome! Flannel Man is welding up a potting bench for me and an island for his reloading room right now actually. Can’t wait to see how the ladder turns out!

  11. jeannette says:

    i’m speechless. it’s a thing of beauty and your hubs is teh man. happy new year, guys, the house looks beautiful.

    as for looking for things to weld, think about african american yard art — hubcaps. grey gundaker is the person to look up. i’ll see if i can dig up some urls for you.

    and, bbq pit made out of half an oil drum. and marimbas.

  12. You guys are so amazing! The house looks amazing too…I started reading your blog after your bathroom post on Apartment Therapy. I cant believe how much you and Kyle have DIY’d…..even for architects it’s still amazing. Can Kyle morph into my husband body for a project or two please!

  13. Patrick Hayes says:

    I appreciate your spirit in tackling the welding. Your rookie effort is very nice and I would not have guessed you were a novice metal fabricator. That table is stellar I also love the post bases used to create a level spot to weld the frame. I have needed a flat spot on several projects and have resorted to much more complicated assemblies, thanks for the inspiration.

    Will be following your work and writing now!

    Patrick Michael Hayes

  14. Gary Whitehead says:

    Have you considered putting in some diagonal tubes or a third upright in the frame. Conversely you could perhaps use some 45 degree tube gussets in all the corners, which would reinforce the frame considerably, because you are going to abuse this table, that is the nature of the beast. By the way it looks really great, I believe I am going to follow your lead with the top interpretation.


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