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!