How to Build a Basic Welding Table From Rebar and Used Bed-Frame Metal
A Large Welding Table Without the Heavy Weight or the Big Price Tag
Keep It Simple
Looking for a large welding table to add to your home workshop or small business? If so, then you know that they don't come cheap. A quick search on the popular website eBay will bring up a number of tables for sale, with prices ranging from $75 for small used tables to prices exceeding two thousand dollars for commercial-sized models. Even after you find a suitable table and make the expensive purchase, you will have to deal with the extra expense of freight-truck delivery or gasoline for the pickup, in what may become an all-day road trip.
A better option for those with welding skills is to make their own table. A lightweight and functional welding table can be constructed easily using rebar from the local hardware store and used metal bed frames that can be purchased for a few dollars at garage sales and thrift stores. Once the components are cut to size, a good welder can assemble and weld the table together in just a few hours.
Let's Get Started
The materials list to build the table you see in the photographs is remarkably simple. In fact, you will only need to purchase three sets of items:
- Six ten-foot sections of 1/2 inch metal rebar
- Four metal bed rails made in the shape of an "L"
- One box of welding rods (welder's choice)
Use a chop saw or metal band saw to make the following cuts:
- Cut twenty-seven segments of rebar into twenty-inch long pieces (for table surface).
- Cut two segments of rebar into twenty-one inch pieces (for side cross-support of legs).
- Cut one segment of rebar into a fifty-seven inch segment (for rear cross-support of legs).
- Cut two bed-rail segments into twenty-one and one-half inches each (top frame, side pieces)
- Cut two bed-rail segments into fifty-seven inch pieces (top frame, front and rear pieces).
- Cut the remaining bed-rail into four equal length pieces at the desired height of your table (the table photographed is thirty-five inches tall).
Table Top Assembly
Weld the top bed-frame metal into a rectangle with the shelf edge facing inside the frame (like a big metal bowl). I intentionally designed the side-pieces one-and-a-half inches too long so that the side piece will protrude from the rectangle on the left front and the right rear corner of the table top. This allows for a ground clamp area and a convenient place to hang or mount tools (such as the welder's hammer and wire brush in the photo). Verify right angles with a tool such as a carpenter's square before you start welding. Also clamp the piece together to prevent drifting during the weld process.
Once the rectangular frame is welded, use some soapstone and place a mark in two-inch increments all the way down the inside edge of the longest piece. Do the same to the other side. These marks are the locations that you will weld the twenty-inch rebar pieces that will be the surface of your table. It is important to align the marks so that the rebar will be parallel to the metal bed-frames on each short end of the table top. Weld the twenty-inch rebar into position, being careful to check for proper penetration and strength of weld.
Now that the table top is completed, keep it upside down (remember, make a metal bowl). Use the carpenter's square and weld the first leg section into place. Do the same with the other three legs. When you are satisfied that the legs are straight enough, use the cross-support pieces of rebar and weld them into place. These supports were placed twenty-two inches from the bottom of the legs on the table illustrated in the attached photographs.
My Review of This Homemade Welding Table
I designed this table mainly because it used materials that I could acquire easily and cheaply, and I wanted a welding table that was light enough to move around my shop easily (sometimes I weld outside, and sometimes I weld inside). This table design met these goals easily. I personally spent less than $45 to obtain my materials, and I can pick the table up and move it around without any assistance. Not bad for a table that has a welding surface that is nearly five-feet long and two-feet wide.
The table design also prevents liquids from pooling on the table top and causing excessive corrosion damage. Any bare metal will corrode when exposed to the elements, but by keeping the top porous, this corrosion is kept to a minimum. I also like the advantage of being able to clamp a work piece to the numerous rebar sections lining the top. Bulky pieces (such as sculptures) will rest securely in the two-inch crevices between the rebar table top, and sometimes clamping is not even necessary. For welding smaller pieces of metal, simply place a small section of flat iron on the table top, and work off of the flat iron.
More Welding and Metal Art Information
I hope that this information has been helpful and will assist you in improving the quality of your workshop or studio. For more information on basic welding terminology and the machines that are used, please see my previous article on Basic Welding Techniques for Metal Art Newbies.