My First Handmade Furniture Piece: A Modern & Industrial Coffee Table

Updated: Oct 28, 2019

Something you may or may not know about me is that I frequently adopt new hobbies and side projects. I would say that I've finally landed on photography as my most important thing to focus on right now (the right choice, I'd say), but there was a pretty long period in the late aughts where I bounced around between so many hobbies I could barely keep track. I started a brand with an Etsy store and a blog that had a legitimate following by internet standards back then. My Etsy shop never fully got off the ground, but I made some sales here and there. My brand was called 'The B Hive Creations,' and it was the home of all my hobbies and crafts including crocheting, sewing, jewelry, and even welding amongst other random things. I had a lot of fun with The B Hive and while it is all but a distant yet fond memory I still use a lot of those skills I learned today; one of them being welding.


Back in 2012 I took night classes to get a certificate in welding for no reason other than I saw someone selling metal sculptures in a gift shop once and wanted to learn how to do it myself. I loved the class and I'm so glad I took the time to learn such an important yet under-appreciated trade. Thanks to support from my family I have my own small welding workshop in my parents' garage where I'll work on projects from time to time. My first projects were mostly animal sculptures made from found objects. Eventually I moved on to more practical items like planters, a set of dice, (although not practical; a pretty awesome arm for my Furiosa Halloween costume,) and now furniture.


With help from my Dad and a few years where we could find time to work on it, together we built my new coffee table. I welded the base, and with his expert-level carpentry skills and general ability as a Dad to do anything, he helped me make the top and get the whole thing put together.


I spent a few days measuring, cutting, and welding the frame for the base out of square stock steel. It's not perfect but the table is pretty close to being square, and I'm proud of my welds. Not bad for my first crack at metal fabrication!



We then picked the wood for the table top from some old barn boards my Dad had. We cut down the two large boards into three smaller pieces and planed them for a nice smooth finish. After that we glued the pieces together with a technique my Dad taught me called biscuit-joining, I sanded down the edges, and we stained and sealed the wood. While the urethane dried, we drilled the holes in the base to attach the top, and painted the metal matte black. Final steps were to screw everything in, and viola! She's a beaut.




I'm thrilled with how it came out. The table itself has some history as the wood top came from an old barn on one of my grandfather's properties. My Dad estimates that the barn was built in the 20's. The wood is so unique with such beautiful colors, and if you look closely you can see the saw marks from the giant old milling blades. I also added my own personal touch and stamped the sides of the table with my signature 'B.'




The table is perfect for my apartment and really compliments the space. I'm so proud to have a piece of furniture that I made, and to have been able to work on the project alongside my Dad. It's something I'll cherish forever. Now I can't wait to make more pieces!



© ALLISON SEPANEK PHOTOGRAPHY