5 Master Projects That Show You Are One Of The Best Welders In The World

As a woodworker, for years I have tried to incorporate metal into my builds. There are many people out there that like the combination look of wood and metal objects. Having said that, many people think that just because you’re a woodworker that you can’t be world class welder as well. If you haven’t done this before, I would recommend that you start with the basic builds that I’ve mentioned in other articles. For this article, I’ve come up with a list of five items that will help you prove that you are one of the best welders in the world.

Before You Begin

In this article, I have listed five items that you can use to prove your abilities and hone your skills even more. Having said that, there are a few things that you need to consider before you get started. Above all, you want to make sure that all your safety equipment is readily available and that you have all of the material needed the project. Once you have attained all of the materials, you can start thinking about how to put the unit together. I’ve always found that if I sit down and lay out a simple sketch of the piece, it gives me a better idea of where I’m going with it.
Once you make sure that you have all of your materials and a plan on how to use them, make sure that you have all the tools you need.

The following is a list of all the tools that you will need for these projects:

  • Welding Machine
  • Angle Grinder With Discs
  • Skill Saw/Table Saw
  • Drop Saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Electric Drill
  • Orbital Sander
  • Angle Grinder
  • Router/Router table
  • Safety Gear
  • Set Square
  • Spirit Level
  • Paint or Stain
  • Wire Brush

Any additional tool needs will be listed with the project themselves.

Metal & Wood Garden Waterfall

Firstly, the design that I’ve chosen for the garden waterfall is a relatively straightforward assembly. You take the 30 x 30-inch piece of metal plate and surround it by the 30.5-inch pieces of metal plate that are 8 inches tall. This creates the basin for the water, so the welds need to be watertight. The upright portion of the waterfall is simply 2, 65-inch long 4 x 4-inch metal tubing, welded to each side of the basin. The top part that connects the two uprights is a 30-inch long 4 x 4-inch piece of metal tubing. This creates the basic structure.

ADiagram 1

Also, each piece of the waterfall should angle down about 5 degrees with an angle cut on the end. Use the 18 in-long 4 x 4-inch metal tubing to create this portion the build. The holes that will be used for water flow should start at the top so that water can get into the first angled piece. Lastly, make sure that there is a hole in the top of the next piece down to catch the water coming out of the end of the spout. See diagram 1 for general measurements and assembly.

Why is this project important?

Making the welds on this project smooth and watertight is essential to the build. At this point your skills should be more advanced than the average and completing this project will help hone your skills even further.

What skills does this project develop?

This build will work on your fabrication and design skills, as well as joint manipulation and finish welding.

How will this project improve me as a woodworker?

Making sure that the wooden aspects of this build are aesthetically pleasing will be one of the major challenges. This being displayed outside, it will not only need to be artistic, but it will need to be strong enough to survive any weather that might happen. You can add as much or as little wood as you deem necessary. The design I have included only in-cases the water reservoir.

What Materials will I need

  • 1, 4 x 4-inch metal tube, 30 inches long
  • 2, 4 x 4-inch metal tube, 65 inches long
  • 5, 4 x 4-inch metal tube, 18 inches long
  • 1, ¼ -inch metal plate, 30 x 30 inches
  • 4, ¼-inch metal plate, 8 x 30 ½ inches
  • 1, ½-inch piece of wood, 30.5 x 30.5 inches
  • 2, 1 x 10-inch pieces, 32.5 inches long
  • 2, 1 x 10-inch pieces, 30.5 inches long

What other tools are required?

None

Basic wood considerations

Make sure that whichever wood you choose is a sturdier type that will work well for outside use. The wood should be treated and varnished so that it can survive in the environment.

Things to consider when tackling the project

The type of wood you should use would be a major consideration. The other aspect you should consider is the look of the unit. The design that I have included is a straightforward, straight edge design that allows water to flow from top to bottom. However, if you wish to modify the design a bit, it can be improved upon. This one is designed more to make you think about your welds because they need to be watertight and smooth. On the other hand, once you have built this unit, think about other things you can do with the design. There’s always room for improvement in any project.

Metal & Wood Coffee Table

Diagram 2

This coffee table design uses a basic frame with off-angle cross members to create spaces for the wood on the top. Firstly, you will create the bottom and top sections of the coffee table by welding two of the 48-inch long pieces together with two of the 30-inch long pieces. Do this twice and you have the top and the bottom. At this point, you will use 4 of the 18-inch long pieces to separate the top and the bottom and create the corners.

As far as the top goes, the design of that is purely up to you.  See diagram 2 for the design that I came up with, however, as long as the design fits into the frame for the top, it doesn’t matter what you do with it. Just remember whatever design you make, you will have to fill it with wood. Lastly, the remaining 4, 18-inch pieces will be used to support wherever the cross members meet the sides.

Why is this project important?

To get perfectly smooth welds, you will need to make sure that the joints are designed correctly. This is essential in this build because it is a piece of furniture that needs to be aesthetically pleasing. You will want the joints to look seamless so that it will be more like a piece of artwork rather than a coffee table.

What skills does this project develop?

Not only will this project work on your joint design and fabrication skills, it is also important for you to consider the environment then it will be used in. The top of this unit can be changed around so that it will look like it belongs in any home or business.

How will this project improve me as a woodworker?

Creating the wood for the top of this unit is going to be a bit of a challenge. Not only do you want the wood to be sturdy and beautiful, but at the same time it needs to be an exact size.

What Materials will I need

  • 4, 1 x 1-inch metal tube, 30 inches long
  • 4, 1 x 1-inch metal tube, 48 inches long
  • 8, 1 x 1-inch metal tube, 18 inches long
  • 1, 1 x 1-inch metal tube, 45.5 inches long
  • 3, 1 x 1-inch metal tube, 25 inches long
  • 1, 1 x 1-inch metal tube, 35 inches long
  • 25, 1 x 1-inch metal plates, ⅛ inch thick

What other tools are required?

Electric planer

Basic wood considerations

Each piece of wood will fit down in one of the cavities to create that portion of the top. This means that you will need to think about the direction of the grain and how it will flow into the other area. The thickness and size of the piece will need to be exact so that the top of the unit will be perfectly flat. Make sure that the type of wood you use will hold up well to wear and tear for a piece of furniture. Plus, you want to take into consideration the aesthetic of the rest of the room when designing the piece.

Things to consider when tackling the project

This piece can be as rough or as clean as you want. Making sure that the welds are nice and smooth is a big part of this build. The wood is a major consideration as well. When putting the pieces together, you want to make sure that it is as square as possible. This will make sure the unit is nice and level on the floor. If you ever tried to eat off of a crooked coffee table, you’ll know why this is important.

Metal & Wood 5 Drawer Chester Drawer

The design that I have chosen for the chester drawers will hold five drawers. To create the sides, you will use 2, 1 x 2-inch pieces of metal tubing that are 50 inches long. You will connect these at the top and bottom using 1 x 2-inch tubing that is 16 inches long, giving it an overall width of 20 inches. Furthermore, the bottom piece should be welded about 4 inches off of the floor. See diagram 3 for the layout of the sides. Once you have the sides completed, you will connect them using the 30-inch pieces to create the body of the chester drawers.

The bottom run should be connected with a 1 x 2-inch piece of tubing to match the sides that are exactly 4 inches from the floor. Also, the rest of the tubing on the front and back is 1 x 1-inch. The tubing on the top front and back corners should be exactly level with the top. furthermore, the other four tubes should run side to side in between where the drawers would fit. With the height of the unit and the size of the tubes, there should be 7.8 inches between each tube. This will allow a good amount of space for the drawer to slide in and out.

Drawers

Diagram 3

As for the drawers, I have accounted for ½-inch on each side for the rails. If the rails, you choose our wider you will need to adjust the size of the drawbacks so that solids are closer together. Each drawer will be created by 1, 29 x 6-inch pieces of wood, ½ inch thick for drawer back and 2, 17.50 x 6-inch pieces of wood, ½ inch thick for drawer sides. Also, you will need to cut a slot into the wood about ½ of an inch up from the bottom to create a slot for the bottom to slide into. Lastly, use 1, 29.9 x 7.5-inch pieces of wood  ½ inch thick for drawer fronts. This should create a drawer that will slide in and be flush with the front.

Why is this project important?

The design of this unit while simple, is highly customizable. With a unit like this, it is important that the welds be as smooth as possible so that everything fits together the way that it should.

What skills does this project develop?

This project will help develop your design and welding skills so your fabrication skills will continue to grow.

How will this project improve me as a woodworker?

The finish work required for the sides, top, back, and drawers will improve your knowledge of joinery and finish woodworking. Plus, there is a lot that can be done with the wood in this unit.

What Materials will I need

  • 1, 1 x 2-inch metal tube, 30 inches long
  • 7, 1 x 1-inch metal tube, 30 inches long
  • 4, 1 x 2-inch metal tube, 50 inches long
  • 4, 1 x 2-inch metal tube, 16 inches long
  • 2, 42 x 12-inch pieces of wood, ½ inch thick for sides
  • 2, 46 x 42-inch pieces of wood, ½ inch thick for back
  • 2, 31 x 17-inch pieces of wood, 1 inch thick for the top
  • 5, 29 x 6-inch pieces of wood, ½ inch thick for drawer back
  • 10, 17.50 x 6-inch pieces of wood, ½ inch thick for drawer sides
  • 5, 28.25 x 18.25-inch pieces of wood, ⅛ inch thick for the drawer bottom
  • 5, 29.9 x 7.5-inch pieces of wood, ½ inch thick for drawer fronts
  • 5 sets of drawer rails
  • 10 knobs

What other tools are required?

Dovetail Jig

Basic wood considerations

The wood for the top and sides should be aesthetically pleasing and the grain should match. The wood for the drawers should be strong so that the joints do not break and it will be able to withstand the pressures of whatever is put into the unit.

Things to consider when tackling the project

The height and width is important for a piece like this, especially if it’s going to be in a child’s room. You want to make it wide enough so that it will not topple over on them. Plus, the look of the unit should fit in with whatever aesthetic is established in the home.

Metal & Wood Wardrobe

The metal frame for the armoire is pretty straightforward. You will use 2, 71-inch long, 1 x 2-inch metal tubes that are connected by 2, 21-inch long, 1 x 2-inch metal tubes at the top and bottom. The bottom one should be 4 inches from the ground. Once you have both sides built, connect the top at the front and the back with the 48-inch long, 1 x 1-inch metal tube, making the top perfectly level. Then connect the bottom corners with the 2, 48 in 1 x 2-inch metal tubes. The bottom tubes should be 4 inches off the ground so that they line up with the ones on the side. This creates the frame for the main body of the armoire as seen in diagram 4.

Diagram 4

For the doors for the front of the unit, use 2, 65-inch long 1 x 2-inch metal tubes. These are connected by 2, 25-inch long, 1 x 2-inch metal tubes at the top and bottom as seen in diagram 4. Also, all these pieces should be cut at a 45-degree angle on each end. This allows for a picture frame effect that will hold the wood on the inside. furthermore, You will use the small 1 x 1-inch pieces of plate metal to create anchor points periodically around the openings that will hold the wood. On the bottom, you should weld the anchor points about a half an inch down so that when you set the bottom in, it is flush with the top of the 1 x 2.

Drawer unit

Diagram 4-A

The drawer unit that fits in the bottom and creates the shelf, consists of 2, 48 x 23-inch pieces of wood that are ½ inch thick for the top and bottom. The uprights are 3, 23 x 21-inch pieces of wood, ½ inch thick as seen in diagram 4-A. This creates the unit that sits down in the bottom of the armoire that the drawers are mounted in.

I have allowed for a ½-inch clearance on each side of the drawers for the guides. If your guides are larger, than that you will need to compensate for the size by adjusting the length of the back piece of the drawer. Once the drawers are mounted and the side pieces are put to the armoire frame, you can slide this piece in and let it rest on the metal tabs which should be ½-inch down from the top of the 1 x 2 at the bottom. This will create a bottom to the unit that can be attached from underneath.

Why is this project important?

This project will continue to hone your skills as a finish welder, as well as your skills as a woodworker.

What skills does this project develop ?

This project will help develop your design and welding skills so your fabrication skills will continue to grow.

How will this project improve me as a woodworker?

The finish work required for the sides, top, back, and drawers will improve your knowledge of joinery and finish woodworking. Also, there is a lot that can be done with the wood in this unit.

What Materials will I need

  • 2, 1 x 2-inch metal tube, 48 inches long
  • 4, 1 x 2-inch metal tube, 71 inches long
  • 4, 1 x 1-inch metal tube, 21 inches long
  • 4, 1 x 2-inch metal tube, 25 inches long
  • 4, 1 x 2-inch metal tube, 65 inches long
  • 2, 1 x 1-inch metal tube, 48 inches long
  • 64, 1 x 1-inch metal plates, ⅛ inch thick
  • 4, 63 x 21-inch pieces of wood, ½ inch thick for doors/sides
  • 2, 48 x 23-inch pieces of wood, ½ inch thick for drawer unit
  • 3, 23 x 21-inch pieces of wood, ½ inch thick for drawer unit
  • 1, 64 x 48-inch pieces of wood, ½ inch thick for back
  • 1, 51 x 26-inch pieces of wood, ½ inch thick for the top
  • 12, 22.75 x 5-inch pieces of wood, ½ inch thick for the drawer sides/back
  • 6, 22.25 x 5-inch pieces of wood, ½ inch thick for the drawer sides/back
  • 6, 24 x 7-inch pieces of wood, ½ inch thick for the drawer fronts
  • 6, 22.5 x 23-inch pieces of wood, ⅛ inch thick for the drawer bottoms
  • 2, 10 x 2-inch pieces of wood, 1 inch thick
  • 6 sets of drawer guides
  • 1, 2-inch thick wood or metal pole, 48 inches long
  • 4 hidden hinges
  • 8 knobs

What other tools are required ?

Dovetail Jig

Basic wood considerations

The main consideration for the wood is the aesthetic of what it’s fitting into. Also, you want to make sure that the wood is tough enough to withstand a good amount of pressure and movement. Units such as these tend to get moved around.

Things to consider when tackling the project

The main consideration with a unit like this is the size and aesthetic of unit. The design can be modified to use smaller pieces of metal, but I chose to use 1 x 2-inch tubes on the side construction so that it would look more modern.

Queen Size Metal & Wood 4 Post Storage Bed

Diagram 5

When building the 4-post storage bed, start with the storage units first because they create the bulk of the bed. This is done by using 2, 20-inch long 1 x 2-inch metal tubes and welding one of the 80-inch long 1 x 2-inch metal tubes across the top. The bottom part is connected by 1, 78-inch long 1 x 1-inch metal tube. Refer to diagram 5 for measurements and configuration. Then take 2, 25-inch long 1 x 1-inch metal tubes and connect them at the bottom with 2, 25-inch long 1 x 1-inch metal tubes. The 2, 2-inch long 1 x 2-inch metal tubes will span the top, but will not meet the 1 x 1 at the corner.

This is where the 80-inch long 1 x 3 stands and both the upright and the cross member should be welded to it. 1, of the 76-inch long 1 x 1-inch metal tubes will be welded on the inside of the 1 x 3, connecting the 2, 1 x 2 from the front to the back. Do this twice and you have the metal frames for the storage units that sit under the bed. The wooden pieces that slide into these frames should be 78 in long, 20 in tall and 28 inches wide. Lastly, It is up to you if you want to drawers or shelving built into the unit.

Head/Foot Board

The headboard and footboard both start with 2, 79-inch pieces of 3 x 3-inch metal tubing. These are connected at the top and bottom by 2, 56-inch long 2 x 2-inch metal tubs. Also, the bottom tube should be welded about six inches off of the floor. You will need to weld plate metal to the lower corners of the headboard and footboard so that you can put bolts through them for mounting them to the storage units. Plus, you will need to mount plates that can be used to attach the wood to the unit. This creates the headboard and footboard. Refer to diagram 5-A for measurements and configuration.

Diagram 5-A

Lastly, the connecting rods that go from the front to the back are 80-inch long 2 x 2-inch metal tubing. Use the 20 x 1-inch metal plate that is ⅛-inch thick to create the spiral design depicted to the left. Once you have made 4 of them, they are to be welded to the under part of the rods at the front and the back. This will give another point of connection that can be bolted to the upright.

Why is this project important?

This project will continue to hone your skills as a finish welder, as well as your skills as a woodworker.

What skills does this project develop?

This project will help develop your design and welding skills so your fabrication skills will continue to grow.

How will this project improve me as a woodworker?

While the frame is fairly straightforward, the wooden aspect of it can be modified and customized to whatever aesthetic you are looking to achieve. Since you will be trying to get the wood to match the look of the unit this will help with your finishing work.

What Materials will I need

  • 4, 1 x 1-inch metal tube, 78 inches long
  • 2, 1 x 1-inch metal tube, 76 inches long
  • 2, 1 x 2-inch metal tube, 80 inches long
  • 2, 1 x 3-inch metal tube, 80 inches long
  • 4, 1 x 2-inch metal tube, 25 inches long
  • 4, 1 x 1-inch metal tube, 25 inches long
  • 4, 1 x 2-inch metal tube, 20 inches long
  • 4, 1 x 1-inch metal tube, 20 inches long
  • 4, 3 x 3-inch metal tube, 79 inches long
  • 4, 2 x 2-inch metal tube, 56 inches long
  • 2, 2 x 2-inch metal tube,80 inches long
  • 4, 20 x 1-inch metal plate, ⅛-inch thick

What other tools are required?

Dovetail Jig, Electric Planer

Basic wood considerations

The wood that is used for the side storage will need to be a nice hardwood. This will allow for wear and tear on the unit so it will not shift as much as some of these softer woods will. The wood for the headboard and the footboard needs to be aesthetically pleasing. You will need to make sure that the grain flows with the look of piece. For the piece of wood that goes under the mattress, this can be just plain plywood.

Things to consider when tackling the project

The main consideration with this unit is the size and look of the area that it will be used in and the placement of the mounting brackets that will be used to assemble the pieces. Even though this unit is a combination of metal and wood, you can make it fit in any aesthetic. If the flat metal does not fit your sensibilities, you can replace the 3 x 3-inch metal tubes with another type of stock.

In Conclusion

Once you have completed all of these projects, you should have mastered the art of joinery and joint design that is required to incorporate metal into your woodworking. Even after having done this for years, I learned some new tricks in assembling the pieces. Don’t let projects like this intimidate you, but if you are unsure about the projects, there are other articles that I’ve created that list easier projects that you can start with. If you’re going to work on these projects, I would suggest that you start with the first one and work your way down. They progressively get a little harder as they go and this will allow you to build up to the final one.

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