The Bandsaw Coffee Table

While I was tearing down the Wells 8M horizontal bandsaw I decided that I wanted to keep the ability to roll it around but that the table height was too tall. If I left it as is I would eventually tip it over while rolling. I didn't want to chop up or mutilate the existing legs so I fabricated a new stand for the saw. This left me with a beautiful pair of cast iron legs.

I didn't know what to do with them at first since the decision to remove them was based on utility of the saw which was the current project at the time. I just knew that I wanted to do something useful with them and it would be a shame to let anything happen to them. Well, I eventually decided that I wanted to make a coffee table with them.

I really like mixing metal and wood so the choice of a wood top to go with the legs was pretty obvious. I thought about laminating my own top out of dimensional lumber but decided to purchase the thickest birch 2ftx4ft countertop that Ikea sold instead. That was a good choice and I recommend the same course of action if you are in the same situation. It was probably cheaper in the end than pine or spruce and birch is much nicer since it is a hardwood. Also, it took far less time than a glue up would have!

So I have a laminate countertop and some legs, now I had to decide my attachment scheme. I didn't want to modify the legs in any way just in case I decided to put them back on the saw one day and also as a kind of matter of principal to cause permanent harm to old iron. There are two holes in the top of each leg so I could have just used a big lag bolt and screwed the legs straight to the top but that didn't seem like it would last since the top is relatively thin (maybe 1-1/2") and I didn't want to break through the top. I thought about some kind of through bolting which would have been strong enough but I really didn't want to mar the nice plain top. So what I decided to do was make a mount plate that screwed onto the bottom of the table-top and incorporated mounting nuts to bolt the legs too.

The mounting plate is made of 11 gauge steel I had lying around from the trailer job and some nuts welded onto the back side. I was going to cut the plate out with an abrasive blade and circular saw but a friend of mine had a new plasma table so I took it over to him so I could check out his new table and he cut it out and peirce all the holes for me. All I had to do then was knock off the scale, countersink the holes, weld on the nuts and paint it. To make the installation nice you can see I inset the plate so that mounted flush with the bottom of the table. That was just simply laying everything out and going over it with a router.

Here is the resulting table. It is quite heavy and a little taller than a normal coffee table but we really like it and I think it is my favorite piece of furniture in the house. Red was really the right color for the legs (just plain old rustoleum Gloss Regal Red) and the birch countertop has been fantastic. It gets a lot of milk and baby formula spilled on it as well as other things but a thorough cleaning and application of polymerizing butcher block oil every few years has kept it in pretty good shape.