I am so excited to share this project with you! As many of you know, I learned how to weld a couple years ago and then got away from it for a while. But I recently got a new welder so I thought I would give it a try with this project. Plus, I have a new tool upgrade I’m using for the desktop build!
This DIY desk with welded steel legs was a fun project that pushed me to troubleshoot and get creative while learning and building on my skillset. If you don’t know how to weld, no worries!
You can order pre-fabricated steel legs online. I order hairpin legs online often. Or you can use wooden legs, it’s totally up to you! Oh, and just for some added fun the drawer has a secret compartment.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Kreg. All opinions are my own.
Project Supply List:
- Kreg Pocket-Hole Jig K4 Master System
- 2 sheets of hardwood plywood cut into 2 pieces at 28″ x 4 ft long. (I used a 4×4 sanded plywood sheet for the bottom and a remnant of leftover hardwood plywood for the top.)
- 1×3 boards
- 1×2 board (for the secret compartment)
- 1 1/4″ Pocket Hole Screws
- Drawer Slides
- 2″ Wood Screws
- Stain or Paint
- Edge Banding
- 2 Magnetic Touch Latches
- Drawer Pull
- Welder (I use the Forney Easy Weld 140 MP)
- 8 Pieces of 2″ wide flat steel bar cut to 13″ long each (2 for each leg)
- 8 pieces of 1/2″ thick steel rod cut to 25″ long (2 for each leg)
- 4 pieces of 1/2″ thick steel rod cut to 26″ long (1 for each leg)
- 8 pieces of 1/2″ thick steel rod cut to 15″ long (2 for each leg)
- 8 pieces of 1/2″ thick steel rod cut to 15 1/2″ long (2 for each leg)
- Saw with a metal cutting blade or angle grinder with cutting disk
- Angle Grinder with Flap disk
- Welding Helmet
- Welding Gloves
- Face Shield (for grinding)
- Magnet Clamps
- Regular Clamps
- Rusty Metal Spray Primer
- Metallic Gold Spray Paint
How to Build the Desktop
Step 1: Cut Your Wood
(2) Sheets of plywood at 4′ x 28″ (top and bottom of desk)
(4) 1×3 boards cut to 28″ long (for sides and divider partitions)
(1) 1×3 board cut to 15″ long (for secret compartment)
(2) 1×3 boards cut to 22″ long (for drawer sides)
(1) 1×3 board cut to 13″ long (for back of drawer)
(1) 3/4″ thick project panel piece cut to 13″ x 21 1/4″ (for drawer bottom)
Step 2: Drill Pocket Holes
I use pocket holes for most of my woodworking projects, and this time I was so excited to try out my new Kreg Pocket-Hole Jig K4 Master System!
This was a major upgrade from my old tiny Kreg jig I had been using before.
This jig works with solid wood and plywood, accepts 1/2″ to 1 1/2″ thick materials, clamps to my workbench, holds the workpiece with a toggle clamp, is easy to set up, and works as a benchtop or portable jig. It also has a dust collection attachment. I’m obsessed. Major shout-out to Kreg for hooking me up with this tool. It will come in handy for many projects to come.
I drilled 3 pocket holes along one edge of each of my 1×3 boards.
I also drilled pocket holes at each end of my 22″ long 1×3 boards, and around the perimeter of my project panel piece.
Step 3: Attach Sides and Divider Partitions
I laid the desktop face down on the ground, and working upside down I attached the sides and divider partitions using 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws.
In order to determine spacing for the divider partitions, I centered my 15″ long drawer front piece and used that as a guide for where to place the dividers, one on each side. I wanted to use pocket hole screws for this so when you flip the desk over later, you won’t see screws from the top of the desk.
Step 4: Build Your Drawer
I attached the drawer pieces using 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws, and made sure to leave 1/2″ on either side of the front piece to allow for the drawer slides.
I did use a hand planer to shave off about 1/8″ of the width of these 1×3 boards so it wouldn’t be too tight of a fit when installing the drawer. You could use a sander instead if you don’t have a hand planer.
Step 5: Install Drawer Slides
You can do this before or after painting. I’m pretty terrible at installing drawers so I don’t do it often, but I gave it a try this time.
Step 5: Create Secret Compartment
I created the secret compartment by installing a “false back” panel in the drawer.
First I used a small sanding attachment on my mini multi-tool to create a finger notch. Then I installed magnetic touch latches on each side of the inside of the drawer, a few inches from the back. I attached the magnetic plates to the back of my secret compartment front and stuck it onto the magnetic latches.
Step 6: Add Edge Banding
I did this part after priming only because I hadn’t received my edge banding in the mail yet and wanted to finish this project quickly so went ahead and primed, but then it arrived! This hides the exposed plywood edge, and the adhesive is heat activated so you just iron it on. You can clean up the edge with a utility knife or a sander.
Step 7: Prime and Paint
I primed and painted everything white. I did this before attaching the bottom of the desk since it was easier to reach all of the nooks and crannies this way.
I used satin finish interior latex paint and sealed it with furniture paste wax. (You can check out my furniture painting tutorial here.)
Step 8: Attach the Bottom
I attached the bottom of the desk by predrilling holes with a countersinking drill bit and driving in 2″ wood screws. (I didn’t bother to prime and paint the bottom of the desk.) Then I flipped the whole thing over.
How to Make the Steel Legs
Step 1: Cut Your Steel
I used a portable bandsaw for this, but any saw with a metal cutting blade (or an angle grinder) would work fine. For the rods that criss cross, I tried to cut the ends at a slight angle to make it easier to weld.
(8) pieces of 2″ wide flat steel bar cut to 13″ long each
(8) 1/2″ thick steel rod cut to 25″ long
(4) 1/2″ thick steel rod cut to 26″ long
(8) 1/2″ thick steel rod cut to 15″ long
(8) 1/2″ thick steel rod cut to 15 1/2″ long
Step 2: Create the Base
I positioned (2) 13″ long flat steel bar pieces perpendicular to each other, creating a “T” shape.
I welded those together by tack welding each end and then I welded a bead to connect them.
I flipped it over and repeated this on the other side. Then I used my angle grinder to grind my weld smooth on one side since that will need to lie flush with the bottom of the desk. (I repeated this process for each leg.)
Step 3: Weld a “V” Shape
I propped my T-shaped base upright and held it in place using magnetic clamps.
I created a “V” shape with my two 25″ long pieces of steel rod, positioning them 1 1/2″ from each end of the base.
I held it in place with magnets and then tacked each end in place before going back and welding them in place. I flipped it upright to weld the other side of the rods. (Repeat for each leg.)
Step 4: Add a Third Rod
I connected my 26″ long rod diagonally from the center of my “T” shaped base to the center point of my “V” shaped rods. I tacked it in place and then welded each point. (Repeat for each leg.)
Step 5: Add 15″ Rods
I positioned these rods diagonally from the 26″ long rod to the bottom of each of the rods that make up my V shape.
Step 6: Add 15 1/2″ rods
I added these rods diagonally running in the opposite direction from the last set of diagonal cross bars. (And I managed to not get a pic of this part, but I used the same technique as the other rods.)
Step 7: Clean the Steel
I wiped the steel down with acetone to get the grease and grime off before painting.
Step 8: Pre-drill Holes
I meant to do this before priming but forgot, so I did it after my primer dried. I used a multi-material drill bit meant for metal to predrill holes at each end of my T shaped base. This will allow me to screw it onto the underside of my desk easily.
Step 9: Paint
I sprayed each leg with rusty metal primer, allowing that to dry, and then sprayed them with metallic gold spray paint.
Step 10: Attach Legs to Desk
I used small 1/2″ long screws to attach each leg to the bottom of the desk.
Here’s a shot of how the secret compartment works. No I did not bother to paint the back of the panel (lazy).
You can check out my YouTube video for this project here:
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