From the moment our new sofa was delivered and we figured out that it fit best in front of the bank of windows in the living room, I knew that I wanted a console table behind it. As a stop gap measure I placed a drop leaf table behind the sofa and then I started my search for a proper console table. In the four months since then, I’ve found a lot of console tables that I’ve liked but none within my price range (read: cheap!). So I did what I always do when I can’t find what I want – I built my own!
I knew that I wanted a very simple table behind the sofa. Something with a dark wood top and simple legs. Enter the industrial pipe table to save the day.
Now, I’m not exactly a novice when it comes to building furniture out of pipes and boards. A few years ago I built pipe shelving for our city apartment. That shelving unit involved quite a bit of trial and error as I tried to get everything just right. With that experience behind me, I was certain that my console table would come together quickly and easily. Ha! While the console table was indeed easier than the shelving unit, it still involved a last minute return trip to the hardware store and a bit of sweating and swearing. To get started I gathered my supplies:
I thought I had the table all planned out. I drew myself a sketch, made a list of what I would need and gathered everything together. I confidently photographed the supplies, proud of myself for getting it right the first time. Except that I didn’t get it right the first time. I had to go back to the hardware store to exchange a few pieces for others. But, hey, nobody’s perfect, right?
Here are the supplies I did use:
1 – pine board measuring 12″ x 8′ (cut down to 7′ long)
1 – can of dark walnut stain for the wood
4 – 24″ pipes
4 – 36″ pipes
4 – 6″ pipes
1 – 8″ pipe
6 – three-way connectors
4 – floor flanges
4 – end caps
It wasn’t until I was about to assemble the table that I realized that the pipes that were acting as cross braces would need to be connected. That was what required the last minute trip to the hardware store. I returned the two coupling nuts shown in the photo above and picked up two more 3-way connectors and an 8″ pipe.
With all of the supplies gathered, I was finally ready to go. I started off by cutting the pine board from 8 feet long to 7 feet. Then, I stained the board and allowed it to dry overnight. While the board dried, I thoroughly washed all of the pipes. If you’ve never worked with these kinds of pipes, you should know that they’re very, very dirty and greasy. I used plain ol’ dish soap to remove as much of the grease as possible from the pipes and then dried them with an old towel. By the time I was done my hands were black and the old towel was filthy. Yuckers!
Once the stain on the wood top had dried and all of the pipes were clean, I started piecing the table together. I wish I had photographed the assembly process a little more thoroughly. I did, in fact, have every intention of doing so. But, as with most projects, once I got started I couldn’t be bothered to stop and snap pics. Without photographic documentation, the assembly is a bit of a blur. All I know is that I started screwing pipes into one another until I had a table base. After the base was assembled, I connected it to the table top by screwing the flanges directly into the wood.
With a bit of trepidation (would it work? would it fall over?), I flipped the table over and was pleased that my DIY design was a success. The assembled table is very solid and looks so much better behind the sofa that the big drop leaf table that had been acting as a stand-in. I added felt pads to the bottoms of the feet to keep them from scratching the floor. The pipe base is mostly hidden by the sofa and the dark wood top plays nicely with the sofa and white trim and windows.
— J. Blandings
Images: Mr. and Mr. Blandings