New Project

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For quite a while my wife Sally has been asking me to make her a stand for this wooden box she has. After some years of procrastinating I finally got around to doing something about it.  Of course, as I so often do, a simple project turned into something much more complex once I got started.  The final result is absurd overkill for the intended purpose, but I do like the result.

Box Stand

I wanted to design a piece that had woodworking aesthetics but was made by metal working.  This necessitated using welded joints as traditional metal joinery would not have fit this design.  I kept all the where it is not visible.

 The legs are forged from 1-1/4" square bar and the apron panels are 1/4" plate with the edges upset to about 1/2".  The shell is drop forged in an open die and set in a reveal.  One feaStand in Progressture that doesn't show in the finished piece is bronze caps on the legs so they won't rust if the floor gets wet.  You might be able to discern the narrow layer of bronze in the photo at the right.  It was necessary to have the bronze caps as this thing will sit on our porch that often gets wet when it rains and I'd hate to have rust destroy the finish.

The finish is comprised of 95% zinc cold galvanizing primer over the pickled steel followed by a neutral oxide primer.  Then a coat of light rust color was applied, followed by a coat of deep burgundy brown that was rubbed back to let the light rust show through on the high areas.  This was followed by a transparent coat of the same color and finally two coats of satin clear urethane.  As is inevitable in good ironwork, the finish work is as much effort as the forging, if you really want it to last.

Stand with BoxAs you can see, the finished item is pretty much a case of a hundred-dollar saddle on a ten-dollar horse, but my wife likes it and that's what counts.  

At some point in the future I'd like to make a larger version of this as a console table with a matching mirror frame.  I think that might be something I could sell at one of the local art shows.  The box stand is 18-3/4" wide by 12-3/4" deep by 13" tall and I think it would work as a console table about 42" tall by 48" wide by 16" deep, with the legs scaled up to 2" or 2-1/2" stock.  I'd probably forge those from square tubing to cut the weight down some.  The little box stand ended up weighing over 30 pounds!

Raspero's picture

That is one fine table,

That is one fine table, Rich. I wonder what she keeps in the box.


johndach's picture

"little" project for the wife....

Nice table Rich. I hate t think what would come out of a large request by the wife!!!!!!!!!!! The table REALLY looks like wood, you could have gotten $10.00 out of me easy betting me it was steel and not wood, at least on first glance. As to finishes, have you ever heard of or tired POR 15's catalyzed urethane clear coat? Gets harder with water contact. Used a lot on bright work in the marine industry. Not cheap but is REALLY tough.

John Dach
john@MLCE.web site:

Rich Waugh's picture

Thanks, John. Yes, I've

Thanks, John. Yes, I've heard of the POR15 finishes but haven't used them due to difficulty of obtaining them down here. As a haz-mat for shipping purposes, it would have to come by boat and means an extra two weeks to get here. I'm usually in a hurry to get something finished and want it right now. Most of my work eds up as interior items and the finishes I use are great for that. I don't have any real problems with exterior items either, since I use a pretty involved finishing process as described. On items with full weather exposure I do the top coats using automotive enamels with urethane additive and have no problems.

One of these days I'll have a job where the time frame allows me to try the POR15 products and I'll order some in. They're just too expensive to buy on spec, though.

lin's picture


Wonderful piece! It looks much larger than the dimensions and you should make a larger one. Thanks for the finish details, they are spectacular. Lin

Rich Waugh's picture

Thank you, Lin. I'll

Thank you, Lin. I'll probably do the larger console table with matching mirror one of these days before too long. I might even try to design some complimentary light sconces to go with it. It would certainly make a nice package to put in a show and sell.

I wanted to detail the finishing process so people could really understand what goes into a good finish on a piece of iron work. It is too easy to neglect the finishing time in bidding a job and then find that you've either compromised the integrity of the work by cutting back or lost money by doing it right. On a bigger job, the finish work can take almost as much time as the forging and needs to accounted for in the pricing.

Joe B's picture

Beautiful table, Rich. What

Beautiful table, Rich. What sort of zinc cold galvanizing do
you prefer. I've tried some in the past, can't remember the brand name, that didn't do as well as I expected, but I probably didn't prepare the steel properly beforehand.
I completely agree with you about the time required for finish work taking nearly as much time as making the piece.

Rich Waugh's picture

The brand I use is called

The brand I use is called Galvacon, Joe. If applied over either freshly pickled or sandblasted steel and allowed to dry for 48 hours I find it excellent.