May 1, 2017, 11:23 pm
My wife's grandparents left her an old bed frame, and she wanted to to something special with it, so she asked me if I'd make a bench out of it that we would give to her mother for her birthday.
It's been a long time since I've worked with metal, so I was reticent, especially since I don't have any welding equipment. But her mother is the best grandmother our children could ever expect, so I thought I'd try.
So the first order of business was cutting the old footer (to the left) into two pieces, which would become arms for the bench. They had to be short enough to accommodate the seat, which meant about 18 inches each.
So I grabbed an angle grinder and rough cut 18 inches (closer to 20) on each side, which left about a foot of footer between the two cuts. The cuts I made were VERY rough, so I needed to finesse them to create the final arms for the bench.
I cut off about an inch on each side with a finer cutter than the angle grinder, And then I set about cutting the cresents into the pipes so they'd match up to the headboard, which was to become the back of the bench. I used a bench grinder to cut the crescents, eyeballing the arcs based on the width of the pipes. The arc is essentially half the distance of the width of the pipes, but again, I didn't measure, I eyeballed, comparing the arc I was cutting to the actual headboard pipe as I went along.
And in the middle, I burned the piss out of my toe. Pro tip: wear something other than sandals when you're grinding metal down.
Once I got the crescents cut into the arm pieces, Aidan, our 15-year-old, who has been practicing welding with a flux-wire welder, wanted to weld the seams, so I let him take over on that part:
Once the arms were welded to the frame, it was time to start thinking about the seat, which presented a special problem, because the frame itself provided no support hook-ins for a seat. So I decided I would use lag screws to attach a wooden seat frame to the bed frame itself, which meant drilling pilot holes and whatnot.
First, I built the frame, with the long pieces offset to allow me to insert the lag screws:
It was important for me to measure accurately, because the back side of the bed frame was about half an inch narrower than the front of the bed frame, simply due to stuff inching around during the welding process. I used old barn wood that we had torn down from a local barn. It was all wet (soaked, actually), because it was raining cats and dogs when I was doing this process.
Once the frame was in place, I had to attach it with the lag bolts:
That was actually a tricky process, because the pilot holes I drilled were a bit too small. Eventually I ended up clamping the boards and the metal together to prevent the bolts from bending the metal outward, and I used a simple 9/16 ratchet to drive the bolts through the wood and metal.
Once the frame was attached, it was a simple matter of drilling the wood planks (ancient 2X6 planks from the barn) into the frame. But first, my wife had to prime the metal for its eventual paint job:
With the metal primed and the wooden frame inserted, it was time to finally tack on the wooden seat:
I used number-25 hex-drive three-inch bolts to attach the seat planks. With everything tacked down, we waited a day for the wood to dry, then April sealed the wood and painted the frame turquoise, ending up with a final product that weighs about 70 pounds: