DIY I-Beam Dining Table: Rustic and Industrial

It's here.  The day finally arrived when the table we envisioned, is now sitting in our house.  It was worth every the hour it took to build and is exactly what we were hoping for in the outcome!  It has a steel I-beam base and wood plank top, all weighing about 500 lbs. together.  Yes, it is a beast.  Final measurements are 8.5 ft long and 45 inches wide.  The top is 3 inches thick.

There is a story behind this table.  

About 3 months ago when my parents were visiting, we watched an episode of The Kitchen Cousins, one of my favorite HGTV shows.  In that episode, they made a table (the Steel City Table) from reclaimed barn wood and metal.  It was gorgeous and we watched the table building part probably 5 times (thank to DVR). I've always wanted to try our hand at making a table, that episode sent us into it for real...getting my husband on board as well.  Now he can't walk by the table without touching it; he might be more excited about the table than buying our house!

The other inspiration for this table came from our google search for "cool table legs."  Or whatever we put in the search bar.  :)  I came across Brandner Design and loved their I-Beam table.  They are based in Montana (home of my childhood), but we weren't able to purchase a table from them...there's no shipping this thing across the country!  But after showing the picture to my Dad, he responded that we could make one like it.  So thank you to Brandner Design for inspiring the design of this table.  They have amazing things and just knowing what went into this table, they do awesome work.  

So yes, thanks goes to Kitchen Cousins for kicking our butts in gear, Brandner Design for inspiring the base, and then my Dad and Uncle who spent countless hours on the base, making everything work together just right!  Oh, yah, and my hubby for being so muscular.  I was kinda weak for the lifting involved in this project.  :)

I had posted about our table progress a couple of weeks ago, you can find that post HERE

In our garage, we continued to work on the table top.  Thanks to friends and neighbors, we had the tools to complete it.  Ty is about to do the first cut in making it the correct length.  It was fun to see the raw edge of the wood.  We knew this was going to look good.  

After we coated the ENTIRE garage with layers of sawdust (now we have another project to do), I began staining.  I stained the entire table in the Natural stain color and then went back over it with Dark Walnut.

When I did the Dark Walnut, I used a rag in one hand for putting the color on and a rag in the other hand for wiping in quickly off.  We wanted the veins to stand out, but didn't want the entire table to be too dark.  It took a little while, but turned out like we wanted.

In my Uncle Beau's garage, they were also having a party.  This really was a family table and we could not be enjoying the table now without them!  (Some of these picture are from our time in Montana a month ago, but were never posted).

 This machine drills the holes for the thread.

My parents came to visit and brought the I-beam base with them.  All Saturday was spent making last tweeks, metal grinding, spray painting, adhering felt to the bottom, leveling, and in general, carrying lots of heavy things.

And I debated, should I really post this crazy garage picture.  Well, here it is.  If you too have sawdust covering your garage from your most recent project, maybe we should be friends.  :)  The table top is finished with 5 coats of water-based polyurethane.  I've used the water-based before and it works well.  Oil-based would have worked just as well.  Really, I haven't done enough projects for multiple uses to recommend one over the other.

Once the base was inside the house, it was time to put it together.  The cool thing about the table is that it works like a puzzle.  The bottom is held by the huge threads and bolts.  Then the table is attached to the base by screws on the bottom.

This was attaching some of the last screws.  Exciting moment!

We love it!  Seriously.  The 2nd board in from the right is my favorite one.  I think it calls out to my love of animal print (zebra anyone?).  It looks rustic, which makes any and all imperfections work quite well.  Our whole great room atmosphere feels more put together with this.

I love the look of the bolts!  If you notice from Brandner Design, we have a couple extra bolts than they do.  After placing the very heavy top (about 350 lbs.), even with the steel plates that had been welded to the middle I-beam, there was some wiggling movement.  Tyler's brillant idea was to get some large bolts and nuts to add under the table top to stabilize it.  I think they work perfect and add to the design.

The chairs.  We still need 2 more to match these ones (which I will continue to scour craigslist for...or eventually go to ikea to collect).  For everyday use, there will be 4 chairs to a side, none on the ends.  With the current 6, it looks better this way.  I'm on the prowl for end chairs, but I'm still debating their design and color.

We choose these chairs because, "wait, are there chairs in this picture?"  Yes, they are see-through.  We want the table to be the highlight and if the chairs are solid, it would take away from the legs.  At least for now that's what I think.

And in case you were wondering how it looked from other parts of our space, this is the view from the office.

And this is the view from the entry.

In the end we loved the project.  It was fun to build something with Tyler that we were so excited about.  And it was also fun to have the input and help from so many friends and family.  It's beautiful!

I think my salad for lunch today looked even tastier while sitting on the table!


  1. Very cool. I love the industrial look and the way the clear chairs let the table be the focal point!

  2. BONNIE BELL WEEKS!! i love it! you guys did such a great job and how fun for you guys to have the time together making it! looks like it was hard work but well worth it! i cant wait to come eat on it someday...hopefully soon!

  3. Wow, that is really neat- and unique! I love the stain of the color. It will be such a neat piece of furniture to have in your family. I love homemade treasures!

  4. Wow, it looks amazing, I love it!!! What a great idea and a job well done. I'm glad you both got to work together on it - makes it even more special :)

  5. You should show a breakdown for how much the version online cost vs. how much you made it for with all of the financial breakdown. I love seeing that.

  6. I loved it . Is that Folding Table Legs.. I want to Buy Folding Table Legs that will be useful. Thanks.


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