Coffee tables are fun projects to build. They aren’t very big, easy to manage alone, fairly cheap to build and a good platform for your imagination.
This time I have decided to go for that industrial look with big heavy hardwood railway sleepers and a custom made polished concrete top with a wrought iron edge.
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On the outside these sleepers look old and shitty but under the skin lies perfectly good flawless hardwood.
The table is held together with a stainless steel square tube frame I TIG welded together. As you can see the sleepers are back screwed to hide the fixings.
After cutting them to length, I arranged the sleepers in a way that shows off the beautiful ageing and patina they have. The packers are there while I screw them from the back. The finished look will be one of them floating.
After a quick scrub it was time to oil the sleepers.
Next was the concrete top. Well after some trial and error i have decided against concrete all together and am now going to use structural non-shrink grout. It is a shitload harder and finer. There will be no sand in it so the finish will come out more like highly polished concrete or that of polished stone. The difference the way i will be pouring this slab is i am doing it upside down. As in once its dry, the bottom molded side will be the top. In this picture the mold i have made from 18mm MDF whiteboard. The stuff your kitchen cupboards are made of. Its only temporary as long as its smooth. Remember, the inside size of the mold will be the outside of the shape you want. The depth of the mold will be the finished height of the slab.
Siv, mix and pour. If you are using non-shrink grout, mix it up pretty runny for a better finish. The water will just dry out of it anyway.
Once you have filled the mold, why its still wet, use a straight edge to screed off the excess giving you the desired thickness.
Done. Pour a slab, drink a slab.
There’s the dry slab, ready to break out of the mold.
Here is the sheet of 18mm form ply I will be using as a sub-straight under the slab. this will stop any distortion causing the slab to crack. Notice I am using a product called Hexa Birch ply. Expensive shit but it has that hexagon pattern which will help bond the two surfaces.
On goes the glue. I’m using sikaflex Pro 11fc.
This is me coating the cement top with a non porous protective film sealer. Its called siloxane. Bloody expensive shit. Was around $60P/L from memory.
This is the finished top with the sealer dried. Notice how the water now beads off and the cement remains dry! This will be great later on for things like red wine or food spillages.
Now for the table edge/perimeter. Im going to use this 50x50x8 Steel angle. The idea is for the table top to sit inside the angle protecting the edge from hits.
The steel angle frame i whipped up, to support and protect the edge of the cement top.
Ok, the steel frame has since been powder coated clear (to stop it rusting and also so it feels smooth and you cant get dirty fingers by touching it.) As you can see, i had to route out the bottom of the form ply by 2mm so the top edge of the steel is flush with the top of cement top. A small miscalculation, easily fixed.
The final touches. Here i am packing out the gaps around the edge evenly, then caulk the gap with black sikaflex.
The finished job. !