Pipe Base Work Tables

Need work tables?

Well, my husband needed a series of work tables for his personal workshop and I took up the challenge.  I convinced him that creating a series of tables using pipe as the base would be the way to go.  I used black pipe from Lowe’s that you’ll find at most home improvement stores.  I’ll do my best to explain the process of putting these tables together.

Step 1

Decide the size you need for your table(s), height, length, and depth.  We decided to build 3 tables:

  • 8′ table, 29″ high and about 2′ deep
  • 5′ table, 29″ high and about 2′ deep
  • 4′ computer table, 29″ high and about 28″ deep

Pipe view of computer table

Step 2

Lay out your configuration for the table base. You can have the pipe cut to your exact measurements however, I didn’t have much luck getting consistent measurements.  At the time I initially shopped for my pipe, the store was out of 18″ pipe so I asked to have some cut.  Out of the (4) 18″ pipes I purchased, only one was exactly 18 inches.  The others were all off by as much as 1/2″.  So, my recommendation is that you try and use standard pre-cut sizes when possible.

Depending upon how your table will be used, you can determine the diameter of the pipe you wish to use.  I used 1/2″ pipe however you may want a heavier pipe, like a 3/4″ or 1″ for instance.

Pipe base table 100_7771

I constructed each leg with the following materials:

  • (1) 18″ pipe threaded at both ends
  • (1) 8″ nipple pipe threaded at both ends
  • (2) floor flanges (one at each end of the leg)
  • (1) tee to connect a cross pipe to stabilize the legs

I connected the legs at each end of the table with a cross pipe consisting of (2) 8″ pipes and a tee to allow you to attach a center pipe that runs the length of the table.

Putting the table base together is a matter of screwing together the pipes in the configuration that you choose and then screwing them to the table top by attaching the floor flanges.

Here are some of the basic pieces you need to construct your table.  A floor flange at the bottom of each leg allows the table to sit level/sturdy.  A floor flange at the top of each leg allows you to attach it to the table top.

The 3-way tee on each leg allows you to connect a cross pipe to attach two legs together and give it more stability.

A 4-way tee may be needed if you decide to attach a center bar connecting the pairs of legs together.  I used a cross bar and then put a cut piece of 3/4″ plywood on top of it to create a storage shelf.

 

Tee pipe fittings
Tee pipe fitting
Nipple pipe fitting
Nipple pipe fitting
Tee pipe fitting
Tee pipe fitting
Floor flange
Floor flange

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your table configuration will depend upon the size you decide.  For my 8′ table, I used 3 pairs of legs to give it stability, and then attached the pairs with  36″ pipe.

For my work tables, I constructed the legs with an 18″ pipe, attached to a tee, attached to an 8″ pipe on the bottom.  For the computer desk, I used the same leg configuration but flipped it, to allow a shelf to be put up high instead of low to the floor.

Constructing the table base is a little like putting together a puzzle.  The first one I built, I spend a lot of time in the aisle at the store, picking out my pipe fittings and laying out my configuration.

If you choose to use black pipe (I liked how it looked), instead of the galvanized pipe, you’re going to find your hands turning black while you put together your table. Once I had all the pieces together, I scrubbed it down with a little soap and water, allowed it to dry a while in the sun, and then wiped it down with some WD-40 to prevent rust.

Ok, I realize ‘step 2′ has a lot to absorb. I wish I had taken pictures along the way to show how I put the tables together but, I’ll try to remember next time.  These tables are already fully in use so it’s hard to get a clean picture of them but I’m hoping you get the idea and it helps you with creating your own pipe base tables.

Step 3

Lastly, I wanted to address the table tops.  These are work tables, not dining tables, so finding inexpensive wood to use at the local home improvement store is not a problem.  For the 5′ table, I bought 2×10 and 2×8 pine.  They came in standard lengths of 12 feet, which I had the store cut them down to 6′ sections for me so they’d be easier to transport and handle.  For the 8′ table I bought the same 2×10 and 2×8 pine in 8’ lengths.

I built the top by using wood glue and pocket holes to screw the pieces together.  I combined a 2×10, a 2×8, and then a 2×10 to get the width that I wanted.  Clamp them together until the glue dries.  Then I attached a cut down 2×4 across the table where the legs would be attached.  The 2×4 gives the table a little more height and it attaches across the bottom of the table to help hold the 3 pieces of wood together.

I used a couple of coats of stain to get this color.  I used a first coat of Gunstock (because I had some already), and then a second coat of Dark Walnut stain.  It made an interesting an deep color on these pine boards.

I finished up with 3 coats of polyurethane, sanding with 220 grit after the 2nd coat is dry.  So, that’s 2 coats of poly, let dry 24 hours, lightly sand with 220 grit sandpaper, then lay a final coat of poly to get a smooth finish.

The only difference between the table tops and the computer table top is that I cut the front sides of the table at an angle.  This was done because of the location where the desk sat.  Trimming the corners of the table gave you more room to walk by without you hitting the corner of the table on one side, and to give room to open a cabinet on the other side.  Design your table to fit your needs in your work-space.

Hopefully, the pictures in this post will help spur your creative ideas for how to build your own pipe tables.

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8 foot pipe table
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Computer Desk pipe table
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Wood top for pipe tables

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