Drive That Coffee Table Over Here
Isn’t it interesting how we can stumble upon a way of doing something? That’s how it was for Joel Hesterof The Weld House. Joel told me how he came to build these one-of-a-kind tables that he creates in his Mesquite, Texas studio.
“I had a 30-something customer bring me a small, metal, original beer sign to incorporate into the top of a coffee table I was building for him. Back then, I was using new steel plate which had cool shades of blue and grey. The tables were more industrial than contemporary or modern. Anyway, I struggled with the idea because the sign would not nearly cover the top of the table. His reply was to just weld some stuff together and make it work. Well I did not. I struggled with a solution. I did not want any exposed or sharp edges and it’s impossible to weld such thin metal and have it look good.”
Joel continued, “One day I was walking through a junk yard looking for ideas on how to graft this beer sign when I stumbled upon the most fantastically colored and rusted Cadillac. The rear trunk was perfect to cover the top of the coffee table and I knew that under a fresh layer of automotive clear coating, the colors would be even more dramatic and colorful.”
“I told the client, ‘This is my solution. I’ll wrap the top of your coffee table with the skin of this Cadillac. I am not using your beer sign. I’ve struggled with that requirement for 30 days and I’m not doing it.’ In the end, the client was super stoked at how his table turned out. I’m glad he was insistent on using that damn beer sign ’cause it made me step outside my comfort zone to create a solution.”
Here’s what Joel started with to make the table above.
Joel has been welding handmade steel furniture since his 2006 New Years resolution to do so. He offers some completed tables for sale at his Web site, and does much of his work as custom orders.
Here’s a Ford F-150 pickup hood before and the coffee table after:
Joel is always scouting out just the right materials. “I look for American cars or trucks between the 60′s and 80′s. And they have to look cool. I always have my tools and torch with me and I buy cool stuff on the spot and photograph it and put it on my Web site.”
And if you don’t see the color you want from his photo inventory of available raw materials he’ll find it for you.
“I’ll work one-on-one with clients to find the perfect piece of sheet metal that they are thrilled with,” says Joel. Custom orders take anywhere from a week to two months to complete, depending on color requirements and complexity.
This table used to be a 1981 Mercedes 240D:
So lucky us for about that guy and his damn beer sign. Joel says that the tables look even better in person. “I get a lot of ‘wows’ and ‘no-ways’.”
In your creative life, what have you stumbled upon?