Joining Steel Without Welding?

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Forum topic by Patrick posted 12-22-2014 09:41 PM 3203 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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41 posts in 1367 days

12-22-2014 09:41 PM

I want to combine steel and wood for design but it’s hard to find information on this because I don’t really know what I’m looking for. Does anyone have any info on riveting metal or any other ways to join metal without welding?

Thanks in advance,

11 replies so far

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2512 days

#1 posted 12-22-2014 09:51 PM

Depending on how thick the steel is compared to your wood, you could just drill holes in the wood and the steel and use pegs.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Patrick's profile


41 posts in 1367 days

#2 posted 12-22-2014 10:00 PM

Use steel pegs? Rivets?

View bigblockyeti's profile


5138 posts in 1745 days

#3 posted 12-22-2014 10:03 PM

Do you have a picture of what you’re trying to do. I can think of many ways to join steel without welding, but a picture or description would help to greatly limit the variables.

View Rob's profile


704 posts in 3095 days

#4 posted 12-22-2014 10:03 PM

Bolts or pop rivets work to join pieces of metal, but it’s tough to know whether they’ll be the best solution to your project without knowing more about the application. For example, if the two pieces need to move relative to one another like in a hinge, you’ll probably want to use a different method to attach them.

Could you share some more details about the design…maybe even a couple sketches?

-- Ask an expert or be the expert -

View Patrick's profile


41 posts in 1367 days

#5 posted 12-22-2014 10:08 PM

Like this right here I think is brilliant work. I want to use steel as face frames or even drawer fronts like this. I also want to be able to make tube squares for dining table legs.

View Rob's profile


704 posts in 3095 days

#6 posted 12-22-2014 11:34 PM

For that desk you could use some square tube connectors like these:

If you use large square tube stock for dining table legs like in your link, you can probably get by with just using bolts through the legs where they cross.

-- Ask an expert or be the expert -

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41 posts in 1367 days

#7 posted 12-22-2014 11:39 PM

That’s what I’m talking about! Thanks Rob.

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3672 days

#8 posted 12-22-2014 11:55 PM

Well, you won’t regret investing in a wire feed welder,
gloves and a mask.

That said, riveting is viable. Pop rivets are ugly but they
work. To some extent copper rivets sold for leatherworking
can work well and you’ll find working with them
an intuitive, exploratory process.

“Chicago screws” are work knowing about.

You’ll need to account for wood movement sometimes. In
some cases a steel plate can be glued to a piece of plywood
glued into a recess and since the plywood moves very
little, the glue attaching the steel to the wood won’t
pop loose as it would if the wood was moving under
the metal.

You can buy a lot of interesting formed steel parts from
architectural metal supply companies.

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1317 posts in 1960 days

#9 posted 12-23-2014 02:07 AM

I’m with Loren on buying a welder. I have about $200 total ina welding setup and I use it all the time. It is totally worth it. I currently have 2 projects on the backlog that will use the welder, and I am working on another one now. Harbor Freight welders are cheap and great for things like furniture that don’t need to pass a structural inspection.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View JohnChung's profile


410 posts in 2099 days

#10 posted 12-23-2014 02:15 AM

Welding will provide a new dimension to metal. Well worth the time and money.

View runswithscissors's profile (online now)


2765 posts in 2050 days

#11 posted 12-23-2014 02:39 AM

I used to bolt and weld everything, a time consuming and often barely adequate way to join steel. Finally invested in a HF wire welder, about 30 years ago (and it’s still going strong), and I use it very often. Really handy for making jigs and the like. I’m self-taught, which means my welds wouldn’t pass inspection, but they do the job. Better to get some instruction.

I’ve even found a source for stainless steel flux-core wire, which I have wished for for a long time. You can weld stainless without it, but have to use exotic mixes of gases which aren’t cheap.

I’m glad to see those EZ tube connectors, though, as there are times when I could really use those.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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