DIY Network

How to Make a Swirled Aluminum Table Edge

Metal stripping protects table edges and provides a nice decorative detail. David Thiel demonstrates how to give a work table a decorative swirled aluminum edge.

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give work table decorative swirled aluminum edge
  • Time

    1 hour

  • Price Range

    $1 - $50

  • Difficulty



Step 1: Clamp and Mark the Aluminum Bar Stock

Get some aluminum bar stock from the hardware store, then clamp it to the workbench on top of a block of wood.

Draw lines 6" apart all the way down the bar stock. The marks indicate where holes will be drilled into the bar stock to attach it to the edge of the work table.

Step 2: Start the Holes

Use an awl to start the holes in each location marked. This gives the drill bit something to 'bite' when drilling clearance holes.

use awl to start holes

Step 3: Drill the Holes

Drill clearance holes through the holes that were started with the awl. This step is where the block of wood supporting the bar stock becomes important.

After the holes are drilled, clear away the debris.

drill clearance holes through holes started by awl

Step 4: Make Swirled Patterns

With the bar stock clamped down, use an angle grinder to make swirled patterns (Image 1). Try out a test piece first to find out what kind of pattern you'll get.

Use a buffer to polish the aluminum to a mirror sheen, if desired (Image 2).

Step 5: Attach the Bar Stock

After giving the bar stock a nice finish, it's almost time to attach it to the work table. But first, get rid of the manufacturer's mark off the edge of the bolts. Use a wire wheel to rub the edge of the bolt off. Hold the bolt with a pair of pliers while working on it.

Attach the bar stock to the edge of the work table using the bolts.

use wire wheel to rub edge of bolt off