This was a “quick” project that arose from need: my wife saw a similar item in a catalog and decided to get a pair of them for a large family gathering this year (A total of 16 stockings will be hung.) Lo and behold the catalog items were already sold out. Enter handy husband.
Total construction time (for two units) was 9 to 12 hours (measured in 3 hour sessions at the local welding shop, www.ciadc.org). Painting took a few more days as all the colors required multiple coats–and I started with a primer. The welding was all MIG.
The one part of the design that’s not obvious from the general photo is that the legs detach near the top for storage. (See photos below.) The legs themselves are angle iron. To join the legs to the top, I created a bayonet-style joint. This consisted of a 1/4″ rod attached to the upper section and extending about 3 inches beyond it to slide into the leg sections. To create the receiving groove for the rod on the legs, I welded a flat piece of steel across the inside of the angle iron. The tricky part was getting that flat piece sized just right to make for a tight fit.
Another small item is that there are feet on the bottom of the horizontal leg struts. These feet are just short sections of 1/2-inch diameter steel rod attached so that the curved side is against the floor. This gives the whole thing just four points of contact on the floor which will hopefully lead to less trouble with leveling, rocking, etc. (So far so good on the first installation.) Of course this can be handled in many different ways. Also: I capped the ends of the 1-inch square tubes on the base with plastic end caps.
In the back-side photo you can see the attachment of the letters and the two rods that support them. You’ll also see the 1/4-inch rods attached to the angle iron for hanging the stockings to. The green S-hooks were also made for this project. I just wrapped some plastic coated heavy gauge wire around conduit to get those.
In the interests of time, I bought pre-cut steel letters and tack welded them in place. The letters are attached to two lengths of 1/8-inch rod attached at each side and running across the entire length of the piece. This worked very well. I wound up getting galvanized steel letters. Galvanized metal is NOT safe to weld due to the production of toxic fumes. I took the risk of doing it anyway, working under a large exhaust fan and going in for short sessions of tack welds before backing away to allow removal of all the fumes. If I had it to do over, I’d find letters that were not galvanized–or find some other way of attaching them.
The entire piece was sandblasted after welding and grinding to prepare everything (and especially the galvanized letters) for painting. (Galvanized metal doesn’t take paint well at all.)