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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.
 

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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?
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 
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