Assembly and Outfeed Table ala Norm (and the Whisperer)

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Project by Lazyman posted 12-08-2014 03:32 PM 2454 views 1 time favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My work bench always seems to accumulate tools and other miscellaneous clutter while I am working in my shop. I also decided that my roller stand just wasn’t enough support when cutting a sheet of plywood so I decided to build a dual purpose assembly table that was movable, sturdy and large enough to assemble and work on larger pieces without working on the floor. I stumbled upon an old New Yankee Workshop video on YouTube where Norm Abrams built an assembly table using only plywood and some hardboard. I later found another video by the Wood Whisperer where he built a smaller version for an outfeed table so I adapted both ideas for my needs.

I had an old computer desk that my daughter did not want anymore that is made of melamine covered particle board that I wanted to cannibalize for the top but the rest is made from 3/4” plywood. Norm actually made a hollow top, much like a hollow door to make it lighter because his table and shop are much bigger than mine. I actually have a 3/4” piece underneath and between the legs and styles and the 1” top is screwed to that from underneath. I originally designed the top to hang over 2” on all sides but decided to use the entire top to give me a little extra space and added some old shelf supports I had laying around to give it a little extra strength. You can see the pink and green supports peeking out on both sides. Keeping the extra length not only prevented me from needing to put an edge of some kind to hide the particle board edges but also makes it nearly the same length as the entire saw table. The final dimensions of the top are 60” x 30”, 36.5” high and the base is 36” x 26”. This design can be easily adjusted to any size you need.

The legs are joined with biscuits and screws to avoid having to cut a rabbet in the plywood (plus it gave me an excuse to try the Freund plate jointer that I bought for $20 at a garage sale). The rest is simply screwed and glued together. One of the things that I like about Norm’s design is that he added some casters that simply fall into place and are supported by simple jacks that make it easy to move around in my tight garage shop. It’s also very light but the right angle legs give you almost the strength of a 4×4 but with a fraction of the weight. I made mine about 1/2” shorter than my table saw but you could easily put some leg levelers on it if you wanted to make the height match exactly. I actually drew a leveler on one leg in the SU design in case I decided to add that so that I would know where to modify the board that the casters fit on. By making it shorter, I didn’t have to cut dadoes for the miter gauge and it still gives me the support I need when cutting long or wide material. Since it is intended to be movable it also prevents me from having to precisely line up the dadoes with the miter gauge each time I move it.

I easily built this design in an afternoon. I spent more time designing it in SketchUp than building it. Send me your email address in a PM if you would like a copy of the SU file. This was my first complete design in SU.

Here are links to the NYW and Wood Whisper videos if you want tips on design and assembly. See Norm’s video for more detail on the casters and jacks to make it moveable. He also has a great design for a mobile clamp stand in this episode that is similar to ones you can buy.


-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

2 comments so far

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302 posts in 1902 days

#1 posted 12-08-2014 04:10 PM

Looks very nice. Has a lot in common with one I built. Here’s a look:
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-- Some problems are best solved with an optimistic approach. Optimism shines a light on alternatives that are otherwise not visible.

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100 posts in 1066 days

#2 posted 12-09-2014 01:37 AM

Nice! I really like it. I was thinking of building one and getting the materials this weekend. I sent you a message on your LJ messages box.

-- 1st Cor. 15:1-4

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