Cleat system for interlocking work tables

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Project by RoadHogg posted 04-13-2014 04:55 PM 2308 views 11 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

In my shop, as in many shops, I need to maximize work space but floor space is rather scarce. As is good advice, making work tables that are the same height as the table saw will greatly improve the available space for infeed, outfeed and assembly during a project. In order to make this practise more cohesive, I devised a “cleat” system for my work tables in order that they will lock together when needed, making large work areas out of smaller work tables.

The cleat is simply strips of plywood glued and screwed together to make mating upper and lower cleats. The pictures should make things clearer than I can explain.

-- "The difference between school and real life is that in real life the tests come first, and then the lessons" -- Robert Lang,

10 comments so far

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2506 posts in 2857 days

#1 posted 04-13-2014 10:25 PM

I see the cleat system and it is very cool and made with materials that are strong and cost effective… But. If you add another section, what holds it up? I can see the section you show has some kind of rolling cart under it. Do you have another cart with a top on it like the other someplace in the shop? BTW.. this method has many possibilities for the smaller shop what occasionally does a very large project that needs real table space.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View RoadHogg's profile


124 posts in 1346 days

#2 posted 04-13-2014 10:53 PM

Hi Craftsman.

The sections are not meant to be stand alone. This system is just a universal way to build a work table top so it can be used stand alone or attached to one more more other work tables to create a large one. What isn’t pictured is an outfeed table on the table saw, that uses the same cleat attachment, other tables can attach to it. I don’t have more than the two at the moment but I am just setting up shop so any work tables and machine stands I build can have these cleats built in so everything can connect together if need be.

I find that during the assembly stage of a project I am always looking for larger table areas to work on so with this system I can easily create that with existing carts, stands and tables I may already have.

-- "The difference between school and real life is that in real life the tests come first, and then the lessons" -- Robert Lang,

View a1Jim's profile


115172 posts in 2996 days

#3 posted 04-13-2014 10:56 PM

Ingenious idea really cool.

-- Custom furniture

View DonB's profile


484 posts in 2111 days

#4 posted 04-14-2014 11:46 AM

RoadHogg: You bet! My assembly table is the same height as the router/table saw for the same reason. I like your design, simple and it apparently works.

-- DonB

View BentheViking's profile


1763 posts in 1983 days

#5 posted 04-14-2014 01:59 PM

thats a great idea

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View helluvawreck's profile


22669 posts in 2286 days

#6 posted 04-14-2014 03:12 PM

That’s very innovative. Congratulations.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View EarlS's profile


280 posts in 1767 days

#7 posted 04-14-2014 05:17 PM

I’m figuring out how to do the same thing with the back of my table saw. I’m curious how you attached the beam to the back of your saw and table?

I have the outfeed table that can be folded down so I was going to set cleats along the back edge of the table and the side edge of the outfeed table with bolts to allow for tweaking the alignment so the tables are all flush and level.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View savan's profile


97 posts in 1810 days

#8 posted 04-14-2014 05:27 PM

funny this sounds like the name of a title for patent application

cool implementation!

View RoadHogg's profile


124 posts in 1346 days

#9 posted 04-14-2014 05:59 PM

EarlS. My table saw has a “L” iron along the back. There are a few holes from the factory. I just drove some 1/4” lag screws up into the cleat. Since the picture was taken, I’ve shortened that cleat so it sits closer to the saw, there’s no reason for it to be 2” out like shown.

-- "The difference between school and real life is that in real life the tests come first, and then the lessons" -- Robert Lang,

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


17574 posts in 3095 days

#10 posted 04-14-2014 11:15 PM

good idea.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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