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Assembly Table Ideas/Help needed.

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Forum topic by PNWDad posted 10-03-2016 01:29 PM 245 views 0 times favorited 1 reply Add to Favorites Watch
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PNWDad

1 post in 68 days


10-03-2016 01:29 PM

Topic tags/keywords: assembly table mobile bench router table

Hi,
I’ve been searching the forums for the past couple of weeks and finally decided I should post a few questions I have relative to an assembly table and router table build I’m thinking of doing. First, I have these 7 base cabinets that I’ve removed from the garage:

There are 3×24 in, 3×22.5 in, and 1×16 in drawer bases. They are flat on the bottom and top (no toe kick). I’m thinking I’d like to take a 24, 22.5, and 16 (62.5 in total base x 24 in) and make a rolling assembly table with various t-track and clamp-track inserts into a 3/4 MDF + 3/4 Melamine sandwiched top edged in something. I’d also like this table to be identical in dimension to a router table build with a 24 and 22.5 base cab with a 16 in space between them to accommodate the router beneath the table top. The backs of both tables would be flush with the counter because I’d like to be able to place them back-back periodically to serve as one large assembly table. With the left-over 22.5 and 24, I may place on a frame and build a 20 inch bridge between them for my mitre saw.

Here are a few ideas I have taken in from this forum and youtube which I think would be good to implementt:
- Use some form of a lift caster so that the table stands on legs when not in motion
- Make the outer top surface from melamine, and make sure it is at least 1 in thick.
- The router table top I’m planning on is from woodpeckers, the 24×32 MDF which is 1 3/8 in thick. I plan to shim it 1/8 to make it flush with the MDF and Melamine sandwich
- If I want to use either as an out-feed table, make it just shy of 3/8 lower than my delta saw to accommodate a cross cut sled

Here are some things I need idea help with:
- Base frame design, specifically, how can I make two 2×4 boxes that will support the 62.5 inches of cabinet, and make them such that they are flat and identical, given that every 2×4 has some warp?
- Counter overhang, what is ideal for the front/Left/Right in order to support edge clamps?
- T-track, clamp track placement and design?
- How to secure and level the two tables together when I want to use them in the large assembly table configuration?

Thanks for the ideas and comments!


1 reply so far

View JBrow's profile

JBrow

819 posts in 386 days


#1 posted 10-04-2016 07:08 PM

PNWDad,

- Base frame design, specifically, how can I make two 2×4 boxes that will support the 62.5 inches of cabinet, and make them such that they are flat and identical, given that every 2×4 has some warp?

I think you instincts are correct. If you use framing lumber for the base you run the risk of some twisting or warping that could telegraph to the top. A base frame constructed of kiln dried hardwood lumber would probably be far more stable. The hardwood frame could be strengthened by topping it off with ¾” birch plywood, again staying away from construction grade materials.

I would think the design of the frame would need to take into account the lifting castors and height requirements. Also since the entire assembly will normally rest on legs, adding some adjustable leg levels may be needed. Few floors, especially concrete, are dead flat.

- Counter overhang, what is ideal for the front/Left/Right in order to support edge clamps?

I would think a 1-1/2” cantilever would work well, at least where cabinet drawers are located. Much more than 1-1/2” would make accessing the contents of the top drawers more difficult and could be a place of never ending head banging when retrieving items in the back of the cabinet.

I like to use C clamps at the table edges and orientate the screw down. A 1-1/2” overhang makes it more difficult to tighten the C clamps in this orientation. A larger cantilever, maybe 3-1/2” to 4” over the sides of the cabinet would make using C clamps a little more convenient.

But in the end consideration of the clamps you typically use should govern the distance of the cantilever.

I assume that when the router table and the rolling assembly table are brought together, they will be back to back. If so, a cantilever of the back may also be required. This cantilever would allow tops to come together without the base cabinets interfering. It also provides a place where hardware to lock the two tables together could be mounted.

- T-track, clamp track placement and design?

I am not sure how the T-tracks would be used. For maximum flexibility a web of T-tracks that run perpendicular would be required, spaced so that clamping devices can be used everywhere on the table. But this would be quite expensive and a lot of work.

One alternative is to install no tracks if you do not exactly know how these will be used. Then, as you discover a need, the number and placement of the T-tracks will become apparent. It would be a fairly easy matter to install T-tracks after the roll around assembly table is complete. If you take this approach and elect to use permanently installed screws to keep the table top sandwich together, ensuring access to these screws would prevent a straight router bit from hitting a hidden screw when plowing T-track receiving grooves.

The second alternative would be to install a pair of T-tracks oriented perpendicular to one another that meet near the corner of the table. These could be close to the table edges but offset from the table edges out of reach of the edge clamps that would be used.

- How to secure and level the two tables together when I want to use them in the large assembly table configuration?

This can be a real challenge. When the router table and the roll around assembly table are brought together, the tops must be at the same height. Therefore care is required when building the bases to ensure they are identical in height. Even with that done, any un-evenness in the floor could require raising or lowering a corner or two.

The second challenge is to get the two table surfaces flush. A series of biscuit slots or dowels could be used. But I find the fit of dry biscuits to be a little sloppy. Drilling precisely aligned holes, with a handheld drill, even with a doweling jig could be difficult. Therefore I would probably opt for a long continuous aluminum spline, but a shop-made spline could also work. The slots could be cut with a router and slot cutting bit.

But the easiest method may be to sandwich the table tops in such a way that they form a half lap joint at the back. For example the melamine could extend a couple of inches beyond the lower MDF at the back on the roll around table. The router table MDF could extend a couple of inches beyond the melamine at the back. When joined together, the melamine top of the roll around table would rest on the MDF of the router table. This solution would require routing a groove in the Woodpecker’s router table top, recessing the router table a couple of inches or invoking some other solution. The top could be kept together with some screws or drop in blots in counter bored holes through the half lap.

Other options for holding the two tables together include window sash locks or locking hardware used to keep leafs secured in place on expandable dining tables.

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