Assembly table base question

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Forum topic by ThunderCrunch posted 09-18-2013 07:00 AM 2964 views 2 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 1708 days

09-18-2013 07:00 AM

Hello, first post

Im going to build a 6’x4’ torsion box assembly table. 1/2” mdf grid and 1/2” mdf skins. I want to build a base like the one I’ve attached out of 3/4 ply but I worry the weight of the top plus any projects sitting on it will stress the base. Would a base like this be plenty strong or should I just use 2×4 material.

11 replies so far

View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2283 days

#1 posted 09-18-2013 11:07 AM

If that is oak, I’d say it would be fine, but if it’s pine, it wont hold up. I’d at least use 4×4 for the legs. The problem with pine is the fasteners. As the table gets heavier with a project it will tend to sway a little and the screws will tear out a little at a time until it is loose all over. Hand planing comes to mind.

If it were me, I’d use 2×4.
But then my primary bench is a couple home made saw horses with a 2×4 frame covered in MDF, weighs about 400lbs with all the wood I keep under it. I also keep the bench on a piece of short nap carpet no larger than the legs so I can move it around easier. Still grips well for hand planing, but won’t become stressed if I need to scoot it a couple inches.

If I made a formal bench, I’d install wheels I could flip down with a pedal, you always have to move it a little.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2357 days

#2 posted 09-18-2013 11:59 AM

6×6’s would be better.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View ThunderCrunch's profile


4 posts in 1708 days

#3 posted 09-18-2013 01:58 PM

Keep in mind this will just be an assembly table, just a flat surface for glue-ups. I won’t be doing any hand planing on it. I’ve seen numerous assembly tables built with a base like I’ve picured but usually he top is just a sheet or two of plywood. I just wondered if the added weight of a torsion box top will be too much for a design like this. Also given the length (6’), I would probably put another couple of legs on it similar to this

Basically what I want is this but instead of the sheet of ply on the top there would be my torsion box

View GrandpaLen's profile


1650 posts in 2268 days

#4 posted 09-18-2013 04:49 PM


Welcome to LumberJocks , a world of advise, opinions, and experiences, all shared without judgement.

You came to LumberJocks’ Site for opinions and advice …that’s a good choice.

You have received a few opinions …that’s what we’re here for.

...but hey, it’s your table and ultimately your descision, if it starts wobbling or fails you can always rebuild it.

Experience is also something you must build yourself.

Best Regards. – Grandpa Len.

Work Safely and have Fun.

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View brtech's profile


1029 posts in 2918 days

#5 posted 09-18-2013 08:55 PM

a torsion box made of two sheets of 1/2” MDF weighs a bit more than a couple sheets of 1/4” ply, but not much more. I think that kind of base will work fine, but I probably would use 2×4s myself.

I would probably put the extra legs in.

OTOH, I would consider building the base as a pair of cabinets with drawers (look at the woodwhisperer version) rather than the open frame. That base takes a lot of floor space, and adding storage under it would be useful. If you don’t want to build the drawers right away, maybe screw a temporary front on the box.

View ThunderCrunch's profile


4 posts in 1708 days

#6 posted 09-18-2013 09:26 PM

I have seen the wood whisperer version and like it alot, but due to the population of brown recluse spiders living in our home I like to keep all of my storage open (they like dark quiet places, oh and they love to nest in wood go figure). Maybe I will box in three sides of the base to give it rigidity. Thanks for the replies.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2686 days

#7 posted 09-19-2013 01:28 AM

Click for details

That is how I did mine and it has held up well with NO wobble. And note that I didn’t use stringers like yours (which would make it even stronger)

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View moke's profile


1175 posts in 2772 days

#8 posted 09-20-2013 05:44 PM

Isn’t the basic idea a torsion box is that it built to do some “adjusting” with light pounding? Or have I missed the point. I agree you should beef up the support system for “the long haul”.

-- Mike

View ThunderCrunch's profile


4 posts in 1708 days

#9 posted 09-20-2013 06:20 PM

I agree that stronger is always better. I’m trying to strike a balance between weight, strength, and size. I have all my materials bought and sitting in the basement, the top will be built over the weekend. After that I will come to a final decision on the base.

View bondogaposis's profile


4725 posts in 2347 days

#10 posted 09-20-2013 07:21 PM

That construction will be fine, two 3/4” x 3 1/2” pieces of wood joined into a corner will be at least as strong as a single 2×4 and possibly have better racking strength.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View MrRon's profile


4764 posts in 3239 days

#11 posted 09-23-2013 07:15 PM

The construction you propose is fine. I would make the base 6” narrower in each direction (6” overhang all around). Use glue on all your joints. The legs are acting as columns, so they are plenty strong.

Oh! one other thing; For a torsion box to be flat, you need a flat surface on which to build the box. Build and level the table FIRST before making the top. Also 4 legs are adequate.

Being an assembly table, you probably will want the top lower than for a workbench; maybe 30-32” high.

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