workshop table

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so i’ve got some workshop table building tricks that i think everyone should know my shop build is rolling along i’ve got the carpet up the miter saw station is basically done and i’ve got new tools on the way the next logical step for me was the workshop table or the workbench it’s the centerpiece of every shop and it’s something i like to build early on because it helps you build everything else until you’ve got your workshop table you’ll constantly be struggling to assemble parts or just find a good cutting service i started with a great tip i learned years ago added a couple others along the way and built everything in the quickest easiest fashion possible so today i’m going to tell you what those tips are and even do a real quick walkthrough of how i built the entire project and that’s coming up next on the honest carpenter show here’s that great trick that i learned way back in my teens the best top or surface for your workshop table is a flat solid core door you see these door slabs standing up in big box stores and lumber yards they just look like thick blank pieces of wood really they’re actually a complex assembly of lots of pieces and veneers they usually have solid wood edges thin sheet ply faces in either mdf cores or sometimes glued up solid wood cores the best ones also come without mortises for hinges and no holes board for lock sets so in other words they’re completely flat and blank it’s like these things were made to become workshop tables they’re the perfect dimensions for a work surface usually 32 or 36 inches wide and 80 inches long not too big not too small they’re also really thick and dense so you can really beat on them and they weight your table down nicely also they tend to be extremely flat because of the solid or glued up cores they don’t really suffer from warpage and they tend to hold their shape far better than normal plywood or even dimensional lumber you want your work surface to be really flat because it helps you line up edges or keep things square when you’re building and on top of that these things just come ready to use it’s like you have a whole workshop table just standing there ready to put on a cart wheel it out and take it to the shop they’re also not terribly expensive even in these lumber crunch days i got mine for about eighty dollars which i see as a steal or you can sometimes even find them at habitat for humanity restores in good shape i just did a video on restores so check that one out if you haven’t seen it i know you can do more complicated builds for your top gluing up or edge joining bigger boards but i always ask why bother i like builds that are simple inexpensive and fast and this is the epitome of all three and yeah you can beat this thing up pretty badly mine actually came with some chipped corners which i got a discount for but what’s it matter it’s supposed to get beat up it’s a workshop table you can do epoxy or glue patches on it as you go along or you can just flip it because of how i built this table which i’ll show in a minute i can literally just detach the top flip it over and start fresh with the new surface so you’re basically getting two table tops for the price of one and again no time spent building it they built it somewhere else in a factory and all you had to do was transport it to the shop the one caveat that i’ll give here is that these things are heavy and i mean pure dead weight i’m not sure how heavy my solid mdf core door is but i’m pretty sure it’s heavier than me it was all i could do to pick this thing up i mostly dragged it or walked it around with the shop table though this basically works to your advantage the extra weight just makes things more stable and durable but because i built it on casters that weight is still mobile around the shop which brings me to the other big tip of this project i built this somewhat odd looking design for a very specific reason workflow here’s the classic conundrum with the shop table you’re working with your components and they gradually begin to take over the table surface you need tools to work on them but there’s suddenly no room for your tools it’s almost like you need another table for your tools which is silly because you just built one that’s why i use the tool shelf it’s like a second table directly beneath your table with these slot windows you have the perfect place to put your tools to get them off the work surface it has a flush floor so you can slide long tools straight in and out with no hang ups the window is five and a half inches tall so you can even fit bulky tools and openings on all four sides give you tons of access and storage potential tools fasteners glue they’re all right down here where your hands can easily reach them and you can see them at a glance it’s a lot like the tray shelf for nails and fasteners that i built into my miter saw stand i also inset both the legs and the shelf by about an inch or two so i would have a clampable edge i can now clamp down my table from the full perimeter any angle any position i found this to be extremely important over the years i see this as the ultimate workstation simple and functional and also fast and easy to build i knocked the whole thing out in about six hours materials were right about 250 dollars even with these pricey five inch locking casters and crazy expensive wood these days so with those design tips in mind i’ll walk you really quickly through how i actually built it i like to knock out my table saw breakdowns in one go it gets this tedious cutting out of the way and i’ve then got basic components to work with so the legs for the table are just decent two by fours i ripped the coat edges off of them both sides so that they would glue up better and just look more finished and the tool shelf is basically a table skirt with windows to construct the skirt i used three quarter inch plywood ripped down to eleven and a half inch widths to make my legs i cut the two by fours down to about 27 inch sections this was my overall height minus table top caster height and a block for the caster attachment i just glued and brad nailed these sections into l’s and if you think this isn’t strong enough just look at these little cut-offs i made i can’t even break one inch of connection with my hands they’re outrageously strong so i got my door up on some horses then use the leg sections to do some basic layout with a combo square this would create my footprint for everything else now i had to shape the skirt boards i wanted a five and a half inch window with three inches of material at the top for table support and two inches at the bottom for shelf support i just plotted and drew this out in rectangles then i used a spare hole saw bit to draw rounded corners i thought this would come out looking cooler than square corners which it did now i actually had to cut all these shapes for the long runs i just did drop cuts with a circular saw because it makes such clean straight lines i intended to then jigsaw the curves but my jigsaw decided to go haywire on me i’ve never liked this thing and i have a new saw on the way but i had to tinker with this one just to get this project done my corner sort of got botched as a result but it’s just a shop table in my shop so i didn’t care too much eventually i had all my skirt components roughed out and sanded up so they were at least decent i was ready to assemble them into simple box walls but before i did this i put pocket holes in the upper three inch edges of the skirt boards this was so i’d have a way to attach the skirt to the underside of the table top i also used a scrap of half inch ply to mark bottom edges for my lower shelf thickness this gives you an easy sight lineup for when you’re assembling i ripped down some three quarter inch ply into strips and then used them as cleats for the bottom shelf i glued them brought them right up to my marked line and shot them into place with brads at this point i also cut the shelf itself i cut it freehand from half inch thick plywood this shelf won’t ever hold a ton of weight that’s just not what it’s for so i thought half inch ply would be just fine here finally i was free to assemble the skirt walls using glue and brads this was an easy thing to do using my large flat door as a work surface now here’s where assembly got a little weird to avoid issues down the line i went ahead and slid my shelf into the top of the skirt box i did this for two reasons one it kept the box square during installation and two it also allowed me to use a normal drill with a long pocket hole bit to attach the top i got my lineup right then put in one and a quarter inch pocket screws i didn’t use glue again i might want to flip this door later and i could release these screws with a truncated drill so i didn’t want this attachment to be permanent when that was done i wrestled the whole thing down to the floor and attached the legs because of their l-shape this was really easy i just slid them against the box corners and screwed them from the inside with 1 and 5 8 screws six screws per corner made them very strong now i cut little mounting blocks for my casters they’re just three quarter inch ply rectangles i glued and shot them on the bottom of my two by fours then i mounted the casters using one and a quarter lags and washers the mounting block ensured that these had strong cross grain to tap into rather than just end grain i flipped the whole thing back up and just as i’d hoped the half inch shelf dropped right into place on the cleats i dribbled glue down onto these ledges then shot laterally through the skirt face to draw things together it only took a few brads per window and with that i was all done a whole workshop table in about six hours so that’s it that’s how i built the rolling work table with the flat door work surface and the slot shelf for tools this thing rolls like a dream but it’s got lockable casters so i can easily make it stationary and i can also make custom chalk blocks for it if i really want it to stay put in the future what did you think about this build are these tips helpful do you have any questions about my design or are there things that you would do differently let me hear about it down in the comments i’m going to link some of the tools from this video down below feel free to shop those links and when you do remember that we receive a tiny commission from whatever you purchase at no extra charge to you as always thanks for watching be sure to check back in for more videos coming up soon i’ve still got a lot of stuff left to build in the shop so there’s going to be more shop build projects coming up also please consider subscribing and hitting that little bell button to turn on notifications that way you’ll know the moment we post something i’m ethan james with the honestcarpenter.com i’ll see you next time you …

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