Work Tables

Almost as strong as a traditional workbench, this commercial work table is a versatile workhorse, especially when paired with a woodworker's vise. The cabinet and drawers provide storage space, and can be locked to secure valuable tools.

For many light woodworking chores, from marking out joints to assembling pieces of furniture, a simple work table fits the bill as well as a traditional woodworker's bench. This section features several table designs. All are quick, easy, and inexpensive to build. The table shown opposite is sufficiently large and sturdy for most jobs; if space is at a premium, a good compromise would be one of the fold-up versions shown on pages 115 and 116. You can also conserve space by incorporating storage shelves, drawers, or cabinets in your design. For assembling carcases and other pieces of furniture, you may find the low-to-the-ground table on page 114 handier than a standard-height work surface.

Whichever design you choose, be careful of the nails or screws you use to construct a table—particularly when fastening the tabletop to the frame. Take the time to countersink or counterbore screw heads and set nail heads below the surface to prevent the fasteners from marring your work.

Despite its lightweight, compact design, the Black & Decker Workmate™ can support loads up to 550 pounds. It also folds virtually flat for easy storage. A special pivot design allows the vise jaws to be angled, for securing workpieces like the tapered leg shown in the photo. This particular Workmate™ features a storage tray and a top that flips up for vertical clamping. The Workmate™ has a long, colorful history. By 1968, the prototype, featuring a patented folding H-frame, had been rejected by every major tool manufacturer in Britain. Four years later, the inventor of the Workmate™, Ron Hickman, persuaded Black & Decker in England to mass produce his invention. International distribution rights were negotiated the following year. Popular success for the Workmate™ was almost immediate: Worldwide sales of the table are close to 20 million units—and counting.


The all-purpose table shown below Is built with a combination of lumber and plywood. Refer to the dimensions in the illustration for a work surface that is 5 feet long, 3 feet wide, and 3 feet high.

Saw the legs to length from 4-by-4 stock, then prepare them for the rails: Cut a two-shouldered tenon at the top end of each leg with shoulders % Inch wide (inset). Next, cut the rails, stretchers, and braces to length from 2-by-4s. Saw miters at both ends of the braces so that one end sits flush against the inside edge of the legs and the other end butts against the bottom of the rails. Prepare the front, back, and side rails for assembly by beveling their ends and cutting rabbets to accommodate the leg tenons (inset). Screw the stretchers to the rails, spread glue on the contacting surfaces of the legs and rails, fit the pieces together, and screw the rails to the legs. Next, attach the braces to the legs and rails with screws.

Cut the tabletop from 3/4-inch plywood and screw it to the rails. Finally, cut a piece of Vi-inch hard-board to the same dimensions as the top and nail it to the plywood as a replaceable protective cover. Be sure to set the nail heads below the surface.

Zip System Panel

Front and back rails x ^ * 1 Vz" x 3 V2" x 29"

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