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Thread: Glue-up/Clamp/Assembly Table Thoughts

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Springfield, IL
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    385

    Glue-up/Clamp/Assembly Table Thoughts

    I've been eyeing the Kreg Klamp table for a while, but it's small size (21 3/4 X 33 3/4) relative to it's price ($400) have kept me from pulling the trigger. I've been thinking about making my own, and would appreciate some thoughts from you folks with more experience than myself.

    In a nutshell, I'm thinking of stacking two sheets of 5' square 3/4 BB on top of each other. On top of that I would center a 4' square 1/8" thick sheet of iron. In the 6" space surrounding the iron, I'd sink in the same Kreg track they use in their Klamp table (or something similar in function). Trim off the excess BB outside of the track, build a base/legs, purchase Kreg clamps, stops, etc. I was thinking of incorporating the iron because I can get it cheap, and when lightly sanded and waxed, it's super slick and impervious to the glue mess I make every time.

    Does this sound like a useful table for Glue-ups, assembly, clamping, cabinet making, etc? Anything else I should consider? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Dave,

    At Cerritos College, their glue-up tables are melamine topped. The glue doesn't stick to melamine at all. The table is also low, maybe 2 feet off the ground so tables aren't too tall when assembling.

    In your case, I'd probably go with MDF, topped with Melamine and insert T-Track at various points.

    I unfortunately don't have space to have a separate glue up area. My table saw doubles with wax paper.
    May all your turnings be smooth,

    Brodie Brickey

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    New York
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    59
    Dave

    I would (and in fact I am going to) make my own rather than by a kreg table.

    I would consider a torsion box structure instead of laminated plywood for better flatness and stiffness.

    I don't know much about using iron for this, but I'm sure it would be fine if that's the way you want to go.

    My table will be a torsion box structure with probably 3/4 MDF on top of that followed by formica. It will have the tracks, clamps and stops etc. all purchased separately. It will also have holes to accomodate Festool clamping elements for holding pieces sideways.

    There have been a lot of assembly tables documented here with many good ideas. I would try a search for it.

    One other common piece of advice I've heard around is to make it adjustable height, so you'll be comfortable using it for a variety of projects. Good luck.

  4. #4
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    Jan 2007
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    Springfield, IL
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    Great idea on the adjustable height. I had planned to make it short, but adjustable sounds lke the best option. I also like the idea of a few strategicaly placed hole for additional clamps. The Festool MFT also catches my eye, but wouldn't be very useful at repelling glue.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Frederick, MD
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    317
    Been thinking along similar lines. First thought - why not just attach tracks at the perimeter of a router table? Bad idea - you don't want to hit a dried glue booger when you are routing. Scratch that!

    Second idea - a top that can sit on top of router table. Better! Taking that a step further - the top that could sit/clamp to any convenient work surface (even on top of a workmate...)

    3/4 melamine glued over 3/4 BB (or MDF?) should do it (assemble on top of TS to ensure it stays FLAT). No need to buy KREG track - buy T-Track (that can take 5/16 hardware - like Rockler) and dado it into the edge of the top. Epoxy and Screw down every 4" O/C (it's going to take LOTS of stress) - replace the screw on the bottom of Kreg table clamps with a 5/16 T-bolt and you're all set.

    The top could also be drilled for 3/4" or 20mm bench dogs, etc (like a Festool MFT) to allow flexibility in other types of assembly.

    I'm thinking the whole thing should cost well less than 50 bucks if you can get the t-track on sale.

  6. #6

    Thumbs up Torsion box :-)

    I needed a general-purpose worktable so I looked around and built Norm's (NYW) torsion box work/assembly table, but made it a little larger than Norm's. For the top I used a full sheet of 3/4" MDF that can be replaced when it gets too beat-up. The top is heavy and wonderfully flat and has been okay for assembly and glue-up. Since I built the table to match the height of my table saw to use as a giant outfeed table, it is too high for comfortable assembly jobs (unless you are about 6' 7" tall), but I have made it work.

    The table design works so well for me, I want to replicate/morph it into about a 48"x48" footprint and have it about 24" high.

    -=John=-

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Seabrook TX
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    475
    I've been thinking about the same thing for awhile and am leaning toward a couple of design features.

    24" high which puts the top of a 36" high case about eye level for me. 32" wide because 90% of my face frames are 32" high or smaller. I like to put the face frame face down and pocket hole the case to the faceframe. 48-60" long. 48" minimum for sure in order to throw the EZ Smart cutting table on top. 60" maybe just to have a bit longer length for rough cutting 8ft sheets and 12ft boards.

    Granite top with 1.5" thick wood edges. Dead flat, glue shouldn't stick. Maybe put T-Track in the wood edge. I'd like to inset a metal Kreg clamping plate for face frame glueups, but that may be too much trouble.

    Casters to roll it around from assembly to finish. I'd like to never pick up a cabinet assembly again. Just move it from spot to spot.

    Construction lumber or marine plywood so that it can be stored outside the shop and resist a light rain on occasion. I have very limited shop space, but a nice covered pad out the back door.

    Very interested in the ideas that others come up with.

  8. #8
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    Springfield, IL
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    wow, getting some good ideas here. I still like my iron idea though.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Near Charlotte, NC
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    1,056
    Here's Marc Spagnuolo's assembly table:

    http://www.taunton.com/finewoodworki....aspx?id=28855

    I built a smaller version for my guided circular saw bench and put it on casters.

  10. Torsion Box

    I built a torsion box table 4'x8'...top and bottom are 3/4 MDF, grid is 1/2" MDF at somewhere around 6" spacing (I forget now) and is 5" deep. Anyway, as far as using melamine...my previous assembly table had a melamine top and I wasn't happy with it. I like the MDF top because I tend attach jigs directly to it for bent lamination work with minimal damage to the top overall. Plus I always had problems with residual glue on the melamine and after a while it looked awful. For the MDF table I simply used tung oil (the real stuff, not some can that says it is tung oil, there is a difference) and any glue flicks right off with a plastic scraper and minimal effort. I use primarily use white glues and plastic resin glues and the top has been fine. When I use epoxy I put down red rosin paper to protect the top. I reapply tung oil once every couple years. Mine is built on top of an electric/hydraulic parallelogram lift which allows me to lower/raise it from about 7" to 39". The whole units rolls on steel casters. I would be leary of granite simply because I often find myself doing final fitting on the table, so I'm using chisels, planes, etc and want to protect the tool edges therefore wood (or the crazy resin/paper/fiber of MDF) works good for that. Plus that little bit of roughness from MDF gives you just enough friction sometimes to allow you to hold something with hand pressure or pound in a finish nail or run in a screw to fix a jig to the table. I'm not fond of punching dog holes in the table for clamping. First if you work on smaller projects with fine/thin legs the last thing I want is to have it fall in a dog hole and clumsy me bump the thing and bust off a piece...or lose my marking knife or stubby pencil or screws down or allen wrenches down inside the box itself...or loose a tiny bun foot or $35 little brass knob down to hole never to be retrieved again.,,.on an open bottom table holes may be just fine. Also in my opinion dogs are not really for glue-up clamping unless you have an entire grid of them and then have large enough vises to make it all work. To me bench dogs are for holding pieces while shaping or machining (plus it has gotten to the point that nice bench dogs can cost you more per unit in some instances than simple clamps). Most importantly overall is lighting...you need to have excellent lighting above or around the table to elminate shadows and give you the best chance to do both accurate and precise work when fitting pieces.
    Last edited by Rich Schneider; 01-26-2008 at 9:21 AM.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Novak View Post
    I've been eyeing the Kreg Klamp table for a while, but it's small size (21 3/4 X 33 3/4) relative to it's price ($400) have kept me from pulling the trigger.
    I had the same delemma. I ended up building a 36"x42" clamp bench using 2 Kreg tracks ($44 each) recessed into the plywood and 4 Kreg bench clamps. I also inlayed several bench clamp plates ($10 each) at the bottom and side of the table opposit the track "L".

    I used plywood I had on hand and mounted the table on an old steel saw stand that was kicking around the shop. I even drilled a few bench dog holes in the top. Total cost was about $125 and I have yet to run into a clamping situation that the track and plate configuration couldn't handle.

    It's sturdy and hard to manuver so I put heavy duty locking wheels on the legs to make it mobile; I made the table 3/4" lower than my table saw and built two covers for the table out of 3/4" MDF - One to turn the table into an outfeed table for the table saw and the other to booger up when using the Festool TS-55 or other tools that would mar the surface.

    This thing is so verstile and handy, I bought one more clamp track to use at the drill press.
    Last edited by Mick Zelaska; 01-26-2008 at 10:13 AM.
    A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; but a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist." - Louis Nizer

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    1.5 hrs north of San Francisco, CA
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    A platform on which to stand helps the height, and slides conveniently under the table when not needed (limited to one edge in practice).

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