2x4 workshop table top

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Forum topic by Jose posted 03-20-2017 08:10 PM 891 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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105 posts in 2892 days

03-20-2017 08:10 PM

Don’t know if this post belongs here but I have a few questions. Why is it that everyone that have built a table top out of 2×4s glues up the pieces vertically instead of horizontally? Is gluing the pieces horizontally weaker? If I wanted to build a table top for my shop which would not be used to get pounded, I would glue the pieces horizontally. What is your opinion?

-- Jose

6 replies so far

View bbasiaga's profile


1259 posts in 3234 days

#1 posted 03-20-2017 08:27 PM

You could do them horizontally, just like a picnic table would be done. It just will want to move, cup or warp more. If you aren’t relying on it to stay flat for assembly purposes or hand planing, it will be just fine. More anchor points to the legs, aprons and cross members would help too.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View bondogaposis's profile


6046 posts in 3590 days

#2 posted 03-20-2017 08:32 PM

The reason you see so many thicker workbenches is because many people like to have bench dogs and holdfasts and those items work better in a thicker bench. For a work table or assembly table the thickness is not necessary.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

3882 posts in 4676 days

#3 posted 03-20-2017 08:55 PM

I made a large work/assembly table. You don’t need to glue together any 2×4’s edgewise or not. I made a 2×4 frame and put in cross pieces every 12”. Then I applied a 3/4” piece of plywood and tacked on a 1/4” hardboard top that can be sanded down or replaced over time. Plenty good for assembly and most other stuff too. A bit lighter too as the cabinet is on casters to roll around. I’ve given up on building shop furniture like the stuff I make for the house. Durable, functional, and just what is needed for the job. And keeps the cost down. My shop ain’t pretty any more but the stuff I make for myself and others is.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View Mikenln's profile


13 posts in 2011 days

#4 posted 03-20-2017 09:57 PM

My work bench has 2×4s horizontal with gaps, picnic table style, over 2×4s vertical over 2×4s horizontal. This has a torsion box effect. The vertical 2×4s are about 12 inches apart. The bottom 2×4s are a few inches apart. The top and bottom 2×4s go lengthwise and the middle 2×4s go crosswise. I selected the 2×4s for the top, middle and bottom based on which way they curved.
The gaps in the top accommodate the crook as well as avoid any cross grain gluing problem.
Gaps and holes don’t cause problems. Bumps and dips cause problems.
If I ever build a replacement it will have a bigger gap in the middle to give me more clamping options.

View Woodknack's profile


13584 posts in 3619 days

#5 posted 03-21-2017 05:30 AM

Just to add to what has been said, you can glue on the sides. My first bench was 2×8s edge glued and flattened with a hand plane. Almost 20 years later I still have it and it’s still flat.

-- Rick M,

View Jose's profile


105 posts in 2892 days

#6 posted 03-24-2017 12:42 PM

Thank you all for the replies. I think I’m just going to make the top out of plywood then. Too much hassle with the 2×4s. I don’t really use hand planes much so I won’t need a heavy bench top.

-- Jose

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