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Forum topic by HammerSmith posted 09-04-2018 02:27 AM 1453 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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HammerSmith

292 posts in 506 days


09-04-2018 02:27 AM

Many years ago, I found a basic table frame (no top), under a house I was working on.

It was so strong, and so light, that it influenced the way I make my worktables. It was one of the most efficient things I ever saw.

Basically, it was a 1X6 apron, mitered all the way around, and it had tapered legs that went from about 3” at the top to 2” at the bottom. The legs were cut from a piece of 2X6, and it’s actually more efficient than using 2X4 for the legs. It’s less wood, but it has the beef where it’s needed without sacrificing any strength.

All of the wood was “old growth”, with super tight rings.. It was dry and super-light.

The legs were attached to the apron with just 6d galvanized framing nails, and I guess it was glued too.

I used that table for a long time, but eventually it wore out. Honestly, I forget what ever became of it.

Over the years since then, I always based my portable worktables off of that design. But I used screws instead of nails so that it would easy to take apart and transport to a job… The long apron gets unscrewed, and the ends stay intact…

Over the years, I found that the connection between the legs and the apron is always where it gets loose.

So I found a new and simple way of doing it. These big-ass framing screws are the key…

I didn’t do the long aprons yet, because I need longer screws… but this table is gonna be super-skookum when I’m done! And it’ll be easy to knock down and transport too.. The final version will have 2X6 for the long apron.

I’ll post a vid when I finalize it, but I’m stoked about this design. I’m sure this table could easily support a small car!

The wood came from a place that sells re-used construction materials. It’s called “Re-Use Hawaii”, and I’m like a kid in the candy store every time I go there… Sometimes that old lumber is far better than anything at the regular stores. But you have to pre-drill everything to get the most out of it….

-- ~Jim


14 replies so far

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HammerSmith

292 posts in 506 days


#1 posted 09-04-2018 02:37 AM

fwiw… the key to the design is how the screws take all of the shear force in a “tensile strength” kind of way… It’s an important detail…

On an overlap joint, the screws don’t have nearly as much shear strength.

-- ~Jim

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Lazyman

3570 posts in 1810 days


#2 posted 09-04-2018 01:26 PM

I personally like the approach I found from a Norm Abrams show that I used for this small assembly/outfeed table that uses plywood for everything, though I used an old desktop for the top. Norm’s design had a torsion box top. His was also 4×8 but he said it was plenty strong. Even though the legs are made from PW screwed and glued into an L-shape, its almost like having a 4×4 leg.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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Woodknack

12845 posts in 2802 days


#3 posted 09-04-2018 05:04 PM

Nathan, I’ve used that style leg on a number of things, most recently outdoor tables, before that a vanity. I like to offset the pieces about 1/8” and creat a nice shadow line. They can also be tapered.

Jim, looks like a solid and sturdy table.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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oldnovice

7488 posts in 3790 days


#4 posted 09-04-2018 05:48 PM

It looks like a table built on the KISS principle, no frills, just table!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

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HammerSmith

292 posts in 506 days


#5 posted 09-05-2018 03:52 AM


It looks like a table built on the KISS principle, no frills, just table!

- oldnovice

*in my best Richard Dawson voice… “Survey says???” ding ding ding “Number one answer!”
(I hope you guys remember Richard Dawson, otherwise that might sound weird)

But yeah, that was my main goal oldnovice :) ... the simpler the better!

Here’s the fundamental part. The Base. It’s only eight pieces, and I only have to pull eight screws to break it down and transport it.

——————

I numbered the corners to make it easy to re-assemble.

——————

But I should’ve bought longer screws for that joint. These are “just barely” long enough imo.

——————

Those black screws were $19 for 12 pcs… Plus, I bought the extra long drill bit to pilot the holes…

The gold color screws had more in the box, but they were leftovers, so I don’t remember the price.

In the future, I’ll plan it so I only need one box of screws, all the same size.

There are so many options for the top. Usually a piece of plywood is all I need… But, one of these days, I might make a solid top for it.

-- ~Jim

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HammerSmith

292 posts in 506 days


#6 posted 09-05-2018 04:04 AM



I personally like the approach I found from a Norm Abrams show that I used for this small assembly/outfeed table that uses plywood for everything, though I used an old desktop for the top. Norm s design had a torsion box top. His was also 4×8 but he said it was plenty strong. Even though the legs are made from PW screwed and glued into an L-shape, its almost like having a 4×4 leg.

- Lazyman

That’s a neat table Nathan, and I like the wheels with the string to release em too… But I try not to use plywood anymore for stuff like this because it lives outside.

-- ~Jim

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Underdog

1357 posts in 2458 days


#7 posted 10-03-2018 02:32 PM

I’m cornfused…
In your first two pix you show a square piece attached to the ends of the plywood top. I guess you’re calling that the apron? And you’re eventually going to run that along the long edge of the top.

Also I see the legs, and the cross brace between them that are also in the 3rd and 4th pix.

But in the first pix, I also see what looks like a 1x screwed to the side of the legs and the long frame brace between legs. Is that not an “apron” also?

-- Jim, Georgia, USA

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Underdog

1357 posts in 2458 days


#8 posted 10-03-2018 02:35 PM

Oh… I get it now. The first set of pix are the old way, and the second set of pix are the “new way” you’re talking about. Gotcha.

Little slow on the uptake over here…

-- Jim, Georgia, USA

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lumbering_on

578 posts in 912 days


#9 posted 10-03-2018 03:41 PM

If I ever need a bench that could hold an elephant, I know where to find one.

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HammerSmith

292 posts in 506 days


#10 posted 10-04-2018 03:49 AM



If I ever need a bench that could hold an elephant, I know where to find one.

- lumbering_on

haha! Thanks man! ...but I don’t know about an Elephant… maybe if he sits down gently, and doesn’t move…

Years ago, one of the “old style” tables was used to hold a VW Bug though. It was a “body off restoration”, so there was no engine or wheels and such. ...That table had a 4” plywood apron all the way around the top. It was getting old, so I added more screws at the overlaps, and added a 10” wide plywood spreader at each end. It worked fine!

-- ~Jim

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HammerSmith

292 posts in 506 days


#11 posted 10-04-2018 04:03 AM


I m cornfused…
In your first two pix you show a square piece attached to the ends of the plywood top. I guess you re calling that the apron? And you re eventually going to run that along the long edge of the top.

Also I see the legs, and the cross brace between them that are also in the 3rd and 4th pix.

But in the first pix, I also see what looks like a 1x screwed to the side of the legs and the long frame brace between legs. Is that not an “apron” also?

- Underdog

~ “a square piece attached to the ends of the plywood top. I guess you re calling that the apron? And you re eventually going to run that along the long edge of the top.”~

heheheheh, yeah man, for now, that’s still the “apron”. And yeah, I know it’s rinky-dink! ;) ...I look at that part often, and it will definitely get replaced soon. At the time, it was all I had on hand..

In fact, that whole plywood top is gonna go. It’s a crappy piece of plywood in the first place, and it’s already getting to be shaped like a potato chip.

-- ~Jim

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HammerSmith

292 posts in 506 days


#12 posted 10-04-2018 05:47 AM

One other thing I like about these legs, is wow they’re such perfectly quarter sawn pieces.

I don’t know how long ago this tree was cut down, but the stick was a 2X8 that had a rough surface, and it was a full 1-3/4” thick. Modern 2X8’s don’t look like that.

We have a place out here called “Re-Use Hawaii”, and they even do demolition services (as well as taking donations).

They try to take everything apart in such a way that they don’t damage the wood too much. But, of course, the wood still gets some splits etc..

I’m like “a kid in the candy store” every time I go there! Sometimes, that old “junk” lumber is better wood than I would be able to find at top dollar around here.. Just gotta be able to see past the old paint and misc damage, but the lumber inside is premium sometimes!

The first thing I do, is look at the end grain… and then I inspect the stick for damage.

I love that place. It’s sad to think that all their lumber would’ve been in the dump by now, if not for them.

-- ~Jim

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HammerSmith

292 posts in 506 days


#13 posted 10-04-2018 05:48 AM


One other thing I like about these legs, is how they re such perfectly quarter sawn pieces.

I don t know how long ago this tree was cut down, but the stick was a 2X8 that had a rough surface, and it was a full 1-3/4” thick. Modern 2X8 s don t look like that.

We have a place out here called “Re-Use Hawaii”, and they even do demolition services (as well as taking donations).

They try to take everything apart in such a way that they don t damage the wood too much. But, of course, the wood still gets some splits etc..

I m like “a kid in the candy store” every time I go there! Sometimes, that old “junk” lumber is better wood than I would be able to find at top dollar around here.. Just gotta be able to see past the old paint and misc damage, but the lumber inside is premium sometimes!

The first thing I do, is look at the end grain… and then I inspect the stick for damage.

I love that place. It s sad to think that all their lumber would ve been in the dump by now, if not for them.

- HammerSmith


-- ~Jim

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HammerSmith

292 posts in 506 days


#14 posted 10-04-2018 05:56 AM

sorry about the double post…. Admin, can you delete that duplicate for me? I couldn’t find the delete option on my own page…

-- ~Jim

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