outfeed/workbench/assembly table

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Forum topic by Wstein posted 10-15-2018 01:28 PM 854 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Wstein's profile


70 posts in 2369 days

10-15-2018 01:28 PM

I am looking to build myself a new outfeed/workbench/assembly table. i am thinking a 3×5 or 6 top. Now I am trying to determine if I want to go the solid wood top, like a handtool bench about 2.5” to 3” thick, or to laminate some plywood/mdf together, or try my hand a torsion box/paulk top. One of the things is I want to mount a vise on it. I want the base to include storage or misc hand tools that I will always need at the bench and my air compressor.

My question for your thoughts and suggestions is the top. Which method is more then likely going to serve me best.

I am kinda leaning towards the solid wood top, just for the mass whenever I start to do more work with handtools. But the plywood/mdf option is quicker and cheaper and easier to get flat. The torsion/paulk top is interesting as they can give you a dead flap top and with the paulk you have tool storage, but I don’t think they would hold up well to a tail vice. And i am not sure about how it would hold up to hand tool work.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and options

-- I would offer moral support, but I have questionable morals - Me, 2005

4 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile


5613 posts in 2963 days

#1 posted 10-15-2018 01:37 PM

I built mine with a particle board top and covered it with plastic laminate. I didn’t include a vise like you intend to do. I think if you want dog holes to compliment your vise then solid wood is the way to go.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Lazyman's profile


4551 posts in 1999 days

#2 posted 10-15-2018 02:18 PM

I made my assembly/outfeed table using a top salvaged from an old Office Depot desktop we got cheap from a garage sale—probably the cheapest way to get a laminated top unless you need a bigger one. It is about 1 1/8” thick and perfectly flat. As an assembly table, the laminate top is nice because glue won’t permanently stick so you don’t risk gluing your work piece to the bench. Any glue drips and even finishes easily scrape off with a putty knife. Even epoxy scrapes off. I left the ends overhanging longer over the base (added some shelf supports for extra strength) so I could add a woodworking vise to one end and added some dog holes and that works well too. I did add some plywood to the underside of the end with the vice to make it stiffer and thicker to match the height of the vice.

BTW, I designed my base after ones that I saw in videos by the Wood Whisperer and Norm Abrams. They actually built a torsion box top for theirs in the videos.

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

View BattleRidge's profile


128 posts in 827 days

#3 posted 10-15-2018 05:11 PM

I spent a lot of time (hours upon hours) roaming about online searching and researching, and determining my personal wants and needs before making my combination workbench / outfeed / assembly table, and thus far I am quite satisfied with the results.

The overall worktop is 4’ x 8’ with a 30” x 30” drop down area in one corner. I used two sheets of 3/4” plywood (screwed, not glued) together which formed a flat and sturdy top. For the work surface, I installed a sheet of hardboard that is held in place with a modified piece of oak trim around the edges and double sided tape between the plywood and the hardboard. The hardboard can be easily replaced when it becomes damaged or worn. The overall height is just below my present table saw and a future upgraded table saw.

The base is primarily of 2×6 construction and provides a strong frame with plenty of mass – the workplace does not move around in use and it is without any flex anywhere. The base is also inset from the top to allow the use of clamps around the edges when needed.

The drop-down area offers a convenient height for my sander, portable router table and scroll saw, and the machines not being used are stored beneath. One side of the workplace has shelving for a multitude of portable power tools and other items. The other side will have drawers installed (once constructed) to hold a variety of smaller tools and woodworking supplies as well as sandpaper and other items.

I am presently using an extension cord for power but this will be replaced by outlets and supplied through a section of 1/2” conduit running along the floor and recessed into my anti-fatigue mat to remove a tripping hazard. Dust collection for the drop down area is via a shop vac / Dust Deputy combination that I also use for workspace clean-up. I am in the process of installing a whole-shop dust collection system which will be connected to the table saw via a 4” flexible hose along the floor and moved out of the way when not in use. I may also use this hose and plumb the DC to the drop down area at some point. Future plans are to include a vise or two for additional capabilities.

-- ~Art~

View bilyo's profile


963 posts in 1714 days

#4 posted 10-19-2018 04:29 PM

I made my outfeed/assembly table out of a salvaged solid core door. You can find them in a variety of widths. They are very heavy and pretty darn flat. So, they are quite good for assembly. I clamp my flat panel glueups down to mine to keep them flat during drying. I glued plastic laminate to the surface and it has held up well for several years.

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