can a hollow core door make a legit torsion box table?

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Forum topic by CoreyLiepelt posted 10-21-2008 06:10 AM 9105 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View CoreyLiepelt's profile


20 posts in 4817 days

10-21-2008 06:10 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I’ve recently had to replace an interior door in my house. Although the door is no good in its intended purpose, it’s still mostly intact. I’ve seen Marc’s video about a torsion box assembly table, and it hit me that I’ve effectively got a torsion box already with my hollow core door. So I’m wondering, what do you folks think of skinning this door (it’s a six-panel hollow core door, so it’s not a flat surface yet) to make a cheap assembly table? Am I just dreaming about all the effort I can get avoid by building a torsion box from scratch, or does this idea actually carry some merit?

-- Dublin, OH

11 replies so far

View tooldad's profile


665 posts in 4691 days

#1 posted 10-21-2008 06:22 AM

The covering on a HC door is usually 1/8 or 3/16 thick. Just be careful not to place an object with some weight compared to its small footprint. Also how flat is the door currently. I have also seen cardboard used in HC doors as filler. Not saying it won’t work, but be careful.

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 4861 days

#2 posted 10-21-2008 06:37 AM

I use one for larger assembly but as tooldad says do not put heavy items with a small foot print on it. If you puy it on saw horses I’d put as many under it that would fit there.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View Tim Pursell's profile

Tim Pursell

500 posts in 4758 days

#3 posted 10-21-2008 12:27 PM

I have a hollow core door as my workbench top. Before I set it up as a work top I glued 1/2 mdf to both sides then added a loose 1/4” tempered hardboard wear surface surrounded by a hard woodedge. They USUALLY are not very flat. If you can set it up flat before you glue the top & bottom on you’ll have a solid, flat surfase to work on. I used this method over 20 years ago & the benches are still in use.


View CoreyLiepelt's profile


20 posts in 4817 days

#4 posted 10-21-2008 04:05 PM

I suppose I should have been clearer when I said I was thinking of skinning the door. Gluing 1/2” MDF to both sides is what I was talking about, hoping I could (1) give it extra strength, and (2) possibly straighten the door if necessary. However, Barry’s comment about using cardboard inside as the core does give me pause …

Thanks all for your inputs.

-- Dublin, OH

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1141 posts in 4967 days

#5 posted 10-21-2008 05:42 PM

Nothing wrong with cardboard as a filler, it’s surprisingly strong.

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View Derek Lyons's profile

Derek Lyons

584 posts in 4544 days

#6 posted 10-21-2008 06:52 PM

Cardboard indeed can be a strong filler – but it can also break down surprisingly fast with use and age. Much depends on the quality of the cardboard.

-- Derek, Bremerton WA --

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 5275 days

#7 posted 10-21-2008 08:59 PM

If you do use it, set it up to check if there’s any twist, or warp in it.

You can do this with a couple of sighting boards. (winding sticks)

Once its straight, then glue on your MDF.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 4850 days

#8 posted 10-21-2008 09:06 PM

I would say probably not… and I don’t think the MDF would help much because it only adds weight and not sheer strength. I suggest starting from scratch.

However, my “utility” work bench is made from two solid core doors glued and bolted together and “edgebanded” with 2×4s. It was cheap, fast and extremely strong and heavy. It may sag a little, I don’t rely on it for flatness. But in two years I haven’t noticed any sag. I even have a vice mounted on it.

I got the doors from a salvaged building supply warehouse for next to nothing.

-- Happy woodworking!

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 5275 days

#9 posted 10-21-2008 09:27 PM

Blake’s bench is a much better way to go.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 4561 days

#10 posted 10-21-2008 10:17 PM

whatever you decide if you make a new door dont forget like my friend did to reinfoce the handle lock section for motrticing as this is a good laugh when you try to mortice for a lock into asbestos type cardboard it doen’t work at all so with a new door construction make the frame steady and I would never emphasize never use this for an external door sorry but you did ask keep going bonny lad God Bless Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Bureaucrat's profile


18340 posts in 4628 days

#11 posted 10-22-2008 01:21 AM

Check your area for a Habitat for Humanity Restore shop. My area store had over 40 maple ply skinned solid core doors for $20 a piece. I wish I had gotten more during their 2fer sale.

-- Gary D.

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