Workbench Upgrade

My folding table has been very useful, indispensable in fact, but it was always inadequate. After all, how can a simple lightweight table usually used for parties, school desks, and suchlike, be good for working with wood? Well, not great I can assure you. Anyway, I decided to attempt an upgrade. The specifics of this upgrade are captioned below, but in short the table has both increased in its usefulness, and in its instability. The upgrade has made the table heavier, which is good, but the lightweight hollow steal legs remain unchanged, so while it is great for clamping wood to for planing and other tasks, it still wobbles and moves a lot.

A negative that arose is that in the absence of crossbars underneath the top the entire top has buckled a little as the glue was drying, I should’ve added bars temporarily until the glue dried to prevent this from happening. As a result I do not have a perfectly flat surface to work with.

It is definitely better to use, but also more tricky. It is both a success, and a failure!

1. The first step was to remove the existing laminated chipboard top and invert it so that the laminated top is no underneath, and the bare chipboard on top. I then cut a piece of composite wood sheet and laid it down ready to attach.


2. I lightly diluted some latex glue with a little bit of water so that it would be easy to spread all over the wood.


3. Since I don’t have a proper depth stop for my drill I simply mounted the drill bit at the correct depth in this manner. The table was laid flat on the wood and screwed down thoroughly.


4. Using the big old Stanley Jack Plane that Dad gave me last time I was in Australia (he’s had it since he was a builders apprentice) I cleaned up the edges all around the table flush with the black plastic trim around the original top.


5. Closeup of the top at this stage of the build.


6. I added a faceplate to provide a vertical surface with which to clamp wood for planing and other tasks. I do not have a vice, and even if I did it probably wouldn’t be practical on this table, but the clamping method works fine, though a little clumsy to set up! You can also see below a large piece of hardwood which locks down onto the crossbars of the legs to keep them open, there have been occasions before the upgrade when I’ve been planing that one leg will simply fold up and the table fall, not good!


7. Closeup of the faceplate on the table, and a panel on top ready for another project. The table works better than it did before, but it is still not ideal.


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