Sunday, July 5, 2015

Small Assembly Table, part 1

If there was anything I didn't like about my setup for woodworking right now aside from the obvious fact that my garage isn't quite clean and organized enough for me to have my tools in permanent spots, it's the fact that my table saw and outfeed table are my primary assembly areas. This isn't much of a problem when it comes to small parts. On bigger projects, though, I've had moments when the pieces were really close to the ceiling and smashing my fluorescent lights is not my idea of a good time.

I decided to build a small assembly table for things like making drawers and various other small parts. It can also double as a good finishing table. I have some space outside my garage that's covered with a tarp canopy, and I like working there since sometimes the sawdust in the garage gets a little out of hand, even with my dust separator and vacuum.

In an effort to try and keep the price of this thing down, I'm making this table out of 2x4s and a sheet of BC plywood and masonite. I had flirted with the idea of making a torsion box for the top, but I think I'll do that if I want to make a bigger assembly table later. It would cost me a lot more to do that since I'd probably burn a sheet of 3/4 plywood and a couple sheets of 1/4 plywood to do that, and the top would probably cost more than this table I'm making now.

To make the top, I doubled up the plywood and glued and screwed it together. To help keep this thing in decent shape outside, I'm finishing it with some spar urethane and I already finished the bottom side of the top. I'll finish the rest of it when the table is assembled.

Since I wanted to maintain some sense of "refinement" when it comes to this table, I decided that I was going to build it with mortise and tenon joinery for the frame. I made some 2x2 posts for the legs and then I made some other pieces that are 1x3 by cutting and planing some of the 2x4s. It's amazing how much easier things go together when you have stock that is more properly prepared, relatively flat, and square. Many 2x4s don't come that way stock.

These used to be 2x4s.
I cut the mortises in the legs (but didn't take a photo). I was going to use the drill press and drill out the mortises, but then I found that I do have a 1/2" spiral bit for my router. I then decided that I was going to cut the mortises on my router table. I learned really quick that may not have been the best idea. My spiral bit is made of high speed steel, not carbide (I wasn't into spending $90 for a spiral bit), so the cuts weren't the greatest. I'm definitely going to have to pick up some other bits for cutting mortises.

I was going to cut tenons today and build the frame, but someone was good enough to give me a cold, so I think I'm going to be laid up for a couple of days recovering and breathing pine sawdust probably isn't going to help me get better. I also have to get my truck fixed since I found that one of my brake lines is leaking and  having a truck that doesn't really stop isn't exactly my idea of safety. Luckily brake lines are cheap, so hopefully it won't cost me too much to get that fixed unless there's a bigger problem. I'm thinking it may be time to start looking into a new truck. I've had my truck for 12 years already and the truck is 21 years old total, so I have a feeling I may be due for a new one.

I'll hopefully get this thing done this week and then I'll have a better assembly table to work with. It's really frustrating to have to deal with this cold. I rarely get sick, but it seems that when I do, it's always serious. I need a couple days to get over it. I hate it.