Worktable Suggestions


I like to use white Melamine-faced particleboard for my worktables. The tabletops are smooth and hard, and are easy to clean or drill holes in. It’s sold at the big-box home-supply stores. They’ll cut it for you if you don’t want to wrestle with it yourself. But if you do, the Forrest Duraline HI-A/T table saw blade cuts it nicely.

The edges can be sharp, so be sure to deburr them. Sandpaper or a file does the job. For the one in the photos, I used a round-over bit in a router.

It’s economical to make two tables that are about two feet wide using a sheet of the material, but I’ve found that a 30-inch-wide table is much more useful. The one in these photos is only 24 inches, unfortunately. Keep the tabletop a bit larger than the table frame, so you can clamp things to it.

I don’t make a permanent attachment to the table frame. Instead, I screw a couple of 2×4-inch battens to the bottom. These are sized so it’s a snug fit into the table frame, yet they permit easy removal when desired. Simply relocate the battens to a new top, and in minutes you’ve got a fresh table surface.

One of the handier shop tools is a robot vacuum cleaner. Mine is a Roomba. I had an old one and made my tables high enough to clear it and then bought a new one. Surprise—the new one is bigger and doesn’t fit.

Don’t let that happen to you; measure the robot you’re actually going to use. If you haven’t bought one yet, make the bottom six inches from the floor and that ought to do.

Finally, if you’ve got a lot of drilling, and you don’t want to drill all those holes into the table, use a piece of scrap. I’ve got a piece 2×4 feet and it’s heavy enough to be reasonably stable on the table. I use it as a drill surface.


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