19 – Assembly Table Base

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This video covers the construction of our assembly table base. This unit has tons of storage thanks to the dual-sided design. Details covered include: cutting the sheetgoods, milling the rabbet and dado joinery, installing European cup hinges, and installing full extension drawer slides. And be sure to check out our video on creating the Torsion Box Top!

Build Along!

If you plan on building this project, this exploded diagram will give you the measurements you need to get the job done. A Sketchup file of this project is also available, thanks to Chris Williams.

Want This Project on DVD?

assemblytablesm This series is now available on DVD. Purchase your copy today!

Products Featured in the Show:

Concealed Hinge JIG IT(R) System Concealed Hinge JIG IT(R) System
Drill concealed hinge cup holes with ease and accuracy. Easily locate, center and drill cup holes on cabinet doors for fully concealed hinges.

Concealed Hinge JIG IT(R) System

Clamp-It(R) Assembly Square Clamp-It(R) Assembly Square
Align it, clamp it, and fasten it to get perfect 90 degree angles every time! Here’s a solution that’s so simple, you’ll wonder why it took so long to develop!

Clamp-It(R) Assembly Square

Rockler/Insty-Drive Self-Centering Bits Rockler/Insty-Drive Self-Centering Bits
Self-centering bits feature a hex collar that allows for use with the Rockler/Insty-Drive exclusive Insty-Driver. You?ll get perfectly centered pilot holes for accurate hinge and hardware installation..

Rockler/Insty-Drive Self-Centering Bits

Categories: Projects, The Shop

Comments

  1. Hey! Looks good! I really enjoy your videos! Quick question, I’m always blowing out brads when nailing into or out of ply. How do you select your nail length as you put your subassmbly together?

  2. Bob A in NJ (http://) June 3, 2007

    Marc,

    Nice project and very timely for a project I’m doing. I’m working what’s basically a base cabinet for my Jet mini lathe. Overall size is 36″ inches tall, 27″ wide and 25″ deep. It has 4 drawers with full extension slides like you have. This will be a tri-use cabinet, main usage is for the lathe, 2nd usage is for table saw extension but now that I’ve seen this video, I can also use if for assembly of small projects like jewelry boxes and small hope chests. I’ve been thinking about how I was going to finish the top and your designs with both the sacrifice surface and polyurethane will do the trick for me. The oak trim with walnut plugs are also another design feature I’ll use. One thing I did add into my design is a fold up extension side as I work in a 2 car garage and have to keep things mobile and able to be stowed away. Thanks for all the tips and hints. Keep up the good work.

  3. Ross June 3, 2007

    Hey Mark – great video. I’m interested about how you would fit a new piece of hardboard when the time comes. The original piece was easy to get a perfect fit, as you used a flush trim bit. However, because the hardwood sides are glued on, that technique will not work next time. Are there any easy ways to do this? Otherwise, I was thinking of building this with the sides just screwed on, so they can be removed at a later time and so allow any new piece to be flush trimmed again. Friction fit plugs to cover the screws would let me get to protected screw heads. Can you see any problems with leaving out the glue?

  4. Bob S in CA (http://) June 4, 2007

    Marc, one thing I don’t see in the drawings and didn’t notice in the videos is how you attach the top to the base. I can see it sits on top of the stretchers, which leaves space between the bottom of the top and the case (except where it contacts the stretchers) but not the fastening method.

    Thanks.

  5. helen (http://) June 4, 2007

    Thanks for the great video and tips!

  6.  

    BasementDweller:
    Usually for ply I use 1 1/4″ nails. Thats pretty standard for 3/4″ ply. The best way to make sure you dont have blow out is to check and double check your gun alignment. If the gun is perfectly perpindicular, the brad should fire straight.

    Bob: You should post pics of your project in our Flickr gallery. I would love to see it.

    Ross: The only problem I can see with your idea is the fact that MDF is not the best material to drive a screw in and out of multiple times. So after a few top replacements, the screws probably wont hold anymore. Refitting a new top really wouldnt be too difficult. Just measure and cut. Any areas that are tight can be relieved with a block plane.

    Bob:
    Yeah I guess we forgot to mention that. lol. I just drove a few screws through the stretchers into the bottom of the torsion box. With a top as heavy as that, you dont need a whole lot of holding power. So 4 screws in each corner did the trick. As for the resulting gaps, thats where your wires and hoses run for your accessories on the sides.

  7. Ronaldo June 5, 2007

    Hello,

    maybe a silly question: the base need as well to be shimmed to keep the torsion box dead-flat?

    and thanks for the nice videos!!

    -Ron

  8. Marc,

    Probably in grandmother, sucking and eggs territory here, but did you level the base units to the same degree that you did when constructing the top? I can’t help feeling that the top will mould itself to the base over time (MDF does creep after all), so if the base isn’t dead flat, then eventually neither will your wonderful torsion box be.

  9.  

    Well, I cant pretend to know for sure whether or not a torsion box would sag over time. Lets put it this way. Once I place the top on the base, if there is an serious discrepancy I would certainly shim it. I may have just lucked out in that mine was laying pretty much flat at all screw points. So I suppose if you have large gaps, it would be worth the time to shim it. Not to mention, if you have large gaps, you will also have issues installing doors and drawers.

  10. Hi Ross & Marc,

    I’m just considering the same issue. I’m not 100% sure of my block-planing skills…

    I’m thinking that the hardboard top’s corners and edges are probably pretty safe from dings, due to the hardwood edging.

    So when it comes time to replace the top, if its edges look clean, you could unscrew the old top, cut a new top slightly oversize, screw the new one right onto the old top (on the floor or some old ply), and then run your flush trim bit around it, using the old piece as the template? (Then use the same holes in the new piece to screw it onto your assembly table)

    Just a thought…
    -John

  11. Tim June 14, 2007

    The mark of someone who knows what they are doing is the ease in which they make the project seem. This you do in spades! Thanks for taking the time to do this website and more specifically this project. As a beginning woodworker, it’s the efforts of folks like yourself that don’t mind sharing the “secrets” that make the learning curve go that much faster. Thanks again.

    Tim

  12. Vic June 15, 2007

    I may be in left field on this, but in reference to Ross’s question about fitting a new top..It seems the you could again cut the new top slightly oversized and flush trim to the old top for a perfect fit.

  13. RickinTexas (http://) June 20, 2007

    Wondering if it is possible to put the entire table on wheels to make it mobile, but keep the flatness. Thinking of future construction where having an area the size of the table dedicated only for assembly could lead to space issues. Probably wouldn’t have as much machinery, etc in it as yours, but would still like to have drawer and cabinet space in the carcass.

  14.  

    I see no major problems with wheels. Just make sure they can handle the weight.

    Good luck!

  15. Dave (http://) November 6, 2007

    Hi Marc,
    The torsion box assembly table looks like an excellent project, and I’m probably going to tackle it this weekend. A question on the box though…as you make the grid work, you place all the short pieces in a straight line through the length of the carcass, requiring kind of toenailing brads into the ends of each small peice. Would it significantly reduce the strength of the box to stagger the pieces, so you could nail directly into the ends of each small piece? That way, the grid would look more like brick work with the joints staggered, instead of the joints all being in columns?

  16.  

    Hey Dave. I think that would be fine. In fact, I think someone else raised this question when the video was originally released. Keeping them lined up was the way I learned it, but I cant see any reason NOT to stagger them a bit. And the nailing would be sooooo much easier. So go for it dude.

  17. DaveinTexas (http://) November 12, 2007

    Great video, great information. You put a 1/4″ dado in the drawers and used 1/2″ plywood for the bottom. Did you rabbet the drawers bottoms also?

  18.  

    Hey Dave. I actually made a 1/4″ deep dado, not 1/4″ wide. The dados were cut a full 1/2″ wide to accommodate the 1/2″ thick bottoms. Does that make more sense now?

  19. DaveinTexas (http://) November 12, 2007

    Yep. Very good. Been watching the dovetail video. Reminds me of the days in my shop. Measure twice, cut once, go back to the store and get some more wood! lol

    • Rob Cottle September 22, 2009

      Yes – hope to make less trips to the store as I get more experienced

  20. Deryk November 12, 2007

    Hi Mark. I’m moving into a new house, with a big garage (yay!), and am busy planning my new shop layout. I have been planning on one of these tables since I first say the video a few weeks back. I finally been putting pen to paper (well actually mouse to sketchup) to sort out my design, and this exercise has raised a couple of questions. I’d appreciate any feedback.

    1) Height. I started out planning on 36″ to match the other surfaces in the shop, and so the table could do double duty as a table saw outfeed. I see your’s is a few inches lower. After thinking about it, I see the benefit in having it a bit lower, for the intended purpose of assembly. My question is – what factors went in to your 32 5/8″ height decision.

    2) Overhangs. I see also from the dimensioned drawings that you have roughly a 5″ overhang over the cabinet on all sides. That seems like a lot, particularly over the upper drawers (restricted access). I’m thinking that the payoff is that its easier to work right next to the table without bumping your knees, but again, am interested in the thought process that went into that deciding that dimension. In my case, I’m considering having drawers come out the short sides of the table, with a more typical kitchen counter overhang of

  21.  

    Hey Deryk. I basically wanted the table to be somewhere around 32″. The math probably just worked out to be 32 5/8″. For an assembly table, I can live with a wide range of heights. Since I use mine for more than just assembly, I like it a little high. Lots of folks who purely use the table for assembly of large pieces would want it to be a bit lower. To me, 30-34″ is a comfortable range for sitting at with a stool.

    I have two reasons for the 5″ overhang. First is as you mentioned, knee space. I like to use my stool at the table. The second reason is for clamping. I will frequently clamp something to the table and that extra 5″ allows me to clamp further into the table. Basically just gives me more reach with my wide mouth clamps. But thats all personal taste and personal work habits.

    Hope that helps.

  22. Richard December 4, 2007

    Hi Marc,
    I should have looked at this comment section before asking my earlier question sent directly to your Contact site. I find the base assembly video an outstanding primer on building cabinets. I am and intermediate woodworker with solid wood but have not done much with plywood. This video gives me the confidence to tackle some projects I have procrastinated to build while deciding on how to connect the pieces together.
    Wonderful stuff, great site.

  23. William December 9, 2007

    Great video and terrific project. This is an excellent primer in basic cabinet making. I really appreciate all the tips for drawer spacing, guide alignment, etc. Very well done!

  24. Dan January 2, 2008

    Marc,

    I am a little late to this but…
    Now that you have lived with this table a bit are there any changes you would make? What about slides for the top drawer that are over-pull or whatever they call those (over-extension?) so it extends out more from under the table top? If those need to be longer than the drawer depth they could be staggered vertically with those for the opposite side.

    Thanks.

  25.  

    I am pretty happy with every aspect of the design. The overhang doesn’t really present a problem for me. If you need the drawers to come out further, you would definitely have to come up with some sort of staggered organization like you mentioned. There was some space between the two sets of drawers in my table so I could have given them a few inches extra if needed. But again, this setup works just fine for me.

  26. Mike Kapotsy (http://) January 5, 2008

    Marc,

    My wife and I are starting to build my very own assembly table from your design for my shop/garage. I have one question though at least for now. In your podcast, you did not discuss how you attached the torsion box top to the assembly table base. I see the overhang on the plans, but how did you attach the top?

    Thanks,
    Mike Kapotsy

  27.  

    Just a few screws through the stretchers and up into the top Mike. If you are building this project, you might want to read this entire comments section when you have a chance. We covered that topic and a bunch of others that might help you out along the way. Good luck with the project.

  28. Mike Kapotsy (http://) January 8, 2008

    Marc,

    I started on the assembly table this past weekend. It’s been a challenge but I am working through it. I did read through all comments and many of them were helpful. The biggest mistake I’ve made so far is with the dadoes on the partitions. Apparently I missed your comment on how critical this step was and how I should dummy proof it. Somehow I ended up cutting a dado along the bottom edge instead of 3″ up for the bottom shelf. I tend to get in a hurry and when I do that I pay the consequences. I just flipped the partitions over and now I have a dado along the top edge of 3 partitions. I just modifed my stretcher dadoes to accomodate for the mistake which worked fine. I also modifed the design slightly on the end where the air compressor will go. I have an air compressor very similar ot yours. I see your top shelf was only 4 ” from the top judging from the picture. I wanted to have a taller shelf on the back behind the compressor so what I did was cut the top shelf into 2 pieces. I installed a 12″ deep shelf for the back side of the cabinet approximately 12″ up from the bottom shelf and a 26″ deep shelf above the air compressor. I’ve got the base assembly put together and it’s all pretty well dead level. My next step is to start on cutting out the drawer pieces and cabinet doors based on the cabinet dimensions I have from my assembled base. After assembly I have a 20 1/8″ opening for my drawers which will make my drawers 19 1/8″ wide. I am saving my torsion box for last due to lack of space in my shop.

    I think this assembly table will be a very welcome addition to my shop. I’ve had to assemble many projects on the floor which is not good for my back nor is it a completely level work surface. The table will resolve those two issues as well as give my plenty of extra storage space which is a welcome bonus! I plan on sending before and after photos of my shop once I have the assembly table completed.

    By the way, I have been in the market for a new sliding chop saw for some time. I’ve had my father’s DeWalt 12″ compound mider which is great but sometimes I need a deeper cut capacity than my saw provides. I had looked at several different saws and was leaning toward the Hitachi 12″ model with the LED display. After reading your review of the Makita and several others reviews as well, I decided to go with the Makita. I hadn’t even seen that model when I was looking. I picked it up on sale which saved me $200 from what the Hitachi model sells for!

    Mike Kapotsy

  29. Mike Kapotsy (http://) January 9, 2008

    Marc,

    I began cutting out my drawer pieces last night. My opening as I stated earlier was 20 1/8″ wide by 24 3/4″ high. While a tad bit wider that yours (not sure how that happened), the height was the same. I had planned to lay out my drawers the same depth as yours and I noticed the plans show different depths. In the podcast you showed your drawers at 4″, 5″, 6 1/2″, and 8″ depth with 1/4″ spaces top and bottom of each drawer adding up to the full 24 3/4″. The PDF plans call for 1/4″ less on all depths (i.e. 3 3/4″, 4 3/4″, 6 1/4″, and 7 3/4″ which adds to 23 3/4″). I didn’t know if you were aware of this or not. I ended up making some minor changes on mine because I decided I wanted the two bottom drawers to be a tad bit deeper (1/4″ each) so I took it out of the top two drawers. Also on the dado rabbets you showed cutting a dado 1/2″ deep on the drawer fronts and backs but the plans call for 1/4″ deep dados. I think the 1/2″ deep dado would make for a stronger joint.

    Thanks again for sharing these plans. I cannot wait to complete the project!

    Mike Kapotsy

  30. Jessie January 15, 2008

    Hi Marc,

    I ordered a 35mm carbide forstner bit (# 46532) from the Rockler link above, but it has a short shank that will not work with the Jig It system. I see now that the “more info” tab on the Jig It system clearly states that long shank bits are required, so I should have read all of that before I started.

    Here is a link to the long shank forstner bits that work with the Jig It:

    http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=2406

    I’ll send photos of my assembly table/torsion box when I finish. I still have to put on the doors and their handles as well as finish the trim on the torsion box. As a new woodworker, this has been a challenging project, but I’ve learned a lot along the way.

    Thanks,

    Jessie

  31.  

    Hey Jessie. That really sucks. Im sorry about that. I looked at the links and it seems that Rockler now has the long shank links on the same page as the Jig It system itself. I posted this a long time ago so I cant know for sure, but Im assuming that’s why I put a second link up for the bits. Had they all appeared on one page, I would not have needed the second link. Its fixed now. But thank you for bringing it to my attention. Please DO send photos. I would love to see how it came out!

  32. Bryce June 2, 2008

    Hey Marc, I know I’m really late on this, but I just came across your site recently and have learned a ton. I’m planning to build a table with a base based on your design. I’ll need to put wheels on mine and was wondering how you would suggest doing that. I was thinking of getting rid of the toe kick and using a solid piece of ply on the bottom, but I’m worried that it will sag in the middle. Any advice?

  33.  

    Hey Bryce. Welcome to the site. I would say you are on the right track. The whole unit would indeed need a bottom to support the vertical partitions.
    I would also recommend adding some dividers in the middle of the stand that would essentially separate the two sides. This will help the frame resist racking, which will surely happen if you push that thing around.

    Those two changes should be all you really need to do to get this sucker mobile. Just make sure you use high quality casters and maybe consider putting a wheel in the center as well.

  34. Russ (http://www.ibab.org) September 30, 2008

    A comment and some (sort of) related questions:

    THE COMMENT

    As you noted in your post on June 2, since the base doesn’t have a face frame or a back, it seems like it might have a tendency to rack from side to side, especially if you put it on wheels and wound up pushing it around a lot. Although I suppose the toe kicks in your design help a tiny bit in the regard, I wonder if it might also be a good idea to add dividers as you suggested to prevent racking, or perhaps some corner blocks, even on a stationary version.

    QUESTION 1

    Aesthetics aside, I wonder if you could give your opinion on using particle board or the base instead of plywood. Also, how about MDF?

    QUESTION 2

    Assuming that particle board is an option, how do you specify the “good stuff”, and where can you buy it? The particle board I have seen lately in the local (Phoenix) BORGs has been marked “underlayment”, and doesn’t seem as dense or as strong as some particle board that I have seen in the past.

    QUESTION 3

    In general, do carbide router bits and saw blades dull faster when used on particle board and/or MDF than on real wood? When you go to make a million little MDF pieces for a torsion box, do you switch to a junker blade in your saw in order to save your better blades from premature destruction?

  35.  

    Hey Russ. I can say that after over a year of use, the cabinet shows absolutely no sign of racking. Now of course, I don’t move it around. But in general, a torsion box is best kept station when possible anyway.

    Particle board and MDF would certainly work for the base, but you would confront the same issue you are likely to find when you use those products for any cabinet. Most folks don’t like them because of their inability to hold a screw very well and their susceptibility to water damage. But, if that was the material you had access to, there is no reason why you couldn’t use it.

    As far as particle board goes, I can’t tell you much about it. Honestly, I never use the stuff. If I were looking for the best quality particle board I could find, I would skip Home Depot and go to a hardwood supplier like Spellman.

    Interesting question. I can’t tell you from personal experience whether or not this is true, but that is what I’ve heard. I wonder if someone with a bunch of MDF experience will chime in. But I can tell you that the times I’ve worked with MDF, I use all the same blades. Usually because I still want good results, regardless of the materials I am using.

  36. Marc – I like the design of the cabinet. My question is about the compartment for the air compressor. I have seen other designs that allow for air holes or ventilation holes for the compressor. Your’s doesn’t. Do you anticipate adding some vents – maybe covered with some of those small circular vent covers that Lowe’s sells?

    Thanks,

    Bob

    •  

      Hey there Bob. I thought about adding ventilation but decided it wasn’t really necessary in my shop. My compressor is nearly always off. When I need it, it cycles up once and the air lasts me quite a while. I am only popping a few brad nails here and there or blowing some dust off of something. Now if the air compressor was constantly cycling, we’d have two problems on our hands. In addition to the heat issue, I would really have to think about investing in a bigger compressor. So it all depends on how much you use the air and how much it cycles. If there isn’t enough time in between cycles for the heat to dissipate, then it wouldn’t be a bad idea to vent it. And in fact, with this stand it would be very easy. The top compartment above the compressor is vented. There is a nice gap at that top where it meets the torsion box top. So all you would need to do is make sure the bottom compartment can vent into the top compartment, and you’ll probably be in good shape.

  37. Hello there, Great Stuff! Really Great!

    I am doing a moderate project of my own posted here:

    http://www.woodworkingtalk.com.....#post62135

    I was wondering if you might have any further ideas, suggestion or tutorials that would help me out. If I need to call you I will. Your expertise is greatly appreciated.

    •  

      Hey Stephen. To be honest man, this goes well beyond my level of expertise. That is a heck of a lot of weight and I have never built anything that would need to stand up to that. But if I were doing something like that, I might be looking toward the world of steel to build a proper frame. Then I would simply build my top surface on top of the metal frame.

      Good luck. Hopefully someone with some experience in this area will be able to give you solid advice.

  38. Rob Cottle September 22, 2009

    I liked this project alot and would like to try it – Hope you plan on keeping it on your website, because it will be a year probably before I can build this. Garage is a little full of car projects currently. 78 corvette & a 78 Truimph spitfire. Any ways I used to be afraid of any thing that had to do with wood but between you and my Dad I am very excited about doing different things. Wish I could get my Dad on a faster internet because I know he would love your website as well. He is very good at wood working. He has made several items for the family since he has retired. Coat racks, cabinets, refinished an old bread making station of his mothers. Keep the videos coming.

  39. Mike by the Sea November 23, 2009

    Hey Marc,

    Just scrolled through the comments and was just wondering what you made the table top out of? Love your videos, my wife and I just bought our first house with a two car garage that is all mine…bin dreaming about a space for a tablesaw for years!!!
    Anyway keep up the good work…
    Thanks,
    Mike

  40. Mike November 25, 2009

    Just found your website. Watched the torsion box & support table podcasts. Well done. Well explained & humor too.
    Will watch the others as time permits.

  41. Dave February 21, 2010

    Marc,

    Love your site. I am building a smaller version of this for my shop and decided to model it using Google Sketch Up. The link to the model is below. Thanks for being a great inspiration!

    http://tinyurl.com/yarqynt

  42. Brian February 28, 2010

    Marc,

    I am close to finishing this project and wondered were you got the on/off power switch?

    Great video!!!

    I have watched nearly all of you vidoes – all have been a great help to me.

  43. pedro April 3, 2010

    hi Marc i was searching for drawer installation tips, and can’t find nothing to help me make this job until i found your video. i have learned a lot,.now i’m a master. thanks. pedro

  44. Azeem June 24, 2010

    hello marc.

    It was a pleasure to find such a website. I m an accountant by profession and i love woodwork. Recently i’ve started to learn woodworking as an art. here in my city, woodworking is not as fine as it should be. but now i m sure that i can learn a lot of new things and techniques about this fine arts. you r a good teacher.

    •  
      thewoodwhisperer June 24, 2010

      Well thank you Azeem! I appreciate the kind words.

  45. Lou June 28, 2010

    Hi Marc,
    I just finished making my torsion box top. It turned out great. Thanks for the instructive video, it was a big help. My question is, I am planing to install slide out shelves in my cabinet, if I leave out the fixed shelves will that comprimise the integrigty of the cabinet at all? My top is only 36″ deep so I am going to make access from the front only, therefor I will have a solid back.

    •  
      thewoodwhisperer June 29, 2010

      Hey Lou. Generally, the design of this base does have a bit of a weakness, and that’s its lack of resistance to racking forces. This is where back panels come in hand on most cabinets. But obviously, this one has not back panel. So if you are going with sliding shelves, I would suggest modifying the design to include a center wall that will help stiffen the entire structure. Should do the trick.

  46. Wooderson July 28, 2010

    Marc,
    Do you still have the pdf plans around somewhere? The link at the top to them is broken. Thanks for the site!

    •  
      thewoodwhisperer July 28, 2010

      Sorry about that. Should be fixed now.

  47. Marc,
    Finished the assembly table but made it 6″ longer. Once the base was shimmed and top was installed, I noticed that the cabinet racks lengthwise when pressure is applied to the top(like when planing on a big tabletop). I added 3 pieces of plywood at the top of the 3 cabinets, in the dead middle, glued and screwed them in . These are about 9″ tall. This did help alot, but did not completely stiffen up the assembly. Any ideas? tim

    •  
      thewoodwhisperer August 17, 2010

      I think you are doing about all you can do. The lack of a divider, or what would be considered a back-panel is the real weakness of this design. I was fortunate not to have any issues with racking but there are a lot of variables at play. So the only way I know of to stiffen things up is to pretty much do what you did, add dividers in the middle. I would make them as large as possible and use pocket screws to install them. That will give you a good grip on all sides. And make sure the panel is a really tight fit. You’ll probably need a mallet to knock it in place. Other than than that, I am not sure what you can do to remedy the situation since the piece is already assembled.

      • Richard August 19, 2010

        Marc,
        I am new to woodworking, and I am planning my workbench. I am using a torsion-box top. My workbench is going to be mobile. I noticed you indicate that, in order to avoid racking, you recommend using a solid back (which I am planning on doing — my workbench is only 30 inches wide), and you recommend adding “dividers in the middle” Since I am new to woodworking, I don’t know what a “divider” is! Could you explain what a divider is?

        •  
          thewoodwhisperer August 19, 2010

          When I say divider, I am referring to something that divide the base into its two halves. Instead of one big storage space accessible from both sides, it would be more like two long cabinets butted up back to back. If your bench is only 30″ deep, your cabinet back is what I am referring to as a divider. Does that makes sense?

  48. Splinters October 3, 2010

    Marc,
    Thoroughly enjoying all of your videos and I try to use your links to products to help support your show. My question may be silly, but so are my screw ups. On your assembly table, you use the Euro hinge on the vertical partition to make a reference for the overall door width. When I (I’m building right now)put the hinge to the partition, to see where it sits, how do I factor in the additional space that is on the other (short/hinge) side of the door?

    •  

      I’m not 100% clear on what you mean Splinters. And don’t worry about asking “silly” questions. That’s how we get better right? If you can just explain a little more I would be happy to clarify for you.

  49. Splinters October 4, 2010

    Sorry, Marc, here goes again. In your video, you make a mark on the vertical partition 3 1/2″ (for the hinge placement) down on the face and transfer the line over to the side of the partition. Then you put the hinge in place ( I just went to your page to pull up the video…you threw me for a loop, you just changed the page…sneaky sneaky boy!) and you use the hinge to establish where the edge of the door will be( 17:30 into the video) to get an overall door width. Maybe it’s the hinges that I use (Liberty & Amerock) When I place the hinge on the partition, there is just the cup hanging out there. How do you factor in the amount of material that is on the other side of the cup? 35 mm hole cut 40-45 mm into the door. My hinge doesn’t show me where the door will end. Is it me, or is it my hinge?

    •  

      Ahh yes, we’ve made a few changes today as you can see. :)

      Now I understand. Basically, the cup is installed a certain distance in from the edge of the door. Technically, you can put the cup right up against the outside edge, but it won’t be quite as strong as if it were installed about 1/8″ or 1/4″ in. Now that I think about it, you might want to drill the cup far enough in so that the edge of the door meets the edge of the case. I would try it on some scrap so you can understand the relationship between the case, the hinge, and the location of the drilled cup. That should get you rolling. Sorry to be so confusing.

  50. Stephen October 6, 2010

    Marc,
    I finished the top last weekend and am now working on the base. In planning for the drawers (for next weekend!), I’ve come across the same issue that Mike mentioned in Jan ’08. The dimensions on the sides of the drawers seem to be 1/4 inch different between the drawing and the video. At first I thought this was due to the spacing of each drawer, but that seems to be already accounted for…Is there a reason that the drawings dimensions are less than the video? Sorry if it’s a stupid question…and, like others have said before hand, this site is a Godsend to us beginners :)

    •  

      When in doubt, go with the video. The plans were made by Fine Woodworking and although I thought we covered all the bases, there could very well be a small discrepancy here for there. The video is information directly from me, so it should be accurate. Sorry about the confusion.

  51. Will October 29, 2010

    I just discovered this website from a post on ncwoodworker.net and love it. Awesome projects! I am planning on building this table next week. Hopefully I can have it turn out like this one. wish me luck

  52. AndrewR October 29, 2010

    Just finished watching this video and the previous on the torsion box for the top. I so badly want to make this now, but I have to wait for my new place (no room here) before I can. Once I have my new home, a shop ain’t far behind, and this — along with many other of your videos — will serve as the basis for many of my projects. Thank you so much for giving of yourself to all of us!

  53. Peter Johns November 1, 2010

    Great video, esp about how to install full extension drawer slides. Had me beat until I saw this. Well done. Liked the weight test with the drawer at full extension.

    Thanks for taking the time to answer the comments too.

  54. Hans Hamm November 9, 2010

    I’m just putting the finishing touches on the torsion table/base. I’ve had some issues that I’m having a hard time figuring out maybe you can give me some tips. First off I didn’t use saw horses but used my table saw but did use the jointed 2×4 as you suggested. My concrete floor is wavy as all #$%# and got way too frustrated.

    1) my torsion table isn’t perfect. Like John mine is out by 1/32 over 4 feet. I know that isn’t that bad but my OCD has gotten a hold of me. I’m thinking of sanding down the high spots to compensate???

    2) I assembled the base and all the drawers lined up perfect until I moved it around…then everything fell out of alignment. I used the Chinese imported birch and the Baltic birch for the drawers. Maybe that was my source of error. The base does flex ever so slightly…any thoughts? If I had to do it over I think i would have used better materials but given this was my first cabinet it seemed more reasonable to get the cheap stuff.

    This project was really to teach myself some cabinet basic for some up coming closet projects.

    •  

      Hey Hans. I have to say, honestly, 1/32″ over a 4 foot span is really nothing to worry about. I know that doesn’t help you since you really want it to be dead flat, but its not going to make a huge amount of difference in the long run. I would advise against sanding down the high spots since you are more than likely only going to introduce more error into the equation.

      One of the flaws in this design is the lack of a back panel. Instead of an open compartment that goes all the way through, I really should have included some significant reinforcement in the center to help prevent racking. That being said, I moved mine several times with no ill effects, and I know others who have it on wheels with no problems. So it could very well be the material you used. That big box store ply has a tendency to turn into a potato chip. Not sure what you can do about it now except maying adding some extra support here and there to prevent any additional movement.

      Just remember that its only shop furniture. And technically all it needs to do is work. Its all practice for the real thing anyway. :)

  55. Marcel LeBlanc November 21, 2010

    Hi, great site you have on here, very good project.
    To answer Splinters question about drilling the 35 mm hole in the door, placing it about at 20.5mm (13/16) from the edge usally gives you room for the final adjustment on the inges to properly adjust the door

  56. Rich December 6, 2010

    I didn’t see it any of the comments, I want to start on this project and was wondering if any one put together a wood shopping list? Would save me time from calculating what I need.

  57. Dave December 7, 2010

    I did a smaller version of the project with a cutlist and plywood layouts for the base only.
    Sketch-up model here: http://bit.ly/bLgg2A
    Cutlist and diagrams for the base here: http://bit.ly/e96aaQ
    Finished product: http://woodtalkonline.com/uplo....._55926.jpg

  58. Jay March 11, 2011

    Hi Mark,

    I just built the base yesterday, and am now beginning work on the drawers and doors. I followed your instructions exactly, but made the following changes:

    * I used a combo of birch ply and mdf to save some cost. The two outer partitions are ply, as are the strechers and toe kicks. The shelves and inner partitions are mdf.

    * I placed vertical dados on the inside of the two inner partitions, and slid a 3/4″ mdf vertical divider in place. This divider divides the space where the stack of drawers will go into two equal volumes, and provides an enormous amount of strength in the dimension where the structure was weakest. Resistance to racking is much improved. The height of the divider is such that the middle strecher runs right over the top of it as well.

    I’m now finding myself confused about the widths of the drawer fronts and the doors. Here are my questions:

    * I assume that, when closed, the outer edges of the doors are flush with the outer edges of the case. Is that correct?

    * What is the relationship between a door and its inner partition? Does the inner edge of the door come to an edge of the partition, the center, the center – 1/16″, or something else?

    * Is the gap between the doors and the drawers 1/8″?

    Oh, and one more… Do you see any problem using the base as my foundation for constructing the top? I was planning on going through the entire process of jointing 2x4s and shimming to get a perfectly true surface, but just thought that the base might work better than sawhorses. Thoughts?

    •  

      Hey Jay. This project is 4 years old and no longer in my possession. So forgive me for being a little hazy on the details. As a piece of shop furniture, I wasn’t too worried about getting perfectly flush overlays. In general, the doors were full overlay on the outside and just under half overlay on the inside shared partitions. The other half went to the drawers with a little space in between. But you are going to want to take measurements and make sure you get the right overlay style hinges for your doors.

      And no, I don’t really see a problem using your base as a foundation for building the top, as long as your base is flat, or shimmable to flat.

      • Jay March 13, 2011

        I had a feeling this project would be a bit stale to you, but I had to ask anyway. Not in your possession anymore? Did you build a replacement, or change how you’re doing things, or…?

  59. Kevin May 26, 2011

    Just recently came across your website and have watched several of the videos….GREAT STUFF!!!

    What do you think about adding a vise? Maybe something like a twin screw tail vise? What about putting dog holes in the top? Do you see any challenges with this. I don’t have enough space in my garage for both an assembly table and a dedicated workbench. Trying to come up with something that is the best of both worlds.

    Thanks again.

    •  

      Thanks for the kind words Kevin! I have heard of folks adapting a vise to a table like this but I have never done it myself. I don’t see what you can’t do it, but you will definitely need to beef up the construction in the area of the vice. Those things are pretty heavy and the bolts need some meat to bite into. But I do think its possible do adapt a vise to this table.

  60. hey mister woodwisperer you go to a lot of trouble to put on and european hinge here in europe we just measure 5mm in to the door and drill the big hole first witch is all ways 35mm then when hinges are on we put the door against the frame and mark it** one door 4 minutes or the boss will dock your pay .But i must say i am going to get my boss to watch your show and tell him that’s what a real carpenter should be working on best of Irish luck to you brill show

  61. Wow, nice work! Wish I would have found your videos before I installed those kinds of drawer slides into my workbench. Would have gone so much smoother with your method than the hack job that I came up with!

  62. Leland Schultz November 5, 2012

    Mark,
    I have started back up to this hobby of wood working (been out for 30 years with general life) and came across your site. Love this assembly table and am planning on building one this winter. I am planning on building the base with baltic birch 3/4 but build them as two cabinets with backs and then a sheet on the bottom – as I want to put wheels on it – the kind that are just used to move it (Rockler’s workbench casters). Question, do you think I need anything else on the build to use these type of wheels or would you suggest another method or type of wheels. I need to be able to move this table…haven’t built my dream shop yet…
    thanks,
    Leland

  63. Frank December 23, 2012

    Marc, where did you get the drawer slides from?

  64. Brandon December 28, 2012

    This is a really nice design. I couldn’t tell from the video, did you cut some sort of slot for the hoses and cords in the base itself, or in the top?

    •  

      Have to watch the whole video. ;) About two minutes from the end you’ll see a few shots of how the cords were run.

      • Brandon December 29, 2012

        I watched the entire video. It just looked like the cords were draped over the sides. I couldn’t tell if there were slots for them to pass through.

        • Brandon December 29, 2012

          Ahhh, I see. The stringers create a bridge for the cords. It helps to use a larger screen. I watched it from a 7″ tablet before.

        •  

          Yeah there’s about a 1/2″ gap left for cords and other things to pass through. Sort of a “happy accident.”

  65. Andrew Rota! December 30, 2012

    Iam almost done!….thoughts on adding face frames along with massive 2 way drawer slides from lee valley that push/pull through from both sides?…if its going to be too big of a pain in the butt then ill just keep it simple…but at least its staying in the shop if i mess it up…ill post pictures once complete:)

  66. James Seckinger June 30, 2013

    Marc , if I used this base and put plywood on top, this could be my out feed table. Then put router in corner and put it on wheels ..it’ll be my new router,out feed,assembly table….

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