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Welding table top, material choice and thickness

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  • Welding table top, material choice and thickness

    I called a metal supplier near Pittsburgh earlier today about buying a 36" x 24" plate of steel to use as the top for a section of a work bench we are building into my son's new garage. I intend to inset the plate into the table-top where it will be the "welding table"

    I know know next to nothing about alloys of steel or it's finishing. I told that to the sales person, I was at his mercy right from the start.

    I told him what my intended use was and the thicknesses I was interested in; 24"x36"and prices for both 0.375 (3/8") and 0.50" (1/2"). He suggested Hot Rolled A-36 steel.

    i was given prices of $109 for the 3/8" stuff and $149 for the half inch. There will also be a $20 cut fee added to either one and state sales tax of course.

    I'd like to hear tour opninion on mt choice in size and thickness of the plate keeping in mind that the plate is just part of the larger work bench which is 14 feet long and 32" wide. I'd also like to hear your opninion on the salesman's recommendation for the hot rolled A-36 steel.

    anything you have to say will be of great interest to me and might help out a few others as well.
    Last edited by 1_old_man; 04-01-2014, 06:28 PM.

  • #2
    A-36 is just standard, common steel, it would be good for your purpose. Given it sounds like you don't purchase from this supplier often, I feel their prices seem fairly reasonable. I would choose the thickest steel you can afford. With that said I would never build a welding table with anything less than 1/2. Consider making provisions to be able to clamp material to the top. Some people will have holes drilled and tapped on a pattern, or mill slots so you can clamp through them.

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    • #3
      Mine is 30"x60" a36 with a 2" gap in the middle to clamp stuff in the middle of the table. The biggest problem I find is that it is too small. I bought the steel because I got a 30"x96" piece fresh off the shear for $.55/#. I wish I would have gone with at least 3/4 but oh well.
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      • #4
        By your wording, "building into" it sounds like a bench along the wall. I would not build a welding table up against the wall. You dont want hot stuff going and resting against wood wall material. Now if youre building out of cement block that would be a different deal. I only say this because I had a house fire once and am now super careful about things like that.
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        • #5
          i would suggest going to some scrap yards, i bought a 4'x5'x1 1/4" thick slab of steel for a table top

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          • #6
            Thicker is better.....1 inch is just about right...If you buy from a scrap yard, make sure the pc of steel is flat.....very important...I feel it is mandatory to be able to walk all around the welding table. Also mandatory to keep the edges of the table free of legs and framework so that items may be clamped to the table....Good Luck ...

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            • #7
              id agree and disagree here. as most said a 1 inch table is nice. i have a 5' x 10' acorn table that is 6 inches thick and i can gaurantee there is no flex to it, but it also weighs about 5 thousand pounds. given the very small size of yours at 2'x3' i dont think your clamping down monster weldments. i would think for a small table 3/8" would work ok? on the back of my welding truck i have a 3/8" table 2' wide and the width of the truck. definitly leave a lip around the edge for clamping. its sad years ago you could find a small table everywhere for next to nothing, but with all the scrappers around you dont find much anymore.

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              • #8
                I have a 3/8s top on this table, but I do not weld for a living,and do not weld every day. But it has work great for me the 5 years.Name:  1831e4875ac24a097c5433208db0cf92.jpg
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Size:  139.0 KBName:  5699fb2f04627c1ce7c8ce402708cb7e.jpg
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Size:  142.3 KB The other table is just a 3/16 top that I just do light work on.
                Last edited by Great White TJ; 04-04-2014, 11:33 AM.

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                • #9
                  The acorn is the only table that can be called perfect. My opinion about thick tables is the thicker the better, you cant pound on a thin table with a big hammer. When some one starts off welding, they only think of welding, but in reality, jobs come in requiring welding and mechanical skills. Where a sturdier table will make life easie

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                  • #10
                    Thank you very much.

                    Originally posted by Flyingpig View Post
                    By your wording, "building into" it sounds like a bench along the wall. I would not build a welding table up against the wall. You dont want hot stuff going and resting against wood wall material. Now if youre building out of cement block that would be a different deal. I only say this because I had a house fire once and am now super careful about things like that.
                    Your posting made me rethink my entire plan. You were correct in your assumption and you were equally correct to point out what had not occurred to me, how potentially dangerous my half-baked idea actually was.

                    Revised plan: Build a bench but also build a separate welding table of the same height and built so as to be integrated withe the larger bench most of the time but also easily moved to a safer area in the garage when used for hot work.

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                    • #11
                      That's a good idea. Make sure to hold the frame that's going to hold the top away from the edges of the top a couple inches so you can easily clamp material down.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by kevin View Post
                        The acorn is the only table that can be called perfect. My opinion about thick tables is the thicker the better, you cant pound on a thin table with a big hammer. When some one starts off welding, they only think of welding, but in reality, jobs come in requiring welding and mechanical skills. Where a sturdier table will make life easie
                        i love the acorn table,but it has its downside too. i do alot of odd jobs ,and when you need to dissasemble something on the table parts and bolts fall through the holes. also i have hold downs but being 6 inches thick on the edge makes it hard to use c clamps along the edge. but as far as beating something silly, it makes a great anvil. i bought it about 15 years ago and himmed and hawed about the $800 i paid for it but i think i could get a little more than that for it. the frame and legs are 4x6x3/8. id imagine these days the frame alone without the top would cost more than that to build.

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                        • #13
                          c clamps are not needed on an acorn, thats the beauty of them things, to you guys that are afraid to make your table heavy because it may be moved at one time or another is a big mistake. my table with all the clamps and vices mounted to it is pushing close to a ton, its nothing to moving it by hand, use a floor jack to raise 1 side, i use a 2x10, just regular framing wood under the legs on 1 side, and under the 2x10, i have many short stubs of 2"pipe, do this to both sides, then use a bar, or stick of angle iron to move it around, just be aware of where the pipes/rollers are. if you are serious about this trade and you are not going thru a fad, please trust me on this one, the heavier the table the better, it dosent have to be huge, if you are welding some thing longer than the table and you need it to be supported, just fab up some kind of saw horse the height of the table, if the shop is small, throw it under the table for storage. another point, straightness is important, but dont get too ****, welding on steel that is sitting on the table or clamping and heating steel to bend or repair will distort the table to some extent. i have had to weld weldments to the table while fabricating, its a no no but is necessary with some jobs, so when you warp the table and need it straight, i will use a few sticks of channel, put them on the table, get them all level, then start your work on top of the channel

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