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Welding Table Top - thickness??

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  • Welding Table Top - thickness??

    I know, thicker is better - I drool at some of the big plates people have used. But I'm just a garage welder, so I'll be making a folding table using some off-the-shelf legs and a top with angle iron braces. With the angle iron, warping shouldn't be a problem, so I would like to keep the plate as thin as possible for portability. What do people think would be a good minimum size? 1/4" thick enough? Could I even get away with 3/16"? Thanks for your input.


  • #2
    well you can weld on a piece of sheet metal if you want. whether or not it makes sense really depends on what you plan to weld on that table. if all you're doing is small thin-wall or sheet work then yeah 3/16" is fine. but if you want to clamp a piece of 3/16" wall 3" square tube down so it stays square during welding, then a sheet-metal table top isn't going to cut it.

    personally i wouldn't use anything less than 1/4" plate for a table. my table is 3' x 6' x 1/2" thick.


    • #3
      Research "Welding Tables" in the threads . . .

      If you can not for what ever reason "have" a thick table top . . . Look at all the skeleton type tables in here . . . Built from heavy angle, channel & square tube . . . Then you can still have a "plate" type table for lighter stuff....

      Some of the most experienced people you will find in here use a skeleton type table ONLY . . . and swear by them . . . and their work shows it clearly that anything can be built on them.

      I have a 30" X 42" X 5/8" table but have plans to build a skeleton table . . .

      Perhaps there is a better name for what I call a skeleton table, but I'm sure you get my meaning . . .


      • #4
        Had not thought about such a table - not a bad idea at all though. I will try to locate some examples. Got any favorites?

        Last edited by TimS; 07-22-2008, 11:40 AM.


        • #5
          You mean like this?

          Been using it for about 6 months and never regret not getting a piece of plate.

          The wheels are temporary. I just needed them so I could use the table as a mobile base for a jin pole style crane to raise a couple I beams.

          I used some 6" channel they had in 5' drops at the yard for cheap. Spaced them @ 1.125" gaps so clamps would have lots of room and I can use 1" tubing for any fixtures or jigs. All the slats come off so making odd shaped things that drop below the plane of the surface is a breeze or if one gets cut up too bad to fix, I can just replace it.

          It works great for cutting things with the 8" metal cutting saw too. You just clamp on a straight edge and slice it off.

          Last edited by Fishy Jim; 07-22-2008, 02:52 PM.


          • #6
            Fishy, I really like your Idea, I am a little slow, but what sort of 8" saw are you using to do the cutoff, could you do a pic of your setup, it looks like it is a breez to do accurate cuts, best regards,Paul


            • #7
              Milwaukee 6370-20; they're a great tool.

              The table is great because you're within 3" of an edge at any given point on the entire 4x8' surface. So you can use standard c-clamps over the entire thing and adjust them to your hearts content without ever grinding a tack.

              It's also within 1/16" of flat across the top, and some steel plate tables can't even achieve that without blanchard grinding.


              • #8
                "All the slats come off so making odd shaped things that drop below the plane of the surface is a breeze or if one gets cut up too bad to fix, I can just replace it."

                How did you attach them so they can be removed?



                • #9

                  This shot was prior to welding the nuts on. Then I just welded across the leg of the channel bracket to the web of the channel slat. 6 bolts per slat is overkill, but I didn't want any slop either.


                  • #10
                    Fishy, thanks for the photo, that is a very helpful picture for attachment technique, I like the use of tube to hold other tools, Preciate it, Paul


                    • #11
                      With a simple drilling jig, I knocked the whole thing out in an 8hr day (it was split up, because I needed leathers for the overhead welding of the slats in position), but apparently Miller either didn't believe me or like the design because I didn't make it in this years contest.

                      Which is more useful, a mig gun holder, or an entire welding bench you can make without any help for $400?

                      Here you can see more pics and explanation:
                      Last edited by Fishy Jim; 07-23-2008, 09:38 AM.


                      • #12
                        Jim, thanks for the pics. Your table is a lot more heavy duty than I have room for, but I bet I could build a folding frame, with the outside of the top being made of angle iron, open side of the angle facing up and in. Then I could use some type of slat arrangement on the top, possibly bolted in place, or possibly just dropping into the angle iron "tray" with some spacers tacked on to keep the slats the correct distance apart. I doubt I will be making this heavy enough to take a real pounding, so the drop in approach may be sufficient. We'll see - it's all real easy when I'm just imagining it!



                        • #13
                          The hardest part of dealing with the channel in this orientation is that the legs aren't square on the inside so you can't just cut things to fit. Make your brackets narrow enough to accommodate the radius, then align the slats once the brackets are bolted in place. I tacked the brackets on the outside corners, then went back through and put a bead between the tacks.


                          • #14
                            That's an awesome table, Fishy Jim. Good work.

                            If anyone else has any pics of different kinds of 'skeleton tables' I'd be interested in seeing them.

                            I have a 1/2" plate table in my shop and it has a crown in it I've been meaning to take care of.



                            • #15
                              You could scale this one to any size you'd like:



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