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post #1 of 15 Old 02-03-2020, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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Question Work surface

Hello,
first design for a work surface. It is meant to be 2,4m wide (8,2ft/94,5"), 80cm deep (2,6ft/31,5"), and 80cm tall (again 2,6ft/31,5").
I was thinking of using 90mmx90mm pine for legs ( roughly 3,55", so... 4x4s? ) and 45mmx95mm for beams ( roughly 2x4 ). I was thinking of 30mm thick plywood ( 2" ) for the top.

My question has to do with the joinery for the leg and the beams in each corner... I would love to have it flush, so was thinking of cutting the top 4" of each leg so that the beams "slide in" and fasten them with countersunk screws (two to fasten the beams between them, and one on each beam to the leg) and glue:



Does that sound viable?
Was thinking of attaching the top via countersunk screws to the frame, and then adding bottom beams to keep the legs properly distanced (not yet in the sketchup).

Any suggestions / comments are more than welcomed!
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post #2 of 15 Old 02-05-2020, 10:01 PM
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What you suggest should work as long as you add stretchers toward the bottom of the legs to make the base rigid.
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post #3 of 15 Old 02-06-2020, 12:49 AM
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2.4 m is a long bench! If this is a work bench then you will want central legs as well as corner legs.
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post #4 of 15 Old 02-11-2020, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the replies!

I didn't realize that Sketchup was not commonly used, apologies.

Here are some pictures of the finalized plans for the surface, after some adjustments:




Final measurements (hope to start actually cutting this weekend):
- 4 corner legs from 90mmx90mm (almost 4x4), at 90cm (~35.5") height. These have half the width of the 2x4 (in my case, 23mm) cut away so that it sits nicely.
- 2 mid legs from 90mmx90mm, same 90cm height, but with cuts for the full 2x4 to pass through
- 4 long side ... skirts? braces? of 45mmx95mm (almost 2x4), at 2.4m (~7' 11") length
- 4 short side skirts/braces of 45mmx95mm, at 80cm length (~31.5")
- 4 additional supports that are simple 71cm length 45mmx95mm

All skirts/braces are have mitered edges to 45 degrees, and a slot that is half their width on the short side. That way they can slot together and be flush with the edge of the legs (or so I hope).

Soo.... some insight I'd love from the more experienced (aka everyone?) people around:
- I'm wondering whether I need some extra supports on the lower side to match the upper side.
- The joints should be sturdy enough, especially if glued together. But do you think that just screws might pull it off?
- I was thinking of using thin (1/2" or 12mm ) plywood for the bottom shelf, and thicker (1.25" or 32mm) plywood for the top. Does that sound reasonable?
- If I were to put the whole thing on casters, apart from shortening the legs would it need any further modification? What weight rating is normally applicable to things like this? Was thinking of 150kg ( 330 pounds ) per caster should do the trick...?

Also please let me know if I've messed up the names of things in the above text, still learning.

Thank you in advance!

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post #5 of 15 Old 02-11-2020, 01:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Andriopoulos View Post
Thanks for all the replies!



Soo.... some insight I'd love from the more experienced (aka everyone?) people around:

- I'm wondering whether I need some extra supports on the lower side to match the upper side.

- The joints should be sturdy enough, especially if glued together. But do you think that just screws might pull it off?

- I was thinking of using thin (1/2" or 12mm ) plywood for the bottom shelf, and thicker (1.25" or 32mm) plywood for the top. Does that sound reasonable?

- If I were to put the whole thing on casters, apart from shortening the legs would it need any further modification? What weight rating is normally applicable to things like this? Was thinking of 150kg ( 330 pounds ) per caster should do the trick...?



1) yes, especially if you plan to use 12 mm plywood
2) appropriately sized screws should hold it together assuming you are using this for a utility bench
3) sure, if there is enough support from the cross pieces
4) Iím sure you could get by with lighter weight casters if you wanted. Keep in mind that casters make it easy to move, even when you donít want it to.
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post #6 of 15 Old 02-11-2020, 07:02 PM
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While theres nothing wrong with your plans and the strength will be more than enough, for the amount of work youll be doing cutting those joints you could just cut a mortise and tenon and be done with it. Particular reason you didnt go that route?
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post #7 of 15 Old 02-11-2020, 07:41 PM
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That is how I built the frame for my sander table.
Instead of screws, I pinned them w/dowels for looks.
There is no metal in this table construction.
Works well. Very sturdy table.

Work surface-1.jpg

Work surface-8.jpg

Work surface-10.jpg

Work surface-13.jpg
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post #8 of 15 Old 02-12-2020, 07:24 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks to all for your feedback! Some questions/clarifications:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Q View Post
1) yes, especially if you plan to use 12 mm plywood
2) appropriately sized screws should hold it together assuming you are using this for a utility bench
What size would be appropriate? Planning on using 6mmx90mm ( 1/4" x 3.5" ) screws for the most part.

Quote:
Originally Posted by epicfail48 View Post
While theres nothing wrong with your plans and the strength will be more than enough, for the amount of work youll be doing cutting those joints you could just cut a mortise and tenon and be done with it. Particular reason you didnt go that route?
In my head it's simpler to do as proposed since it can all be done with the tools I currently have (low power drill and miter saw) - mortises just seem much harder. Let me know if I'm wrong :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by justdraftn View Post
That is how I built the frame for my sander table.
Instead of screws, I pinned them w/dowels for looks.
There is no metal in this table construction.
Works well. Very sturdy table.
Very nicely looking table! Couple of questions:
- I assume you used glue for the dowels, right? Or are they just hammered in?
- What is the thickness of the top surface?
- What weight rating have you used for the casters?

Thank you all in advance!

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post #9 of 15 Old 02-12-2020, 08:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Andriopoulos View Post
In my head it's simpler to do as proposed since it can all be done with the tools I currently have (low power drill and miter saw) - mortises just seem much harder. Let me know if I'm wrong :)
Drill and a $5 chisel is all you really need to cut a mortise, and a router makes them almost pathetically simple to do. Course, if you don't have a router (but you should) that leaves you with the hand tools. Frankly I prefer dowel joints, but I do believe that anybody with more than a passing interest in woodworking should know how to cut a mortise and tenon joint.

The tenon is easy to do too, however you were planning on cutting your bridle joints will manage that

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post #10 of 15 Old 02-12-2020, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Andriopoulos View Post

Very nicely looking table! Couple of questions:
- I assume you used glue for the dowels, right? Or are they just hammered in?

Surfaces and dowels are all glued.
- What is the thickness of the top surface?
Top is 2x4s
- What weight rating have you used for the casters?
Casters are #300 rating

Thank you all in advance!
Thanks!
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post #11 of 15 Old 02-13-2020, 06:10 AM
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Nice computer modelling job.It shows you have been through the whole process in your head and have arrived at a solution.I would agree with the mortise and tenon suggestion as millions of benches have been built this way over the centuries and they work.I understand the reluctance to risk this type of construction as it seems to demand quite a lot of accuracy or a good selection of specialise tools.I would strongly recommend trying to master it as you will gain experience that will make you a much more capable woodworker.


The mortises can mostly be cut with a spade bit,just a touch undersize is useful and they don't need to be more than about 45mm deep.It is no bad thing if they are a bit deeper than the length of the tenon and while the tenon isn't too hard to cut with a tenon saw,you may be able to use your mitre saw to do the job.The thing that can really help is to use a foaming polyurethane glue to assemble the frames-it makes up for a little slackness in the joints that may be there on the first one or two.After a couple of practice joints I promise you will be making better joints.Just for guidance,I would stick with the classic tenon proportion of a third of the thickness and for the top rails I would use a haunched tenon.



My preferred system is to make the ends first -with all mortises cut for the entire job-and then to glue the front a back rails in later.I have been known to use ratchet straps to pull the assembly together.I tend to avoid using mitre joints anywhere,not because can't cut them but because the humidity here goes from the 94% that I have at the moment to 30% or so in hot weather and they move.


Good luck with the project.
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post #12 of 15 Old 02-13-2020, 09:50 AM
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I think building it they way you proposed will work just fine.

I can understand your hesitation at wanting to try mortise and tenon joinery, which isnít conducive to disassembly if thatís why you wanted to use screws. It isnít as fast and easy and cheap as everyone makes it sound. You need to buy chisels, and sharpening supplies, because cutting 16 mortise and tenon joints is going to require a lot of sharpening youíll need to learn how to sharpen, you need to buy layout tools, you need to read books or watch a bunch of YouTube videos on how to cut the joints, you need an appropriate mallet because a framing hammer isnít appropriate. It goes on and on.

Really, the way you proposed to build it is solid construction and far easier to accomplish with minimal tools.

Oh, and 1/4 inch screws may be bigger than you need. I was thinking more like a number ten or twelve of appropriate quality like GRX screws.
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post #13 of 15 Old 02-14-2020, 05:26 AM Thread Starter
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Some context:
- I am extremely bad at this at the moment. Getting accustomed to the miter saw (for straight cuts!) took me several tries, and getting relatively accurate tenons (via multiple passes on the saw) is something I'm still struggling with.
- I am working on the basement floor, as there is nothing there (yet). This is meant to be the surface on which I do all the work, and I hope this will make it more comfortable working longer periods.
- There is a high probability that I'll be moving out within the next 18 months. This has been the case for the past two years though, and I'm done waiting to see if it happens before I start doing things.
- The basement was architected by an idiot, and the only entrance is quite small (31.5" wide, 6ft tall) at the bottom of stairs with no clearing before the door). There is no way to get anything out once assembled if completely glued.

With that in mind:
Quote:
Originally Posted by fareastern View Post
Nice computer modelling job.It shows you have been through the whole process in your head and have arrived at a solution.I would agree with the mortise and tenon suggestion as millions of benches have been built this way over the centuries and they work.I understand the reluctance to risk this type of construction as it seems to demand quite a lot of accuracy or a good selection of specialise tools.I would strongly recommend trying to master it as you will gain experience that will make you a much more capable woodworker.
Just to be clear -- I fully intend to learn how to do these joints, just not as my first project. Though I do feel that mortises are better, I am simply not there yet.
I am planning on gluing the front and back sides (so the corners to the long skirts) and depend on fasteners for the short skirts and braces. Hopefully that'll hold well enough ( ? ).

Quote:
Originally Posted by fareastern View Post
The mortises can mostly be cut with a spade bit,just a touch undersize is useful and they don't need to be more than about 45mm deep.It is no bad thing if they are a bit deeper than the length of the tenon and while the tenon isn't too hard to cut with a tenon saw,you may be able to use your mitre saw to do the job.The thing that can really help is to use a foaming polyurethane glue to assemble the frames-it makes up for a little slackness in the joints that may be there on the first one or two.After a couple of practice joints I promise you will be making better joints.Just for guidance,I would stick with the classic tenon proportion of a third of the thickness and for the top rails I would use a haunched tenon.

My preferred system is to make the ends first -with all mortises cut for the entire job-and then to glue the front a back rails in later.I have been known to use ratchet straps to pull the assembly together.I tend to avoid using mitre joints anywhere,not because can't cut them but because the humidity here goes from the 94% that I have at the moment to 30% or so in hot weather and they move.

Good luck with the project.
Actually had to google half the terms in that -- thanks a ton for the reading material! My second project will be a dedicated table for the miter saw, in which I plan on using the suggestions above.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Q View Post
I think building it they way you proposed will work just fine.

I can understand your hesitation at wanting to try mortise and tenon joinery, which isnít conducive to disassembly if thatís why you wanted to use screws. It isnít as fast and easy and cheap as everyone makes it sound. You need to buy chisels, and sharpening supplies, because cutting 16 mortise and tenon joints is going to require a lot of sharpening youíll need to learn how to sharpen, you need to buy layout tools, you need to read books or watch a bunch of YouTube videos on how to cut the joints, you need an appropriate mallet because a framing hammer isnít appropriate. It goes on and on.

Really, the way you proposed to build it is solid construction and far easier to accomplish with minimal tools.

Oh, and 1/4 inch screws may be bigger than you need. I was thinking more like a number ten or twelve of appropriate quality like GRX screws.
Thank you for the kind words! Screw size was chosen based on availability -- there was a bulk box of 6mm screws available, but 5mm were not available at the length needed.Will recheck based on your suggestion though!

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post #14 of 15 Old 02-18-2020, 02:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Andriopoulos View Post
Some context:

- I am extremely bad at this at the moment. Getting accustomed to the miter saw (for straight cuts!) took me several tries, and getting relatively accurate tenons (via multiple passes on the saw) is something I'm still struggling with.

- I am working on the basement floor, as there is nothing there (yet). This is meant to be the surface on which I do all the work, and I hope this will make it more comfortable working longer periods.

- There is a high probability that I'll be moving out within the next 18 months. This has been the case for the past two years though, and I'm done waiting to see if it happens before I start doing things.

- The basement was architected by an idiot, and the only entrance is quite small (31.5" wide, 6ft tall) at the bottom of stairs with no clearing before the door). There is no way to get anything out once assembled if completely glued.



With that in mind:





Just to be clear -- I fully intend to learn how to do these joints, just not as my first project. Though I do feel that mortises are better, I am simply not there yet.

I am planning on gluing the front and back sides (so the corners to the long skirts) and depend on fasteners for the short skirts and braces. Hopefully that'll hold well enough ( ? ).





Actually had to google half the terms in that -- thanks a ton for the reading material! My second project will be a dedicated table for the miter saw, in which I plan on using the suggestions above.





Thank you for the kind words! Screw size was chosen based on availability -- there was a bulk box of 6mm screws available, but 5mm were not available at the length needed.Will recheck based on your suggestion though!


I can recommend one thing.
Get off the basement floor.
Even if itís a temporary table/bench like a folding table or an old door laid on top of sawhorses, get up off the floor.
I catch myself on the floor even now, but do much better work and take more care and time when working up at a bench level.


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post #15 of 15 Old 03-11-2020, 09:30 AM Thread Starter
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Updates:
  • Started build ( see it progressing here )
  • Attached updated plans here for anyone interested
Attached Files
File Type: skp bench2.skp (198.6 KB, 7 views)

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