Building an Assembly Table Upgrade

It was time to replace my old ‘assembly table’… I had been using two pieces of a desk that I pulled out of a dumpster in college, butted up to each other and set on two sawhorses. It was flat, heavy and the surface cleaned up easily from glue, stain and finish drips. But, progress marches on and I needed something slightly bigger and at a more usable height.


Nothing fancy for the replacement. I built the replacement using 2×3 lumber for the legs, 1×4 pine to rim the work surface, and 1/2″ plywood for the top and shelf. I pre-cut all the boards and sheet at the hardware store to 6′ length, so it would fit in the back of my Subaru. The top is 29″ deep, and the shelf is 19″ wide. Dimensions were picked to get both pieces out of a single sheet of plywood.


First step was to build the carcass. Using the Kreg Pocket Screw jig, I build up the legs and stretchers to match the work surface dimensions I wanted. The table top will sits at 31″ high, so the legs are 30.5″ long. The depth of the carcass is 22″ deep to nest inside the 1×4 frame on the top. Overall length of the frame is 65″ for the same reason.


To build the top, I attached 1×4 pine around the perimeter of my piece of plywood, using construction adhesive and 3/4″ #8 wood screws.


Attaching the top is simple, more adhesive and screws through the top and into the stretchers. To reinforce the center of the work surface, I added ribs between the stretchers using more 2×3 lumber that I ripped down the middle. The bottom shelf is attached uing cleats and ribs to add support. This way, the shelf sits inside the bottom stretchers instead of on top.


Finished and ready for duty. It’s certainly not a heavy duty table, but serves its purpose for glue ups and finishing work. The flange round the outside gives good purchase for clamping, the only improvement I would make is to add an apron for light duty work.


Need something more robust? Check out these books from Popular Woodworking!





2 thoughts on “Building an Assembly Table Upgrade

    • I don’t use my jog very often, but it’s the perfect thing for pulling together framing lumber into something useful! Just make sure you use the course thread screws, and hit a couple test pieces to set the clutch on your drill. There’s no good fix for stripping a hole.


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