How to Set Up a Welding Table That Works
Based on a number of requests, Kevin explains how he set up his welding table, which he uses daily. Kevin is currently working on a decorative fence for a patron, giving a good example of one way he uses his welding workbench. When he bought his studio, the table that now serves as his workbench was out back buried in a corner under a bunch of junk. The original top was 1/8" steel that was warped and had holes in it. Every time he would weld on it, it would warp even more, so Kevin added a 1" thick, 4 x 8-foot steel plate that he had originally had on his lift table. It fit perfectly, so he just tack welded it on top. This way he has a flat surface to begin from, which is really important if you want to build something that will stand evenly. "You have to start with something square," he says. The new steel top is too thick to warp, so now he has a nice, smooth, even surface to start with. Next Kevin added some gussets to the table to stablize it - once he added the 680 [CORRECTION: 1300] pound, 1"-thick steel plate, the table's legs wobbled a bit. The gussets helped stiffen everything. Then he went to the junk yard and bought four trailer balls with nuts. He made metal brackets and welded them to each of the four legs. Then he got a level and leveled the table in both directions by adjusting the trailer balls. Now he knows that anything he builds on the table is going to be straight and square when he stands it up in its final location. If he needs to move the table or if it gets bumped - which happens - he can level the table again easily. Kevin also added some pull outs that give him flexibility and versatility when he wants to weld something at a little lower level, clamp something, etc. He also added a hinged cutting table on one end of the workbench that is held up by two swing arms. The cutting table allows him to put a large sheet of steel on the table and cut right on the workbench. Once the cutting table gets too "buggered up," he can replace just the grill pieces easily enough. Kevin also added a Beverly shear for cutting curves on one end of the workbench and a big vise on the other end for clamping his work into. The only other thing he does is occasionally use a 7-inch angle grinder with a 150- or 180-grit sanding pad on it to get any little bumps or weld splatter off. Kevin emphasizes the importance of never digging with the grinder, keeping it very flat while doing this so you don't put any divots into the surface - you want to keep the table very flat. He says it's great to have a very heavy table like his to work on because it allows him to actually weld his work right to the bench, as he has done with the fence he is working on currently. Welding it right to the table keeps everything flat and straight. When he's done, he grinds off the spot welds and the table is smooth again and ready to go. Kevin doesn't treat the surface in any way because he is always working on it, grinding on it, etc. Also, the table is indoors and protected, and in Arizona, there isn't a lot of rain. People who have their work areas outdoors or a lot of humidity may have rust issues.
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