One of the most important tools a welder can have at his disposal is a decent welding table. In general you should have the biggest, flattest, sturdiest table you can muster. Of course, shop size can be a limiting factor. I decided to invest in a 4’x4′ table on wheels. We don’t do too much welding in our shop, so I don’t require too big of a table. I wanted the wheels so we can easily roll it around. Almost all of our workspaces are on wheels, so it’s pretty simple to change the layout of our workshop to make room for big projects, or roll everything out to clean. I drew up a quick napkin sketch of what I wanted the table to look like. I designed in a shelf for easy storage.
I started with a 4’x4’x1/2″ plate of steel, and some 4″ square tubing for legs. I measured out how long the legs needed to be (making sure to account for the casters!) and cut ’em down to size. I also cut out all of the pieces I’d need for the nice sturdy shelf underneath. I like to cut, clean, and deburr all of the metal before I start welding. It just makes it easier to do all of those filthy jobs once, so you can get to the fun welding! I tack welded the legs in place, taking care to get the legs square with the table top. It’s much easier to build your table upside down at first.
It’s important to take care when welding up two dissimilar thicknesses of steel. Spend more time with the torch over the thicker steel to make sure it melts and you get decent penetration. After welding up the legs, I stared tacking together the shelf. The shelf surface will be made out of 14 gauge steel that can be placed over the 1 1/2″ square tubing. I made sure it would be strong enough to support the tools that I’d be putting on it.
I welded in some simple 45˚ angle braces under the table to make sure everything gets supported well. These braces also feature as places to hang vice grips, c-clamps, and as handles to push it around. I flipped it over and marveled at my extremely short work surface. From here though, I could easily fully weld the shelf structure.
I finished by welding on the caster plates and installing the heavy duty casters I had bought for the purpose. The top of the surface has a fair amount of tough mill-scale on it, but it’s great for my purposes. I can weld jigs directly to the table, and easily grind it flat again. It really is a joy to weld on a nice heavy flat surface. Now I can’t wait to find a welding project, just so I can use the table. Over time the surface will get used and beat up, but I’m sure it will last for a few decades without complaining.