Welding Project #1 - Welding Table Part 3
Another couple thing worth considering when building a welding table is the overall strength. Starting with the top thickness, it must be sturdy enough to handle the heat and pounding a work table will receive. Thin light gauge material is a poor choice for a true welding table. Go no thinner than ¼” and if obtainable at a reasonable cost, use ½”. Sheet metal is a poor choice and will warp and droop with the slightest addition of heat. Keep it simple and use plate metal to make the top out of. Never just weld the legs directly to the table without a supporting frame work, even if the table top is very thick.
This is a good way to warp the table permanently from the start. Build an entire frame before you start welding the top to it. Make sure that it has plenty of side support an (depending upon the total depth) enough cross members to support the top fully so that it does not warp or move while welding or heating on it. Never over weld the top. A tack weld here or there is sufficient. The rest of the support structure will hold the table so it won’t move around. Quite simply the top should rest squarely on top of the supports so that each support is flush and level to the top’s bottom surface. On the rare occasion that you can find a mill finished top, consider not welding the top at all, but rather drill and tap the top so that it is secure.