Jig Table Construction

This monster table is 4' x 12'. The plans say you can use a 3' x 10' table. I highly recommend the bigger table. The canard is virtually 12' long, the main spar is almost 12' long.

The main structure consists of four TJI floor joists. Each is 11' long by 11 7/8" high (I should have used the 9 1/2" but I made the decision over the phone before I ever saw the stuff in person). The end caps are 1/2" particle board. The top surface is 3/4" particle board. This will be covered with 1/4" masonite for a smooth, easily replaced working surface. The bottom is 1/4" plywood. The legs are 4" x 4" posts. They are attached with four 3 1/2" lag screws each. The end of each leg has a 3/4" dia. hexagonal, threaded sleeve in it. Into this I placed a 3" bolt which allows me to micro adjust the height of each leg.

My floor is very uneven. The east end of the floor is 3 1/2" lower than the west end! I didn't want the bolts sticking out that much so I built some small pedastals for the east legs to sit on.

Construction went as follows: I cut all the rough cut TJIs to 11' and made the two end caps from the 1/2" particle board. These are 11 7/8" x 48". I layed out the TJIs in position and screwed on the end caps making sure the top surfaces where all even.

Next I placed shims under the four corners to level everything. I then screwed on the 3/4" particle board top surface. This was composed of a 4' x 8' and a 4' x 4' sheet. I left a 6" overhang on each end. This will allow me to attach a vise or clamps. The I-beam shape of the TJIs also leaves a lip along the long ends for securing clamps.

The table was then flipped over and re-leveled. The bottom surface was then screwed on. This is 1/4" plywood with corners cut out for the legs. I then placed each leg in position and drilled pilot holes for the lag screws. I used some scrap wood for the inside surface of the TJI to make it flush with the leg. Each leg was then secured in place with four 3 1/2" lag screws.

I then drilled a hole for the hexagonal threaded sleeve. The sleeve was roughened with a Dremel tool and then 5 minute epoxied in place. The foot is a 3" x 3/4" bolt with a nut in place to lock it against the leg bottom. Once the table is turned over onto its legs it is leveled by turning the bolts.

Once upright I added a shelf about half way up the legs. It is simply a 2x4 frame covered with 1/4" plywood. Unfortunately there isn't a lot of "head room" on the shelf due to the thick TJIs. The top surface of the shelf is only 9" from the bottom surface of the table top.

If I were to build another table I would do two things different. First I would use 9 1/2" TJI instead of 11 7/8". Second I would build in a different order by putting the 5/8" particle board top on last. After making the basic frame I would screw on the bottom, attach the legs, flip it over, level it, then put on the top. The reason for this is weight and man power. The particle board is very heavy. By putting this on first it took four people to turn the table over. If put it on last the table could be turned over with two people.

Covering the bottom November 9, 1999. Here is the table upside down. I have already built the main structure and applied the top surface. I am attaching the bottom surface in this picture. Note the corner cutouts for the legs. Home Depot didn't have any 12' sheets of plywood or particle board so I used a 4' x 8' and a 4' x 4'.

Close-up of structure November 9, 1999. Here's a close up of the TJIs. Two form the long sides of the table and the other two add support and prevent sagging of the particle board. There are no cross members excepts at the ends. I have little fear of the particle board sagging any across the 16" gap between joists.

Legs in place November 9, 1999. The table in the "dead bug" position. All four legs are in place. You can see the bolts sticking out of the legs. I used 5 minute epoxy (which I recieved the same day) to secure the threaded sleeves in the end of the legs. The stuff sure does smell bad!

Leg mount close-up November 9, 1999. A close-up of the leg attachment. If you look close you can see the heads of the four lag screws (two each side) holding the leg on. The wood on the floor sticking out the side is a shim to level the table during construction.

Upright table November 10, 1999. The nearly finished table flipped over on its legs. It took four of us to flip it over. I guess it weighs nearly 300 pounds. Two of us could've rolled it over but I didn't want to roll it over because I was afraid all that weight on the far ends of two legs would be two much for them.

I still need to attach the masonite top surface and build a shelf half way up the lags.

Nice and level November 10, 1999. It's hard to read but the smart level says 0.0. I tweeked the bolts on the four legs for about 10 minutes to get it perfect. I guess it's overkill for chapter 4 and 5 but at least I know I can get it level.

West legs close-up November 10, 1999. Close-up of the west end feet.

East legs close-up November 10, 1999. Close-up of the east end feet. Notice the wood pedestals. I miscalculated the required height. They are a little tall. Because of this I has to raise the west end higher than expected. All this is making the table top a little higher than I wanted. The west end is about 34" and the east end is about 38". If this becomes an issue I will shorten the two pedestals and re-level the table.

Finished jig table November 11, 1999. The finished table with the shelf and the masonite added.