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Thread: can i skin a torsion box table with only 1/4 inch masonite?

  1. #1
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    can i skin a torsion box table with only 1/4 inch masonite?

    I want to make a torsion box assembly table I can take down and store and assemble again quickly whenever I need the extra surface area to work on.
    I need to make it super lightweight, thinking only 1 inch thick inner framework with 1/4 inch top and bottom.
    will this work, or is 1/4 inch too flimsy for only a one inch table thickness?
    (i wont be assembling anything heavy on it, doors, frames, all the smaller stuff)

    figure size around 33x55
    Human Test Dummy

  2. #2
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    That should work just fine Allen just make sure you use cross pieces close together maybe 12" apart or less and be sure and glue it to stiffen it up.
    A Turn N Time
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  3. #3
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    You could use 1/8 inch skin, if there is no risk of punching through. The skin primarily contributes stretch strength. Use lots of glue. Extra thickness (of the separators) will dramatically add stiffness.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at www.solowoodworker.com

  4. #4
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    What Charlie said . . . the strength is gained through surface tension. The only danger is punch-through with a small leg or tilting a project up on edge/corner. I am not sure what glue would be best for masonite as the surface is somewhat sealed.
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 10-10-2011 at 09:09 PM.
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  5. #5
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    If your going to make it that thin don't use the the method where you run solid strips one way & a bunch of little pieces glued & stapled or nailed in the other way. I don't like that method anyway. I use the method where by the strips are run across the dado blade & both sets of pieces notches cross & interlock. See pics. This is the base I built my SCMS/ multi tool station on it is 27" wide & just over 7' long. I don't believe it take any more time to run the pieces across the table-saw clamped & gang dadoed than it does to fuss around gluing up all the little pieces. Masonite with a finish well waxed so the glue won't stick...May even be fine without the finish just wax.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails torsion box 001.jpg   torsion box 006.jpg   torsion box 005.jpg   Miter-saw multi tool stand 39.jpg  
    Last edited by Bart Leetch; 10-10-2011 at 07:27 PM.
    "Forget the flat stuff slap something on the spinny thing and lets go, we're burning daylight" Bart Leetch
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  6. #6
    Depending on how big you want it just buy a hollow core door for about $25.

  7. #7
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    My son has 4 hollow core closet doors sitting in his garage waiting to go into the trash. That might be a good idea, save me 20 bucks or so for the masonite.
    Human Test Dummy

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Bienlein View Post
    Depending on how big you want it just buy a hollow core door for about $25.
    If you need thicker (stiffer), just glue a couple of doors together face to face. The only problem with thin skins is that the skin depresses between the webs (or ribs) when you apply pressure.

    The good thing about a door is that the webs are close together.

    Mike
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bart Leetch View Post
    If your going to make it that thin don't use the the method where you run solid strips one way & a bunch of little pieces glued & stapled or nailed in the other way. I don't like that method anyway. I use the method where by the strips are run across the dado blade & both sets of pieces notches cross & interlock. See pics. This is the base I built my SCMS/ multi tool station on it is 27" wide & just over 7' long. I don't believe it take any more time to run the pieces across the table-saw clamped & gang dadoed than it does to fuss around gluing up all the little pieces. Masonite with a finish well waxed so the glue won't stick...May even be fine without the finish just wax.
    Being a contrary guy, I do it just the way Bart avoids. The purpose of the grid is to hold the skins apart, so there is almost no side force. I take this as an opportunity to use up smaller scraps, and stagger them so I can use a nail gun to hold them in place. I also glue - suspenders and belt theory.

    My recipe would be spacers at least 1 1/2 inches high, and spaced close enough to support a masonite surface without deflecting... if you are making tiny things, the spacing might be large, or if you have heavier projects, space them closer together.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at www.solowoodworker.com

  10. #10
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    I agree with you Charlie but only if you have absolutely flat surface to build it on & are not using a 1/4" thick or less Masonite on each side. With plywood ripped on the table-saw for a grid & slotted with a dado & a reasonably flat surface. I used jointed 2x4 shimmed on top of my bench.Placed my plywood skin on the 2x4's I laid my grid with a little glue & a pin at each joint straight down through the joint. (no glue at the end of each little piece with 1-2 pins at each end.) My grid set flush at each joint & I could set a straight edge on the surface of the grid & see all the surface was flat.

    Charlie when the scraps get that small I get rid of them. Plus I don't like the fiddly fiddly of handling a bunch of little pieces.(With my fingers close to the blade). In less time than it takes to cut & glue & pin a bunch of fiddly little pieces like that I could rip & cross pieces clamp them up gang style & run them across the dado & glue & pin them in place.

    I tried using the little piece's like you use, using a few pieces of scrap building the first 2 or so rows when I built the torsion box in the pics. Again fiddly fiddly. The I did what I should have in the first place & threw the little piece's away.

    My main point is that I actually believe that with a thin limber piece of material like Masonite you should build your grid on a flat surface first then put glue on the top edges of the grid then lay the skin on & pin it & leave it to dry the required time then flip it & glue & pin the other side on. (Actually I think I would use 1/4 plywood)

    The torsion box in the pic had 450# placed in the middle of it & no sag at all.
    Last edited by Bart Leetch; 10-11-2011 at 05:31 PM.
    "Forget the flat stuff slap something on the spinny thing and lets go, we're burning daylight" Bart Leetch
    "If it ain't round you may be a knuckle dragger""Turners drag their nuckles too, they just do it at a higher RPM"Bart

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