Do you want a welding table with holes?
Holes intentionally placed within the structure of a welding table serve quite a variety of purposes. These holes can be of any shape and/or size, really, and are meant to either help hold a tool or work piece that is being welded. Welding tables are useful both with and without holes. Whether or not you choose to put holes in your welding table is a decision you’ll have to make.
If you take a second and think about it, it may seem odd to want a work table—or any work surface, for that matter—with holes deliberately drilled into it. However, if these holes are intentionally placed, they can come in handy later on.
We’ve compiled the information below into a quick resource guide on welding tables. We’ll discuss what they’re used for and which characteristics to look for. You’ll also learn what role holes play in a welding table’s life. By the end of this article, you should be able to pick out a superior welding table.
Welding Table Uses
This might seem like a no-brainer, but welding tables aren’t necessary for the welding process. In fact, welding can occur anywhere you can set up the space required to weld your work piece. Provided you have the materials, welding can happen.
That’s also like saying you can eat a bowl of soup anywhere, with only the bowl and spoon to eat it with. Sure, it’s doable, but wouldn’t you rather stack the deck in your favor by adding in a stable, flat surface? And in that riddle, you’ve got the answer to the main purpose of the welding table.
A proper welding table supports your welding as much as possible. From the sturdy legs and flat top to a properly-level working surface free of anything flammable, a welding table provides ideal conditions for a welding environment. To learn more about what a welding table does in context of the welding process, let’s take a look at what makes for a good welding table.
Characteristics of a Superior Welding Table
One of the first things you’ll notice about a welding table is the work surface, or the top. Everything from measurements to materials is crucial. According to WeldingSchool.com, the size of a welding table “can range from 20” x 40” to 6.5” x 13”.” The size of your welding table really depends on the space you have available and the type of work you’ll be doing. Small projects won’t require as much room necessarily but sometimes having the area to spread out can be more useful.
Most welding tables are made from steel, since it’s not flammable and provides a solid backing surface in case of some good ol’ hammer-whacking. HotRod.com recommends a slab of steel that’s at least 3/8” thick. This is especially true if you are going to drill holes through the top—but more on that in a minute. You want a thick enough top that it will sustain any damage you might incur on it but not something that will outweigh the legs you’ll have to install on it for support.
Speaking of legs, the decision concerning mobility must be made early on as well. Do you want your welding table to roll around with you or stay put? Answer this question before you begin building or searching out a welding table to purchase. Installing casters on the table before you pile it high with heavy metal is always more conducive than installing them after the fact.
One of the most useful characteristics, however, that you can add on when you first create—or buy—the table or afterwards if you prefer, is holes.
A Hole’s Role in a Welding Table
Holes in any other work bench might be problematic, but when strategically placed, holes in a welding table can prove invaluable. These voids can be used to hold your work piece in place as you lay down tack welds. You could use them in a specific pattern, like a jig, to assemble a large project piece. Tools often fit well in holes made to keep them corralled. One large hole in the corner of your welding table could even be used to deposit shavings and debris into a wastebasket waiting below.
The short and long of it is that holes in a welding table serve the purpose you put before them. Whether it’s to hold a tool, support your work piece, or simply provide relief for scraps, holes in your welding table are useful in a variety of ways. That being said, there are countless shapes and sizes available when it comes to these handy holes.
Just like the size and shape of the hole, there’s no limit (theoretically) to how many you can have in your welding table. If you prefer to only have a few, that could be best so as not to weaken your welding table top. At the same time, perhaps you want to lay out a grid of holes in one of the top corners so you can easily store screwdrivers, filler rod, and any other materials you want to keep in one place.
Each and every hole in your welding table should serve a purpose, whether or not you use that hole on a daily or even weekly basis.
Other Useful Welding Table Accessories
Besides adding holes to your welding table, there are a few additional features you can add as you please:
- Clamps: Once you start manipulating your work pieces and they become more 3D, you’ll want clamps to hold pieces in place so you can join them successfully—and on a level plane.
- Magnets: Welding magnets perform the same basic function as a clamp, just with a bit more force in some cases. There’s no messing with welding magnets. Once they’re in place, they stay put until you remove them. Having a set or two of these around will prove mighty useful the bigger your projects become.
- Trays: Tools, scraps, trash, and anything in between will find a home in one or more of these trays, guaranteed.
- Braces: More than a clamp and less grippy than a magnet, braces help hold your work pieces by supporting them in various ways. It’s like having an extra hand there to help you, without having to worry about giving them a mask to shield their eyes.
- Weights: You buy a welding weight simply for that purpose—to weigh down your work piece(s) so you can achieve a tight bond. And if you get bored, you can always use them to do a few arm curls, too.
- Hooks: A well-placed hook will hold your welding helmet and a few more will secure your filler rod tube so you don’t have to play pick-up-sticks later on.
WeldingSchool.com also recommends considering a zinc coating. This coating “can prevent rust and hot debris from adhering to the table while still allowing it to conduct electricity.” Consider adding any, all, some, or none of these features to your welding table as you choose.
Holes or No Holes? A Welder’s Dilemma
If you’re looking into a welding table or even building from your own designs, you should ask yourself whether or not holes will come in handy. Yet focusing on thinking of them as only circular holes rather than square, rectangular, or oval limits what you can do with your welding table. Instead, consider some of the following factors before you decide whether or not to include holes in your welding table.
- How much weight will you be placing upon the top of the welding table?
- How often will you use the holes drilled into the welding table?
- Are you working with objects that will easily get caught in the holes?
- Where will you place the holes (if you drill them yourself) or where do you want them placed (if you buy a pre-made welding table)?
- How will you ensure self-drilled holes are level so that any work placed within these holes remains level as well?
- What types of holes do you want in your welding table?
- How many holes do you need in your welding table?
These are just a few of the questions you’ll want to consider before you purchase a welding table or find plans to make your own. If you want to know more about what types of welding tables are common among welders, keep reading. We’ll talk a bit about that in the next section, but after that you’ll find resources on how to create your own welding table if that’s the route you prefer.
Common Types of Welding Tables
One of the most common types of welding tables you’ll see is the platen table. Sometimes referred to as “Acorn” tables—for a popular manufacturer that produced them—platen tables feature a number of characteristics that make them ideal for welding.
A platen is a “a flat platform with a variety of roles in printing or manufacturing.” Often made of cast iron, they provide a level surface for all kinds of work to occur. Splatter does not stick to this surface either.
If you’re looking for something the professionals use, check out this article from WeldingTipsandTricks.com. Jesse James offers his opinion on welding tables and how a flat surface can really make a difference. There are also a variety of welding table designs discussed after the video as well. You’ve got your standard platen tables with a grid of holes. There are even round tables for circular parts that don’t sit well on a flat surface. Finally, included are miscellaneous table ideas that could spark the welding spirit in you. Take a peek at what this page has to offer if you’re looking into making your own table. There are quite a few ideas you might find useful.
Create Your Own: Welding Table
Once you’ve gained enough experience in welding, it’s a good next project idea to create your own welding table. Though it can be a hassle, trust us. It will be worth the hard work once you’ve finished your very own welding platform.
Lincoln Electric provides resources for those wanting to find plans for building their own welding table. You can also search Google for “welding table blueprints” and find quite a few resources to choose from. That being said, keep in mind what you’re looking for in a table before you begin to pick out materials. Make sure you’re factoring in what else you might do with the welding table. Many of these platforms double as work benches, too. The best welding table is the one you’ll use. It should support you in your future projects, no matter what materials you use.
Go Forth and Weld
We hope you’ve found this article on welding tables useful. Though we recommend finding a place for holes in your welding table, we’ll leave the final decision up to you. A welding table is only as good as the work it helps you to produce. So make it your own! Better yet, share your welding table designs and features with the greater welding community below! You never know who you may inspire.