The Need for a Cutting Table
In my last post, I mentioned a discussion I had with one of my students, regarding adding laminated glass cutting as an additional service and profit booster. We talked about the glass cutter and its options. This post addresses an equally important item for glass fabrication, the cutting table or surface.
The cutting surface is an important piece of equipment for successful glass fabrication. If your plan calls for a large amount of fabrication, a professionally designed table is recommended. These tables can cost up to $6,000 with many features to choose from. However, if you plan to fabricate a small number of parts weekly or monthly, you can build your own for a fraction of the cost.
A homemade cutting table starts with a supporting frame, which reduces the chance of warping. A good-sized table is 4 feet by 8 feet, build a frame with two 2×4 inch by 8-foot boards on the long side and two 2×4 inch 4-foot boards on the short side. Then, support the frame with two center boards evenly spaced between the two short ends and nail all ends together. It may be a good idea to dove-tail or screw and glue the connections together for a long-lasting joint.
For the top, take one-4 foot by 8 foot by ¾ inch piece of particle board and one-4 foot by 8 foot by ¾ inch piece of plywood and glue and screw them together. The plywood should be the top surface and the particle board should be the underside. Use a generous number of 1-1/4-inch flathead wood screws and a liberal amount of carpenter’s glue to attach the particle board to the plywood. It’s a good idea to drive the screws from the underside into the top.
Mount the top to the frame with 2-1/2-inch or 3-inch flathead wood screws and carpenter’s glue. Drive the screws from the top and countersink. Place the screws in the corners and evenly space them along the perimeter of the frame and the center supports. Fill any of the countersunk divots in with wood filler.
Cover the top with an indoor-outdoor carpet once the wood filler is dry. Make sure the color you choose will not hinder the visibility of a broken score. The most popular colors on professional tables are green or gray. Attach the carpet to the side of the frame with screws and large washers and stretch the carpet as tight as possible. Then attach the carpet to the opposite side and repeat on the remaining sides. The beauty of this carpet attachment is that it can be replaced easily when worn or tightened when necessary.
Place the finished top onto a sturdy base and you have a cutting table that should last you years.
This simple design can also be downsized for mobile use (4ft. X 4ft.) or adapted to any mounting. One shop mounted it on a wall with hinges and stored it there when not in use.
Good luck and happy cutting.