Most of the time, welding is conducted on a separate workbench called a welding table. It is made of metal for various advantages. If you are a new welder, you may not have a designated welding table. What you might own is a wooden table in your workshop. The question shall automatically arise, can your welding table be wooden?
It actually doesn’t matter what material your welding table is made of. What matters is the welding surface. Your welding surface should always be of metal. There are lots of downsides of welding on a wooden surface. On the contrary, a metal surface has lots of advantages over it. So, there is no alternative to a proper workbench.
There’s a lot to know about welding tables or welding surfaces to be specific. In this article, I will discuss if your welding table can be wooden or not and why having a separate work table for welding would be a good idea. Plus, I will give you some cool tips to convert your wooden work table to a welding table. So, let’s get started.
Wood Vs. Metal: Can You Weld On A Wooden Table?
You can always weld on a wooden table, but not on a wooden surface. Welding involves extreme temperatures, there is a risk of fire accidents. Also, drops of molten metal can cause porosity on the wooden surface. This will result in an uneven surface which will make it less suitable for welding.
The working clamp or the earth clap, the one that completes the circuit by connecting to the work material, can be connected to the table. That is if the table is of any metal. The electricity will flow through the table to the workpiece, thus allowing an electrical connection. This is very favorable particularly if you are welding small pieces of metals.
This is only possible if the welding table is of metal, not wood. Also, wood is a flammable material. Fire accidents are uncommon in welding, but it is something that you should watch out for. Welding on a wooden table increases the possibility of such situations by a lot. Wood is also pricier than metal as metal is endlessly recyclable.
You cannot use your wooden welding table for any other purpose because it will be damaged sooner than you would expect. Metal work tables can be used for various purposes other than welding. It will also last longer, providing more value both in terms of buying cost and durability.
Judging from all the factors above, it’s safe to assume that you can weld on a wooden table, but you definitely should not.
Is a Welding Table Really Necessary?
A welding table isn’t absolutely necessary, but having one will make your life a lot easier. Many welders do not invest in a welding table. Rather, they work on the floor of their garage or workshop.
The concrete floor is an adequate surface for welding. There is no risk of fire hazard, melting the surface, or cutting through. You can just sit on the ground, put on your work instruments and work your way through the welding procedure.
But you have to bend your body in an uncomfortable position to weld on the ground. This isn’t favorable to your health. You can suffer from chronic back pain or some sort of back injury in the long run.
For one or two instances, a welding table isn’t that necessary. But if you are a professional welding technician, you should definitely get a welding table. If you are confused if you should get a wooden or metal table, you already know the answer.
Considering you already have a wooden work table, there are ways you can make it just as good as a metal welding table. Let’s take a look at how you can renovate your wooden table for welding purposes:
Renovate the Size
Welding tables are almost always made of metals. Manufacturers make the tables maintain proper size. it is highly likely that the wood table you want to use as a welding table will not be of adequate size for welding comfortably.
If you work on large metal pieces, then having a table of 5’x5’ should suffice. Or at least go for a 4’x4′ table. The table is wood so it shouldn’t be difficult to renovate it. If your workpieces are smaller, then go for a 3’x3′ table.
If your table is bigger and you have to make it smaller, then it’s easy. But making it bigger is an intricate task that will involve lots of woodwork. You may need to get a carpenter for the renovation procedure.
Rework the Surface
The wooden surface of the table isn’t suitable for welding. There are two things you can do. One, you can put a piece of metal on the table supported by cinder blocks. This will do just fine and work as a metallic welding table. There won’t be any risk of fire. Placing the metal piece on two concrete blocks will leave some room below the metal piece, so you can attach the clamp easily.
Number two, you can put a sheet of metal on the table and strap it to the table using screws or nails. This is a permanent solution and you won’t have to lift the metal piece on the tabletop every time you weld something. A sheet of 3/8 inches thickness will do.
Do not use aluminum because it’s too lightweight and has a low melting point. Instead, go for cast iron or stainless steel sheets. Both of them are strong, durable and have good electrical conductivity, and will serve as an excellent work surface.
Rethink the Design
The metal pieces you are working on are likely to slip if you do not firmly attach them to the work table. This will impact the quality of the weld. Readymade welding tables come with a built-in clamp and lots of other accessories.
But since your wooden table was not built for welding purposes, it will lack all those features. However, you can redesign the table into something more. You can easily install a clamp on your welding table. There are lots of clamps available of various designs and quality.
You can install a tray or something similar on your table to catch debris. This will keep the surrounding area clean. You may or may not know that there are different welding positions. You will have to hold the workpiece in specific positions to perform the entire welding.
If you have an assistant, that’s good. But if you don’t, you can install braces or angled rails on your table. They will assist you in holding the workpiece in the desired position.
You can also install small clamps or hooks. While the main clamp holds the workpiece in place, the smaller clamps and hooks keep the cables away, hold the welding gun, etc.
Knowing the right welding surface is crucial for both your safety and to ensure proper weld quality. A wooden table doesn’t ensure any of those. If it disappoints you, don’t be.
You can utilize the tips I have mentioned above to turn your wooden table into a competent welding table. I hope this write-up was able to answer can your welding table be wooden or not. Have a great day!