Any ideas for new joining table?

Tommy P

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Nov 16, 2003
Mid North Indiana
Just moved my frame workroom out of my basement and down to our retail gallery due to the new space we were able to aquire. Now I can sell and produce product during the day and free up my evenings.

I just about have everything in it's new home. I find that I need to finally replace the makeshift vise/joining table that I have been using to join my frames.

I've checked a few books on workroom fixtures but have'nt found anything to suit.

I would appreciate any thoughts, plans or pictures on what others have found to be workable. I have two vises and a manual ITW underpinner.

Tom, Congradulations, and welcome to the world of those who can come home at night and relax....

oh heck, who am I kidding, I don't even KNOW those people.... :D

we also have a foot power underpinner. I'd wouldn't give it up.

As for "framers vises" I have four. We mounted them to plates of 3/4" plywood to give them a secure foot. then when I don't need them, I can store them on the full sizes shelf under the table top. I cover the table top with two sheets of x-board and when it's getting funky I throw em out.
Baer, thanks for the input. With your "system" do you have to use somethings as "shims" under the rails of your mouldings as they are joined in a vise? To give support?

That is what I am currently doing as my vises are mounted on a table top. Thus they are elevated the height of the particular vise. Then I use shims to hold the rails (larger sizes) about level to the bed of the vise.

This is what I am trying to get away from!! I'm invisioning a table that the vises would be "set down into" to just have the top of said table providing the support sans shimming.

Hope I made myself clear.....and I do enjoy having my evenings free!!!

In the book how to builf frameshop fixtures, on page 28 there is a table that shows what you want - the vice is recessed and the frame lies on the table top. This book is available through the pfa bookstore - worth its price. I've used it as a "guide", but have found that I have my own preferences on construction of things. I prefer my vnailer - a used one might be almost as much as the cost of lumber today to build a table!

my 2 cents

My vises are mounted on two corners of the joining table, recessed the height of (or just a hair less than) the table top ... if shimming under the rails is required, a strip of mat boardwork work great. For added support, the vises are bolted onto the recessed corners through 1/4" steel plates. Like a ROCK, they are...

Here are some shots of my fitting table that I built 16 years ago. I designed it to accomodate one Stanley vise but you could easily put another one of another corner of the table. The only concern I have is how you would join adjacent corners of the same frame. I have never found a real need for a second vise although I do have one more stored in the bottom shelf under the pictured vise. I still use it for joining shadowboxes and I glue and nail each corner consecutively in the one vise.


The bed of the vise is flush with the table top and, if I have an extremely large frame to join, I swivel the vise to the left to clear the underpinner and have at it. The table supports the full frame from the first join to the finished frame.

I also incorporated some drawers for holding nail hole putty, spring clamps, joining books, and other assorted "must haves" for the joining table. I have adjustable shelves to the left of the drawers where I store short cutoffs and other junk.


Here is a shot of the other side of the same table. There are more drawers and adjustable shelves on this side also. You could make deeper shelves to hold longer cutoffs if you wanted to but this layout has worked for me since I built this table. The dimensions of the table are 39" high, the optimum working height for my 5'11" well weathered frame :cool: and the top is over 4' across and over 6' from the wall to the underpinner. I added the shelf for the Euro underpinner when I bought it but everything else was built as a unit out of Baltic birch plywood and oak or pine trim.

(Be sure to incorporate some toe space under your work tables. It makes life alot more pleasant to work without kicking the bottom of the bench all the time. I located a framework of 2x4's recessed under the tables for that purpose.)


The neat thing about all my hand built tables is the fact that, despite their large size, I can move them through any 3'0" exterior door should I need to relocate them. (I have moved these tables 3 times in thet past 16 years and never had a problem getting them out of or into a building through the front doors.)
Thanks everyone....FG, your table is very much like what I had in mind. Your underpinner built into the corner has my mind a thinkin'!! Thanks for the photos....
You could use the Joann's Etc. joining table. Its called Larson Juhl.
Outsourceing cuts down on space and overhead. (LOL)Just kidding!!!!!!

Nicetable framerguy
I use a set-up that was here when I got this shop. It utilizes 4 Stanley type vises; two mounted on a straight rail of oak, the other two on oak rails that swing out from the base and can be adjusted to any size frame. There was a picture of this set-up in the 'homemade equipment' section. It has worked extremely well for me. I use it to hold the corners after glueing, then v-nail the corners after the glue sets. I use a 'Gentle' manual v-nailer.

Keep in mind that the way I have mounted my V-nailer is convenient to operate but it brings the joined frame legs out away from the work table. I thought that turning the V-nailer the opposite direction would be too awkward to operate although it would give full support to the frame being joined.

Here is a photo of a simple support that I posted sometime earlier in a thread and couldn't find it to give you a URL to it. It is built out of scrap foamcore and is the same height as the V-nailer bed.


If you build a couple of these you can solve that frame support problem easily and still be able to move the foam pedestals around with one hand when needed.