Perfect Worktable?


True Grumbler
Feb 21, 2006
We think we've discovered the perfect work surface for our framing tables.
We cut a sheet of 3/4 white melamine to size and applied the cheapest, brightest self adhesive vinyl tile we could find. Ended up at $.49/sf at Lowes.
Installed in a matter of minutes. Its semi-soft to protect frames, doesn't scratch frames, cleans super easy and as a bonus it brightened the workroom!
We used melamine hoping that the tile can be removed easier due to the slick surface.
We edged the top with 1x2 poplar for a finished look.
If you're re-doing tables, take a look at this option. So far, we love it!
Good idea, but I like white 4 mm Coroplast. It is bright, makes a good cutting surface, and it's replaceable in pieces up to 48" x 96" under $8.00.
What a great idea! I'm currently covering my worktables with layers and layers of brown kraft paper. Was looking for something a little more permanent, but never liked carpet because it can scratch some of the frames. Any problems with junk getting down in the cracks?
I use a 4'x8' sheet of 3/4" plywood edged with hardwood that sticks up 1/8" from the plywood surface. For about $10 you can get a sheet of white tile-board to drop in the space. It's smooth, bright, easy to clean, long lasting and dirt cheap to replace.

Pat :D
Just FYI...we didn't go the Coroplast route because we wanted something a bit more permanent, although Coroplast is probably the best option if you're replacing often.
Pat, I looked at the tile board, but we liked the vinyl tile because it's more resilient (soft). Mary, the space between tiles is almost negligable if you're careful when installing, but the few cracks we do have clean out very easy with compressed air.
Anyone try a slight tilt to the table? Not much, just 2 or 3 deg. would seem be more ergonomic.
I would think a hard surface would scratch a frame. I dirty hard surface....fah get aboutit.

Does it not?
you know what we like and have fallen in love with? It's expensive, but we use those self healing cutting mats that quilters use to cut their fabric.

They seem to last forever - we've had ours for about a year and they are still in great shape! And we cut a lot of stuff with razor blades, etc on them.
Jim, we also use coroplast, but we find that smooth soft gold and silver finish are easily rubbed off if they slide around on the table. We put down a thin sheet of the white foam stuff we recieve our chops in for those frames. I find it a bit of a hassle. And every once and while someone forgets and then we have to fix a finish(yuck)

Does that happen to you? Do you have a solution for this?

I've been using coroplast on my work surface for a couple years now after reading Jim's suggestion to use it. Best surface I have used in 20 years of framing. You can cut in to it, putty and glue and paint clean right up with it too. I've only changed it twice in two years time although I will admit I have been too lazy to change it the past couple months and I have been back to the craft paper thing. Everytime I cut through it or get putty on it I ask myself why I haven't installed a new piece of coroplast. :mad:
Sandra, I'd love to get the self healing mats but how easy are they to clean up?
They stain a little but we just spray with windex or what ever and wipe them down. Easy schmeesy...
I have a 12' x 6' workbench with an underpinner sunk into one corner and a 60" matcutter sunk into one end.

The whole thing is covered in a ribbed rubber sheet, that is covered in 1.5mm perspex bar for the glass cleaning area which is left uncovered.

The perspex is handy for putting orders, notes, year planners, etc underneath, we also cover the matting area with glass interleaving paper and lay a sheet of quilt wadding in another area where we stretch needlework.
Originally posted by Judi:
Jim, we also use coroplast, but we find that smooth soft gold and silver finish are easily rubbed off if they slide around on the table...Does that happen to you? Do you have a solution for this?
The Coroplast has quite a smooth surface and it is much less abrasive than any paper, board, or carpet I've seen.

The best solution is to avoid sliding the frame on any surface. You are right to use that "carrier" of thin packing foam; it grips the moulding to avoid abrasions, and it slides on the table with a gentle tug. There's also a rubber-like material full of holes, used for shelf lining, which works great as a frame carrier or tray.
We have had good results with release paper. We Cut a new one for the top layer of the vacuum press, move the old top to the bottom and move the old bottom to the frame assembly table. Thrifty! Thrifty! It is almost totally nonabrasive and washes gently with some glass cleaner in the unlikely circumstance that soil sticks to it...
You can always tell when things are slowing down, people have time to screw around with tables n such.