If you’ve woodworked for more than about five minutes, you likely spent most of that time looking for ways to safely hold a workpiece while you do things to it: routing, scraping, sanding, cutting, carving, whatever. It’s hard to debark your block while playing cat and mouse with feral dogwood. To help with that, our sponsor Rockler sent us their T-track table top (plus a few accessories and a steel 24” x 36” shop stand) to play around with. So let’s check out some of the many ways this versatile work handling solution can help move your projects along.
It’s T-Time In The Workshop
Aesthetically, T-track is easy to appreciate, with its beautiful anodized finish. But the more you explore the possibilities, the more you realize just how much it brings to the party. I can say with confidence that nearly every assembly table, jig and tool station (router tables, CNC beds, drill press tables, etc…) can benefit in some way from the addition of T-track.
The T-track table top by Rockler Woodworking And Hardware is a convenient way to add T-track functionality to your shop, while also providing another scarce commodity we shop dwellers can never get enough of: horizontal surfaces.
Since I plan to actually use this table top for its intended purpose(s), I’m going to go out on a limb and vow something that’s seemingly impossible for the average woodworker: I will keep it clean and free of clutter! You might laugh, but an uncluttered horizontal surface in a woodworking shop is like a unicorn surfing on a rainbow; it’s something you may see only once in your entire life. In my shop, I’ve yet to witness either.
Accessorize Your T-Track Table Top Like A Rock(ler) Diva!
Rockler’s T-track table top is a hefty melamine-covered beast that will remain flat indefinitely. But on its own, it’s “just” a nice workshop tabletop. To unlock its rockstar potential you need accessories, various fashionable bits and bobs that lock into position anywhere along the T-track (except for the centers of the six intersections).
There are a lot of T-track accessories available to fill your woodworking needs. In this review’s featured image (courtesy of Rockler.com), for example, long and short (available in two orientations) T-track stops are being used in conjunction with Rockler auto-lock T-track clamps to secure a cabinet face frame while sanding.
If you can’t find the accessory you want or need, you can make your own using 5/16” or 1/4” T-bolts or 1/4” hex bolts and star knobs. As cliché as it may sound, the number of possible accessories, configurations and uses is virtually unlimited.
Track-Tacular Holding Solutions – Rockler T-Track Table Top
I have a small variety of T-track accessories on hand. But as my collection grows, so will the opportunities to put the T-track table to use. Above, you see where I used a piece of scrap wood as a makeshift fence. You could just as easily attach a Rockler multi-track fence with a pair of multi-track brackets.
The beauty of T-track is how effortlessly accessories can be installed, positioned and detached. Usually without a need for tools. And it’s easy to create your own custom attachments to meet whatever need arises.
T-Track Table “Top”? What About The Bottom? Meet Rockler’s 24” x 36” Shop Stand.
We’ve talked about how awesome Rockler’s T-track table top is. But, as the name suggests, you’ll need something to put it on. Many people opt to build their own base cabinet; that was my original plan. Some have even used an old kitchen base cabinet. But the more I thought about it, the more appealing Rockler’s metal shop stand became.
Rockler’s 24” x 36” shop stand can be used for just about any tool or work station you choose, but it’s also perfectly sized for use with the T-track table top. It’s rock solid (1/8” steel), easy to assemble and provides good bones for whatever features you might want to add. Not including the feet/casters, it measures 32” tall.
The stand includes leveling feet. Or you can upgrade to optional locking casters. The stand is sold separately, but it’s definitely a great option to consider.
It’s All About That Base (Cabinet), ‘Bout That Base (Cabinet), No Table.
Alright, fine, it’s really all about that T-track table top. But what’s underneath it is where you can add some personal touches and make it your own. So, in that respect, the base can be just as important and special as the table.
The legs and stretchers have lots of extra holes for accessory mounting and customization options. For variation, the top stretchers can be attached a little ways down, leaving space for a drawer at the top. Or if you’d prefer to just have a bank of drawers, Rockler offers a drawer mounting kit that might interest you.
Suits You To A T-Track – Rockler T-Track Table Top And Steel Shop Stand
In addition to the fact that both products would be welcome additions to any woodworking shop, they are heavy and substantial enough to hold up to daily use. The T-track table top weighs in a little over 44 lbs. and the stand tips the scales at just over 34.
Now that we’ve had some time with it, would we recommend the T-track table top? And what about the shop stand? Yes and yes! Granted, they aren’t cheap; but they also aren’t “cheap”. Both are built to last a lifetime. And if you add up the cost of materials, you’ll see they are actually pretty fairly priced. But most importantly, they are items you’ll actually use on a regular basis, unlike that novelty gizmo you bought for that one project that one time then shoved to the back of a dusty shelf in a forgotten corner.
You can purchase Rockler’s T-Track Table Top for around $250
Get the Rockler 24” x 36” Shop Stand for around $150