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The Rockler T-Track Table Top
We look at the whole system
Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
Posted – 8-26-2013
Every woodworker I know could at one time or another (or lots of times) use a work surface for assembly or any of the many procedures we use in our shops that are more easily (and safely) done on a solid surface rather than your lap. Even more helpful would be a mobile surface with a versatile top to help get the most from our always-too-small shop spaces. When I saw Rocklers T-Track Table Top I was interested, when I started looking at the accessories they offer for it I had to have one. You might not need everything they offer but you can certainly build a worktable that is well suited for your shop and your needs. They will have the other accessories later when you discover they would help as well.
In this review I will look at this entire system, starting with the Rockler T-Track Table Top itself and then moving on to the related pieces. I present all of these accessories in the most logical order – tom me anyway.
Rockler T-Track Table Top
The Rockler T-Track Table Top measures 28" x 40" x 1-1/8" thick and is made from melamine-coated MDF and features a 3mm-thick black edge banding that gives it a nice finished look and protects the edges from the bumps and bangs of the shop. The sheer bulk of this super stable material makes for a very solid, flat surface that stays that way in the varying shop environment.
All of the pre-installed T-Tracks are 3/4"-wide by 3/8"-deep and are made from extruded aluminum. The tracks have been set just below the surface so objects can slide smoothly across the table. T-slots accept 5/16" T-bolts, 1/4" T-bolts and common 1/4" hex-head bolts.
The Rockler T-Track Table Top (#46654) has a street price of $229.99 (8-5-2013).
Rockler Shop Stand
The Rockler Shop Stand (#48089) is universal in that its 24"-wide by 36"-long by 32"-tall dimensions make it a great foundation for many things including a mobile workbench or assembly table and even as a base for the CNC Shark and similar machines.
The Rockler Shop Stand consists of heavy-duty 1/8”-thick steel components. The legs and stretchers are all stout and predrilled for easy assembly. Square holes make assembling the Rockler Shop Stand with the included carriage bolts an easy one-person task. The fasteners are high-grade, bright plated and the bolts even come with thread locking material already applied to them!
The upper stretchers can be installed flush with the top of the legs or they can be put 4” lower to make room for things like a drawer or shelf. The shape of the legs and stretchers make it easy to attach panels and doors to close in stand. You can also install the lower stretchers upside down so that the lip is on the bottom to make fitting panels to the frame easier.
Leveling feet with non-slip rubber pads are included that not only let you get the wobble out on uneven floors but let you fine-tune the height to match another surface in the shop. Here again, this hardware is heavy-duty and very solid.
The Rockler Shop Stand (#48089) has a street price of $159.99 (8-7-2013) which is more than decent for what you get.
Router Table Stand Casters
The Router Table Stand Casters (#47034) come in a set of four with heavy threaded shafts and large nuts for very secure mounting. The swivels are based on heavy-duty ball-bearing races that easily support the weight of your projects. The 2-1/2”-tall composite wheels are 1-3/16”-wide so they roll easily over all reasonable shop floor surfaces. The wheels themselves turn on sealed ball bearings.
When you get where the work is simply step on the foot lever on each of the Router Table Stand Casters and it not only locks the wheel itself but the swivel as well. That adds far greater stability to the table surface which can be a safety consideration when working with sharp tools.
The Router Table Stand Casters (#47034) set of four has a street price of $49.99 (8-7-2013) and that is hard to beat locally for casters of equal quality.
Hold Down Clamps
Rockler offers two sizes of Hold Down Clamps that are compatible with the Rockler T-Track Table Top. The smaller of the two (#45692) Hold Down Clamps are 3-1/2”-long by ¾”-wide and the larger size, (#35283) are 5-1/2”-long by 1-1/8”-wide. Each end of the solid aluminum bodies has a non-marring rubber tip that protects the project material and the Rockler T-Track Table Top table surface.
Both sizes come individually packaged and each with a 3”-long 5/16”-diameter T-bolt and one of Rocklers 5-star finger knobs that make tightening them down easy and surprisingly comfortable. The long bolts give both Hold Down Clamp sizes a large thickness capacity that most home shops are not going to exceed anytime soon. Add the versatility of the T-Track grid and the clamping possibilities are nearly endless.
Using the Hold Down Clamps is fast and easy thanks to the 5-star finger knob. You also do not have to change parts for major material thickness changes. Just spin the knob to get it close and then dial in the pressure you need to hold the piece steady.
The (#45692 – smaller size) Hold Down Clamps sell for $4.99 each and the larger (#35283) Hold Down Clamps sell for $10.99 each. (8-7-2013).With common sense care these Hold Down Clamps should have a lifelong service life.
Multi Track Systems
Rockler carries a full range of accessories that let you set the T-Track Table Top up for a multitude of jobs. We’ve already looked at clamping things down on the surface but there are more ways to customize this work surface.
The 2-1/4” Multi Track, (36”- #35605) and 3” Multi Track, (36”- #34262) are available individually. These Multi Tracks are aluminum extrusions that remain very straight and have been anodized for durability and appearance. The grooves on all sides (and edges) accept 1/4" t- bolts, 1/4" hex bolts and 5/16" T-bolts all common fasteners used in our shops.
The Multi Tracks sell for $28.99 each for the 2-1/4”-tall version and $37.99 each for the 3”-tall size. (8-19-2013)
Using the 1-1/4” x 2” Multi Track Brackets, (2-Pack #33338) or the 2” x 2” Multi Track Brackets (2-Pack #35961) and the T-Tracks can become a 36”-long fence or guide rail that you can use for jigs and fixtures. You can use two sections of the T-Track or a single piece that locks into the table t-Track wherever you need it. The Multi Track Brackets will also hold a single section of Multi-Track to the table surface at 90-degrees.
The 1-1/4” and 2” Multi Track Bracket sizes both sell for $19.99 each. (8-19-2013)
When making jigs or fixtures it is handy to have repeatable work stops, and to be able to put them wherever needed quickly and securely. The Rockler 3” Fence Flip Stop (#26991) and 2-1/4” Fence Flip Stop (#31214) lock into the edge groove on the Multi-Tracks so they can be positioned exactly where needed. Both of the Fence Flip Stops have a bend that lets them work even with a sacrificial face attached to the Multi-Track!
The 2-1/4” and 3” Flip Stops sell for $16.99 each. (8-19-2013)
Add the Toggle Clamp Mounting Plate (#24872) and the Quick-Set Post-Handle Clamp High Base (#29015) and you can add material securing to the jig or fixtures capabilities. This combination can be used anywhere on the surface surrounding the t-Track grid. The Toggle Clamp Mounting Plate has a grid of slots that accept just about anything that can be screwed to a surface. The hardware included with the Toggle Clamp Mounting Plate locks it to the T-Track in the table to create a solid base.
The Quick-Set Post-Handle Clamp is fully adjustable to fit all common thicknesses we deal with in the shop. The easy-to-use handle makes applying the full 350-lbs of clamping pressure (when needed) easy and repeatable.
The toggle Clamp Mounting Plate costs $7.99 each and the Quick-Set Post-Handle Clamp High Base sells for $21.99 each. (8-19-2013)
Bench Cookie 2” T-Track Risers
Rockler’s Bench Cookies were a hit when they came out because they worked so good and had so many uses around the average shop. Now they have added 2” T-Track Risers and you can give the Rockler T-Track Table Top a whole new dimension of utility.
The Rockler Bench Cookie Plus 2” T-Track Risers,( 4-Pack #46311) screw into all of the Bench Cookie Plus models with the threaded insert on the back side and provide a very stable platform for doing lots of work that is made easier with space beneath the piece being worked on. The T-bolt that actually interacts with the T-slots means you can put the 2” T-Track Risers anywhere in the grid you need them.
The 2” T-Track Risers are a bargain with a price of $10.49 (8-19-2013) for a pack of four. If you need to elevate a workpiece to more easily work on it, the 2” T-Track Risers make a bunch of sense and considering there are no moving parts to wear out they should benefit your shop for many years to come.
Rockler also offers two styles of Dust Free Shelves that come ready to mount on the leg set for the T-Track Table Top. They can also be easily mounted on a wall. These shelf units both have an expanded metal bottom that lets dust fall right through to keep your tools and supplies clean and ready for work. Both trays are 24”-long and 5”-wide which provides plenty of room for lots of tools and supplies. The deeper version can even hold quart cans of finish!
Both trays have two mounting hole options with one being round holes spaced to match up with pre-drilled holes in the Rockler Shop Stand legs. Incidentally, I found that these holes in the legs are perfect for a 10-24 tap so you can mount the shelves with a simple machine screw.
The shallow tray (#45605) sells for $19.99 each, (8-19-2013) and the 5”-deep version (#48477) costs $24.99. Both prices are way too reasonable for me to try and make something that works as good or installs so easily.
Dust Right Cord and Hose Holder
Finally, Rockler offers the Dust Right Cord and Hose Holder (#47321) that keeps power cords from driving you nuts while working on the table. It also holds a common shop-vac hose. The Dust Right Cord and Hose Holder mounts to any side of the Rockler T-Track Table Top using a finger-operated screw clamp.
The Dust Right Cord and Hose Holder is all steel and surprisingly heavy-duty. The mounting clamp itself is rugged and has a locking knob that lets you put the post at whatever height best suits your needs. The post is actually two pieces locked together on a heavy threaded stud. The pieces of the post are made from very thick-walled steel that means it is not going to bend unless you do something dramatically wrong in your shop that involves something substantial - like a Buick.
The Dust Right Cord and Hose Holder sells for $29.99 (8-19-2013) and since you can move it from one surface (with a lip) to another you can stretch the cost-per-use all over the shop.
So there you have it, the very nice Rockler T-Track Table Top that itself can be used for all sorts of surfaces including an assembly table or being mounted to a large drill press and more. For making temporary jigs and fixtures the Rockler T-Track Table Top would seem to have few peers. With the accessories available you can fine-tune your Rockler T-Track Table Top to fit your needs precisely or build up your own system over time as you identify tasks in your shop.
I have tried all of these components in my shop and have yet to find anything that does not exceed reasonable expectations. The Rockler Shop Stand and the Router Table Stand Casters are tough, super-strong and made to last longer than you will. The Hold Down Clamps, Multi Tracks, Toggle Clamp Mounting Plate, Quick-Set Post-Handle Clamp and Bench Cookie Plus 2” T-Track Risers give you many combinations to choose from to fit your needs today and far down the road.
If you have ever found yourself standing in your shop looking for a place to assemble something, or needing a jig or fixture to make a job easier or more accurate, (or safer) this Rockler T-Track Table Top system could be one of the better things you buy with your tool budget.
Visit the Rockler T-Track Table Top page at Rocklers web site – Click Here
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