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Portable Tuning Table - cheap and easy!

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

My daughter has progressed a bit as a ski racer and I am going to be doing a lot more "ski tech" than I have in the past and I will have to be mobile.  My research has come across some fantastically expensive ski tuning benches and some sorta reasonably priced ones that are kinda flimsy.  So... I started thinking and poking around.


I am going to use a folding metal sawhorse from Home Depot ($29).  Looks decent, little heavier than you might guess.  Good online reviews, will definitely hold the weight of a pair of skis!  Legs are adjustable for height.  Folds very compact with the legs self contained in the "body"



Poking around on the sawhorse reviews, it was noted that putting some 1/4" bolts in the ends will "lock" the legs open.  So I bought four 1/4"x 3/4" bolts ($.44)


Pics of where they go on the ends to "lock the legs"


Very stable now...


Then, for the "table" part... Stair tread looked perfect... 11.5" wide  pretty sturdy, not too heavy (Pine... could do oak), 48" long  ($10.55)


Then some Minwax on the top (few coats are coming to make a hard and "cleanable" surface ($8) and some wood screws (<$1.50)


I have sanded and put on one coat.  I will drill some extra holes to mount the legs in more places, but this is starting to looks very sharp, portable, and functional.  A company in NH cuts out a hand hole to help carry it.  I may mount the top just a bit off center so if I am pushing hard with hard wax (Bullet) it will be more centered, but I anticipate not even needing to do so.


More pics and tips as I finish this up.  Too excited not to share.


Any ideas or recs from the community?




post #2 of 13
How's its stability on its long axis? Would it move back and forth while scraping, brushing, tuning, etc.?
post #3 of 13
Points for creativity.! Just watch that The more you add the less portable it becomes though and the more work to set it up/ take down. (I used to haul. My holmenkol table around bit it just got too heavy!). I picked up the portable swix one on CL for $40 instead.

I have also found in a lot of motels the vanity unit is set up perfectly to bolt the vises on! smile.gif
post #4 of 13
I'd be a bit concerned about the long edge relative to the legs. Seems like you're going to be adding vises, which can be heavy, to that edge. And it's pretty far out from the top of the base, making it a bit tippy. I'd make the surface narrower because the point where the top of the legs come in contact with the base is pretty narrow. If the legs had been more spread at the top, I'd think it would be fine.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the feedback!


I feel like it will be quite solid as it is designed to take a lot of lumber, but as pointed out... it is the length to length movement that will be critical.


It will all be assembled tomorrow or Friday as I want a lot of coats on the wood in case it really works.


Will very likely mount the top sheet slightly off center to avoid any "tippiness" when pushing a bit.  We shall see!


There are some legs I found after the fact that would clearly rock, but we shall see as this is super compact.

post #6 of 13

Been using one very similar for a few years - my top is much thinner just allowing vices, one addition I made is a large wall hook screwed into one end of the board which serves two purposes, hand the iron on it whilst waxing and you can also hang it up.


Its fine for kids skis but as soon as you try adult length it all gets a bit unstable so I use a workmate for those - happy tuning !



post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 

Works incredibly well!  Table moves just a smidge and then "sets" and has no movement.  Total success.  Only change might be to have some sort of rubber feet for the legs if on a hard surface.  Easy enough.  a few quick additional pics


Pictured with 165 SL skis

With vices... (I know... not clamped)

Carry handle built in...

Bottom side... against the wall

post #8 of 13

Well done. 

I have been using a similar system for number of years now.

I find that as I am only polishing edges, and waxing when on the road I have done away with vices and find that the ski is stable when tipped on edge lying on the bindings.

To keep the ski in place for scraping wax I cut hole in the centre of the plank just large enough forth bindings to drop through.  

The system works for me as a travel kit.  

post #9 of 13
Great detail and table there Brad! I actually needed a portable table for my studio, this fit the bill perfect. I now have an identical setup (right down to the beast vice smile.gif) I'm planning on rubberizing the feet for use on my hard floor. Thanks!
post #10 of 13
Question for you...I'm putting together the same type of table (great idea!). Do you find the wood secrews hold when folding or transporting? I'm thinking about adding bolts in the 2 larger holes (1 on each end). I like the look of the clean table top, but wonder if the bolts might give more support. What do you think?

post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
It would not be necessary to add any bolts. With the volume of screws used there is plenty of hold. You will be fine keeping the top clean. Have at it!
post #12 of 13
Thanks for the idea and the reply!
post #13 of 13

Here's one I just built for my daughter; she needed it for college ski racing....


It's completely stable, quite rigid, and breaks down easily. The 'Workmate' portion doubles as a repair stand for her bikes with a short section of wood for mounting at the dropouts, AND (the really killer app), I showed her how it can easily be used as her first kitchen table once she's graduated and out on her own! :)

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