free simple web templates

The Eli-Tables Story

From 1989 (until I was retired, by my legs in 2011) I worked as a Theatrical Stage Carpenter and Stagehand.  From 1967-1989 I had tried to make my way as an actor. During, betwixt and between I also did one-off side gigs designing/building/installing custom furniture and casegoods.

In the Theater Shops we used shop-built wooden folding trestle horses (of the kind you can now get in plastic) to support work.  Or, we made tables by throwing something hard and flat across a pair (or more.) 

But, the problem with saw-horses is that they're either too close together; or they're too far apart. When you're making a cut, either the off-cut must hang overboard unsupported; or, if the cut is between horses, as you get to the end of the cut, the saw binds up.

The problem with a table is that the top is always in the way. You can't get to the underside of something you're working on; and, just like with a pair of horses you're aways in danger of cutting into them. There's no easy way to clamp or bolt to these style horses; because they present no surface perpendicular to the line of clamping force for the clamp to act against. Temporarily fastening a sheet of ply with sheet rock screws is the same problem as cutting into them (for wooden horses); and not really possible for their plastic and metal descendants.

It's often essential to have portable bench-type power-tools to hand. You can use them on the floor; or you can have a separate portable stand for each.  Ony the most expensive stands have adequate outfeed and side support for these type of tools.

Sometimes indiviuals and groups of carpenters work separately on components which must subsequently come back into perfect registration. To accomplish this a master layout is made on 4x8 sheets of 1/4" Luan ply laid over the construction deck (sometimes as large as 20'x80'.)  Wouldn't it be nice to be able to separate the layout into sections, work your parts at standing height (and not on the floor) without constantly getting in each other's way? Secure in the knowledge that since you're all working from the same layout; it will all come together in the end.

It was from these issues that the Eli-Tables concept, a modular, infintely expandable and re-configurable work support, arose.

It's a table that has no top. Its multiple paralell rails create a virtual surface to which work (or tools) may be readily mounted and dismounted; on a grid, constant across any sized Eli-Table; or any number of Eli-Tables wherever they may ultimately be.

The only limitation on the size of any particular Eli-Table is the number of parts availaible to you at that time. The smallest footprint that produces the 'virtual surface' effect is 3' x 6'. The only upper limit to the size of any particular Eli-Table is the number of parts available to the user at that moment. The number of unique possible configurations increases factorially as the number of parts increases.

It is the modularity of the Eli-Tables concept that produces these and other remarkable opportunities. But, it remains an open question whether those who would benefit from it, will even have the opportunity to evaluate it.

[Right-Click on images below to view full size]

Lab Prototype 

Click for video

Users of Eli-Tables

Anyone who works on a jobsite or in a multi-use space, who needs to support either workpieces (of any material, size or description) and/or portable bench-type power tools; at a convenient working height.

This includes:

Professional Residential and Commercial Construction/Maintenance/Renovation providers

Do-it-Yourselfers and Owner/Operators

Installers of every description

Indoor and Outdoor Event service providers

TV, Film and Theatrical Production companies

Touring Attractions

Reconfigurable Light Manufacturing Facilities

Local, state and federal government construction and maintenance operations

Organizations which provide disaster recovery services or community based construction projects

The military


PO Box 14
Monticello, NY 12701-0014