Monday, October 5, 2015

DIY Table Saw

Not too long ago I bought my first table saw.


This was regarded as a "beginners" table saw, but boy it did a great job!  I even began making sleds, fences and all sorts of jigs for this saw.


Sadly one day too soon it stopped working.  I took it apart to clean it, hoping that that's all it needed.


Sadly when I got to the motor armature there were fragmented pieces of metal falling out.  This thing was a goner.  I'm just lucky none of those metal fragments came shooting out of the saw when it was in use.


I put my saw pieces to rest in a bin while 'Taps' played in my head.  The old saw stand and body were temporarily used as a fan stand in the corner of the workshop.


I don't want another 'beginner' saw table, but an 'intermediate' saw table is very expensive.  So while I save my pennies and dimes, I'll have to make use of my circular saw.


I also have extra work tables in my workshop that I think I will utilize to make a new saw table.  If you'd like to check out my workshop table build, click here.


A few years back I made a small table saw using my circular saw and a small wood table I quickly assembled.


This thing was SCARY!  I won't be making this thing again.


But I had the right idea back then.  So the day after my store-bought table saw broke I went out and bought a 3/4" thick sheet of plywood.


I removed the old 1/2" thick workshop table top...


...and I removed the center support beam.


I then used my T-square to mark the position where the blade will protrude through the new table top.


I used a Kreg saw jig to correctly align the saw on the table.  The blade will be perpendicular to the front and back of the work table, and parallel to the sides.


Since precision is essential, I measured twice...


...and cut once.


With the cut made, I next drilled holes in the foot of the circular saw.


These holes let me mount it to the bottom of the new table top with screws.


I then flipped the new top over, and made sure the blade was correctly aligned to the table.


I also used my precision ruler and level to make sure the blade was straight.


Next I aligned the back of the table top to the back of the table frame and attached hinges.


This will allow me to swing the front of the table top up so I can make adjustments to the height of the saw blade.


Then I did a little sanding to make sure the table top was smooth.


I attached a surge protector with an ON/OFF switch to the side of the table.  The circular saw will be plugged into this, thus making an easy way to turn the saw on and off.


The circular saw itself has a zip tie around the trigger.  So as soon as I flip the switch on the surge protector, the saw will turn on.


I then used a clamping straight edge as a temporary fence and cut my first piece of wood.


The cuts are straight and square!


So there I have it!  A new table saw!


The blade doesn't go up as high as my other table saw did, but it can still cut 1.5" thick wood - which is the thickest I've ever cut.


But I did made some nice sleds for my old table saw:  A straight cut sled and a 45 degree angle sled.  I'd hate to put these in the dumpster.


So why not use them for this new table???


Since both sleds were made for use on my old table, the guides are the same.  So I marked the positioning of each guide.


Then using my T-Square, I drew in the tracks onto the new table top.


Using my precision ruler, I measured the height of the guides.


I then put a half inch straight flute bit in my router (the same thickness of the guides) and raised the height of the bit to match the height of the guides.


I set up a fence and used the router to make the tracks for the guides.


This took me a while to do since I wanted to be exact.  If the measurements and cuts were even slightly off, the sleds won't work.


Luckily my perseverance paid off and I got it right!


I tested out the straight sled and it worked well, but it was a little stiff.


I used sandpaper wrapped around a half inch piece of plywood and sanded the tracks well.


That did the trick and now both sleds work well.


The last thing I'm going to make for this table saw right now is a rip fence. I'm going to make this fence as simple as possible - no gadgets or rails to keep it locked onto the table.  Just a simple floating fence that I can align using a T-square.  To make it, I cut 3 strips of wood using the saw and a clamping guide.


On one of the pieces of wood I drew out a few 45-degree triangles.


I then cut them out with my miter saw.


First the 90-degree cuts, then the 45-degree cuts.


I then took my other 2 pieces of wood and glued/nailed them together, making sure they were perfectly square.


Next I glued and nailed on the triangles for extra support.  I made sure not to place any of the triangles near the front and back edges.  You'll see why in a few steps.


The tips of the triangles were poking over the top of the fence, so I leveled them by using a small hand saw.


I then placed this fence on the table saw, made sure it was straight using a T-square...


...and I clamped both ends to the table.  This is why I made sure the triangles were not at the edges.


Then I tested it out, and it worked perfectly.  Now I can cut multiple boards to be the same width.


Lastly I drilled some screws into the front and side to attach my home made safety pushers to the table.



I also attached a square ruler and the push stick that came with my old table saw.


I also glued on small pieces of wood around the circular saw's foot, ensuring that when removed, the saw can be put back in the exact same spot.


And with that, this table saw is complete and ready for action!


This table saw took me a combined 3-4 hours or so to make.


This circular saw itself is easy to access to change the saw depth and angle (Although I have not yet set up the saw to cut 45-degree angles).  The saw is also easy to remove and replace should I need it for another job.


All-in-all I am ecstatic about my new saw table!  The table top is much larger than my other table saw was and I also put to use a workshop table that was being used mostly for storage.


Thanks for reading!

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