Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Table Saw Cart 2
Not too long ago I made a work table extension out of leftover material that incorporated my bench top table saw.
Then after a few weeks I made the part that holds the saw independent from the table, essentially making it a table saw cart.
Now even though this cart does a great job, there are some drawbacks. For starters I made the sides out of leftover OBS board - which I don't like. I think I want the sides for the whole cart to be a solid piece of plywood.
Another thing that I'm not overly fond of is the dust collection - which is a simple drawer in the back that folds down. It works just fine - I just think I'd like it to be in the front for easier access.
The last thing are the casters - which work great and are easy enough to lock. But when my workshop floor gets dusty the locking casters don't always keep the whole stand still. More often than not I rest my foot on the bottom shelf to keep it in place while using the saw.
One last thing I think I'd like are some expansions on the side and back for larger pieces of wood - similar to what I did with my Miter Saw Cart. When not in use, these extension arms fold down.
So I designed a new cart for the table saw. Like the Miter saw cart, I incorporated extensions on both sides, and on the back - all supported by a diagonal beam.
This cart will have the same casters, making it easy to move...
...but when I need it to be stationary, 2 legs will swing down and lock. This will also lift the table to be slightly higher than the casters.
The dust collection will be underneath the saw, and a door on the front will open up making it easier to clean.
The plans above are were just a start. I really like the new legs and the cart overall, but I'm not totally sold on the expansion arms. I fear they may be too large and heavy, so I simplified my plans and made it just a cart without the extensions - I will add the arms later.
I should be able to make everything I need for the basic cart from one sheet of 4'x8' plywood.
With my revised plans complete I went out and bought some wood. To make things easy for me I had the people at the store cut down the sheet into smaller pieces.
As always I start off by marking the pieces for cutting.
First I'll cut the boards for the sides. Since they're both the same size, I clamped them together and cut them with my circular saw.
Then I measured and marked the angle for the front slope.
I then cut it out with the circular saw.
Next I repeated the process with the 2 bottom shelves.
Once cut, I made pocket holes on the sides of each shelf.
Before I begin assembly I sanded all the boards to be smooth.
Then I marked the positions of the 2 bottom shelves on the sides.
Next I attached the bottom shelf to one side of the cart, making sure everything is level and square. For this bottom shelf the pocket holes are exposed, but that's ok since the bottom shelf will be for storage.
Next I attached the other side of the cart.
To make sure the middle shelf is level (and easy to attach) I cut some spacers out of leftover wood.
These spacers go against the sides...
...and hold the shelf up.
After screwing in the shelf the spacers were removed.
Next I need to attach the wood frame that the table saw sits on.
This meant removing the saw and disassembling most of the old cart.
The frame was attached to the old cart with screws through the top, but for the new cart I'll be using pocket screws. So new pocket holes were drilled in the sides.
OK, here comes the fun part. I put the table saw upside-down on my work table.
Then I placed the new cart upside-down and aligned it with the saw.
Then I fitted the old frame on top of the bottom of the saw. The width is perfect...
...but the frame is a little too long.
To fix this I measured how much the frame was sticking out...
...then I removed the back of the frame and trimmed the sides.
Then I drilled new pocket holes...
...and reassembled the frame. Now it fits perfectly. I then proceeded to attach the frame to the sides of the cart with pocket screws.
While the table saw was in place I made pencil marks for the 3 holes located on both sides of the saw's table. These holes are for mounting the table saw top to the cart's sides.
I then removed the cart, but kept it upside-down on the floor. Knowing how thick the legs and feet will be, I drew guides on the bottom of the cart.
I then removed the casters from the old saw table cart and placed them on the new cart. I kept the casters away from the guides that way they do not interfere later.
Then I put the cart right side-up.
Next I drilled holes where I made the pencil marks earlier.
Then I put the table saw in place...
...and attached the table saw to the cart on the sides with bolts, nuts and washers...
...as well as washers and screws on the bottom.
Next it was time to work on the back.
I misjudged how much wood I had for the back, so I had to improvise a little. Instead of covering the entire back, I'll just cover the dust collection and bottom shelf areas. I drew guides...
...and cut the pieces with the circular saw.
Then I used the table saw to trim up the 2 pieces.
Then I sanded...
...drilled pocket holes...
...and attached the backs with pocket screws.
The dust collection area is completely sealed up on all sides but the front.
Because of the limited wood I had the lower draw has a bit of a gap...
...but that's okay since this area is just for storage.
Now it was time to make the legs & feet. Using the table saw I cut several strips of plywood.
4 pieces were glued and screwed together to make the 2 legs.
Then 4 smaller blocks were cut at the miter saw...
...and glued/nailed to make the feet.
Next I attached hinges to the new legs...
...and then attached the legs to the cart.
And the cart is now immobile. And I'm sorry for boasting, but these legs are very strong, level and the cart DOES NOT MOVE AT ALL! Not even with all that dust on the floor. This thing is very, very sturdy! I don't even need the wood locks I made in my plans.
But if I fold up the legs I don't want them dragging against the floor like that when I move the cart around.
So I bought some barrel bolts.
Using a pencil I marked where the bolt will go into the legs.
Then I drilled a hole for the bolt.
And lastly I screwed the hardware in place.
Now I can fold up the legs and lock them in place with the barrel bolts.
And when I want to stand it on its legs, I pull up the barrel bolts and lift the table so the legs fold down and in place.
With that a success, I stopped for a little while to assemble my new Grr-ripper by Microjig I received in the mail.
The Grr-ripper is a versatile push paddle that I can use to safely and accurately cut wood on my table saw. You can visit Microjig's website and see what all the hubbub is about by clicking here.
Now it was time to work on the front drawer, however I don't have any wood that will fill that area perfectly. I also didn't make the face frame that my plans called for, but that's okay - I like it without the face frame.
But I will need a smaller area around the dust collection for a hinged door. So I cut 2 pieces of some thin plywood...
...and glued/screwed them to the sides of the dust collection area.
Next I cleaned up my workshop for the night and headed inside to revise my SketchUp plans. I made a revised door for the front, incorporating the new pieces of wood. I also revised the arm extensions slightly.
With my new plans looking good I called it a night. The next day I went back to my home center and bought the new wood needed.
The first thing I started with is marking the board I'll be using for the door.
I cut it to width with the cross cut sled on the table saw.
Then I used my new Grr-ripper to help trim the length.
Next hinges and a knob were added...
...and then attached.
Inside is a magnetic clasp to help keep the door closed.
With that done it's time to make the table top extensions. I started with cutting the boards that will be used as the diagonal supports.
Using my 45-degree miter half sled, I began cutting the ends of the diagonals.
The 45-degree cuts at both ends will make sure they are sitting flush against the bottom of the extensions, and the sides of the cart.
Next I cut 4 pieces of 1x2 wood which will be the stops for the diagonals.
Now it's time to do the extension tops. Using my circular saw and a guide, I cut a 2'x4' sheet of plywood in half. I then trimmed the width of each board on the table saw.
Before I attach the extensions I need to cut out 3 notches on each side to go around the 3 bolts on the side of the cart.
I cut the notches out with the jigsaw...
...and then rounded the cuts with a drum sanding attachment for my drill.
Now the extensions can sit flush on the edge of the cart.
To make sure the extensions are level with the top of the saw table I turned the whole cart upside-down and laid one of the extensions in place.
I then attached 2 large strap hinges to both the extension and the cart.
Next I propped the diagonal in place so the mitered edges were flush with the surfaces, and then glued and nailed the stops in place.
I repeated the process on the other side.
And then I flipped the whole thing over again.
Then I lifted each extension and put the diagonal in place.
It worked and it worked well! The extensions and saw table are all completely level! And they're quite sturdy and strong as well. These extensions will have no problem handling the wood I place on them.
On my miter saw stand the diagonals were easily mounted on the sides. I don't have that luxury here, but they fit on both sides of the table saw itself.
I then did some rearranging in my garage and moved the saw table cart back near the garage door.
This makes it easier to clean any saw dust after cutting.
Also this corner of the garage has my very long extension cord, which means I can move this cart pretty far.
With the side extension arms all done I now need to figure out how and if to make the out feed table for the back.
So back to SketchUp! After a lot of playing around I found a solution that might work. This involves having a board with some guides on the bottom...
...that will line up and "lock" in place with 2 arms from the back of the cart.
When not in use the arms fold flat against the back of the cart and the out feed table can be mounted towards the bottom.
I opted to go with a smaller piece of wood on the back for easier storage.
And I have a lot of leftover wood to choose from.
The supports will be made out of some leftover 1x12 pine boards. I drew the shape I wanted to cut out...
...and then cut it out with the jigsaw.
Then I sanded the edges smooth.
Next I moved the cart out and lifted the ends to put the feet in place and then it hit me - the additions have made this cart HEAVY.
The weight creates some problems. For one thing, can the casters support the weight? Is the cart I built strong enough for constant lifting? If I had to guess I'd say that the cart with the saw and all the sleds inside, and various amounts of saw dust weighs close to...a lot. I'm positive everything will hold together. But here's another problem - When I lift the cart to set up the legs I lift it by the metal table saw top.
One hand on one end of the front...
...and hand on the other end of the back. If I put the out feed stands on the back then I will no longer have any leverage for lifting the cart up.
While I pondered if it was worth adding the out feed table I decided to sand the whole cart smooth.
When finished I decided I really didn't need the out feed table, and here's why: When I designed and built this I purposely made it a lot shorter than the previous cart and saw table I had. The height of the cart now is about waist-high - around 32 inches tall.
This means I can easily see everything that's happening on the table top. For me, this makes it easier to measure things by eye. My worktables are a good 5-6 inches taller, and although that's not too much, it does change the over head view a lot for me. Also, the shorter height means I can reach over better and grab pieces easily before they fall to the floor.
Another good reason for not building the out feed table is that this table - with it's extensions - is big enough. I do not rip large 4-foot-by-8-foot plywood pieces at home. I can't even fit that big a piece of wood in or on my car. The largest piece of sheet wood I would ever be cutting would be 2'x4' and the extensions support the width of that. From the tip of the extension to the saw blade (on the long side) is 39".
From tip to tip it's 75.5"! That's over 6-feet long.
But work on this cart will not be over anytime soon. There are a number of other accessories I'd like to make for this thing sometime soon, such as a sliding fence for the extensions. At the moment I'll use a clamping guide which will do just fine. I can also easily use some clamps and a straight piece of wood. I'd also like to make some feather boards and a tenoning jig soon.
For now I'm comfortable with saying that this new cart is done! It took me around 16 hours to make over the course of 2 days.
Aside from work tables, building table saw stands and carts have been my most common projects. Here's a brief look down memory lane.
My first table saw ( Very scary and dangerous - 2013)
Second Table Saw ( Ryobi Starter Table Saw - 2014)
Third Table Saw (circular saw underneath the table top - 2015)
Fourth Table Saw (Chicago Electric saw with spare 2x4 cart - early 2016)
and Fifth Table Saw (Still Chicago Electric, but new awesome cart with extension arms - two months or so after Fourth Table Saw Table)
I seem to have a change in table saws every year. Lets hope that this new saw and cart last a lot longer! Thanks for reading!