Monday, August 29, 2016

4x4 Folding Workshop Table

Over the years my workshop tables have gone through many changes, and they've all been built with half-inch 2'x4' plywood, 2x4 studs...

...and used metal rigid ties with screws to hold them together.

I started off making one...

Then a second one shortly after.

Eventually I built a 3rd 6-foot table to hold spare wood and larger power tools.

But ultimately this table was disassembled when I found a nicer table a neighbor was getting rid of.  This table became my prep table.

About a year and a half later I gave the prep table away and built a nicer, new prep table without using the rigid ties.

I also had made an 8-foot table, but a table that long quickly began to sag from the lack of supports in the middle.

So it was disassembled when my first table saw broke.  Half of it became my new temporary table saw, using a circular saw...

...and the other half became my new router table.  Both of these new tables were made without using those pesky rigid ties.

When I finally got around to buying a new table saw, I converted the saw & router tables into a new workshop table that could hold the table saw.

I ultimately did not like this new table, so I made a cart for my new table saw...

...and the rest of the table became my new router table.

As time went on my original 2 workshop tables also had some changes.  I eventually changed the tops from plywood to MDF.  To protect the MDF top of my main work table from stuff like resin and Bondo, I made a roll-out protector that was held in place with magnets.

The other work table was converted into a table with a small shelf and storage underneath for my workshop benches.  I also removed all the rigid ties and held it together with pocket screws.

At this point I also began making smaller, more functional carts instead of keeping all my power tools on my work tables.  Most of these carts also have drawers to better hold my hand tools instead of keeping them in tool boxes.  I even made a wood storage cart instead of keeping scrap wood in large bins under each table.

And I also made numerous wall shelves to hold everything else.

Soooooooooo I figured it was time to change up my work tables a little once more.  This time I'll remove the router from one of the work tables and add a shelf to both that and my very first work table.

These 2 tables - which are each 2'x4' - will be connected with hinges...

...and fold into one large 4'x4' table.

So I took the tables apart, and removed all the rigid ties and reassembled with pocket holes.

I connected the 2 tables with some strong hinges.

And now they can fold out...

...and make one large table!

I also added and extra shelf to each table since I no longer need to keep large bins under each table...

...and I replaced the MDF tops with 3/4" plywood.

When the 2 tables are folded, 2 latches on the side hold it together.

Now it can move around without separating.

I even kept the roll-out protection paper...

...and magnet.  

For the bottom shelves I created some mounts for my pipe clamps...

...and my large bar clamps.  This is great since they were always just standing against the corner of my workshop.

I put my old tool boxes and other small stuff on the middle shelves.  I have so much storage in my workshop now that there's no more clutter on my work tables - which is a very good thing.

As for the top, I'll still use some of my bench dog clamps I made a while back, but...

I recently found these clamps - which are made for drill press tables.  But I think they can easily be modified for my new work tables.

I drilled 12 large holes in each table top (4 rows of 3).

The clamps fit into each hole and are tightened underneath the table top.  Then they can be adjusted to clamp on various thicknesses of wood.

Since there are 12 holes in each table top, the clamps can be moved to work with any size piece of wood.

I also drilled 2 holes into one of my workshop shelves so when the clamps are not in use, they can easily be stored there.

So there you have it - a brief history of my work tables.

This new table will continue to go on being one of the backbones of my work shop and my creations.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Jigsaw Table Jig

A while back a friend of mine gave me this old jigsaw.

It works well, but I admit I haven't used it much since to operates at only one speed, and I also have a much newer jigsaw with speed control.

One tool I would really like to have is a band saw or scroll saw.  Unfortunately I don't have the money for one of these.

But I have seen many people make some nifty jigsaw tables - which I think I'd like to do with my spare jigsaw.

Not too long ago I made a new router table cart where I can easily remove the router and face plate.  I think I'll make a face plate for the jigsaw so I can use the existing table/cart for this as well.

Luckily I have a good amount of leftover MDF board for this build.

I started by removing the router and face plate  from the cart.

I used the face plate to trace the shape onto the MDF.

Then I used the jigsaw to cut out the new face plate.

Then I sanded the edges to be smooth.

The face plate fits nicely.

I drew a center line on the face plate and used a 1/16" drill bit to make a hole just big enough... fit the blade through.  This zero clearance will keep small pieces of wood to get stuck between the blade and the face plate. 

Next I glued and screwed scrap pieces of MDF flush around the saw's boot and strapped the saw in place with some brackets.

then I went to put the whole jig into the cart.

Unfortunately the extra pieces of MDF went all the way to the edge of the face plate, which meant that it would not sit properly in the table top.

So, I have to start over again.  But before I take the first jig apart I decided to test it out in between my work tables.

With the exception of a lot of vibrations, the jig worked wonderfully and cut some nice curves into scrap MDF,

So I took the old jig apart and started over.  First I cut out a new face plate and put in in the table.

This time I traced the shape of the opening on the bottom of the table... I don't glue material too far on the face plate.

Next I attached more MDF to both sides of the boot.  It was a little more difficult attaching the brackets without a front or back support...

...and the blade was moving back and forward a little too much.

So I added a screw in between the front of the boot to help keep it in place.

Then I put the jig back into the table...

...and plugged it into the power strip on the side of the cart.  Having the power switch on the side like this will keep me from having to open and close the door to the cart each time I want to turn the saw on and off.

Then I tested it out again and it worked well.

I decided to try it out on a tight curve...

...and for the most part it worked, but the blade began swinging back and forward again.

So I took out the jig and added a brace to the front to make sure it doesn't move.

And the next few tests proved that it worked.

I then tested it out on some plywood and pine wood - 2 materials I frequently use - and it worked excellently.

Lastly, I drew some arrows and wrote "Caution" to remind myself of the exposed blade.

The router fits underneath nicely when not in use.

And the existing fence will work well with the blade.

This simple jig works nicely, although it probably won't last a very long time.  The screws and MDF will eventually loosen up.   So a few weeks later I decided to make a better jig, this time using plywood.  I started by removing the saw from the jig.

Using a pencil, I traced the shape of the inside handle of the jigsaw and cut it out.

The piece fits perfectly inside but is too thin.

So I traced and cut out 2 more pieces.

Then I glued and clamped them together.

While that dried I found 2 other pieces of plywood that will fit on both sides of the jigsaw.  The middle piece will also attach to these side pieces, holding the jigsaw in place while in the jig.

I then traced the shape of the jigsaw on one piece of plywood.

Then I clamped the 2 pieces of plywood together and cut out the traced piece.

I also cut 2 smaller pieces that will attach to the top of the plywood, and thus adding more support and stability for the jigsaw.

When the middle dried I placed it in the jigsaw and lined up one of the sides...

...and traced the area where the middle piece connects.

I then drilled pilot holes and connected one side to the middle.

Then I put the saw in place and connected the other side...

...followed by the 2 top pieces.

Unfortunately the middle piece is still too thin.

So I traced the middle one more time, cut it out and glued it to the other middle pieces.

But once it dried and was reconnected, everything fit perfectly!

Next I marked the location where the 2 sides connect with the face plate of the jig.

Then I drilled holes with countersinks...

...and attached everything together.

And I'm done!  I put the jig back in the table to test it out.

This jig holds the jigsaw very securely.  Much better than my first attempt.

Then I tested it out on more plywood and it did a wonderful job.  The cuts are good and the jigsaw didn't move at all while in the jig during cutting.

Funny thing - this jig took about half the time it did to make the original jig.  I'm much happier with the new one.  It will last a lot longer!

Thanks for reading!