Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Chop Station Table Revise


Not too long ago I revised my 6' prep table and turned it into a chop station.  And it's been great, however I assembled it on the fly, using spare pieces of wood and I think I can do a nicer job.  I also made a small hood behind the saw out of scrap wood to better contain all the dust I created with the saw - which I can take a step further by making it bigger and adding a shop vac underneath to suck up all that dust.  So I went about redesigning the chop station in SketchUp.


My SketchUp design is just a reminder of what I'd like to do for this build, but I decided not to make any cut lists, and just build it on the fly once more.  The only material I bought for this build were four pieces of half inch thick 2'x4' MDF.  Since my previous build was made from 3/4" Plywood and Pine, I needed to make new measurements of the height of the chop saw's table and using my adjustable speed square helped.


Then I used my new measurements to set up the fence on my table saw.


Then I began cutting the strips which will make up the new chop saw station's sides.


But before I go too far I needed to break down the old chop saw station.  I removed all the boxes and drawers...


...then began dismantling the old rig...


...until everything was off.


Then I removed the middle shelf...


...and cut down the size of it using my circular saw.


Then I reassembled it.  


The big space will be for the shop vac.


Then I cut the MDF I had to make 2 new tops.  My old jig has the chop saw center on the table.  My new jig will have it more to the left so I can chop bigger pieces of wood on the right.


With all the MDF cut, I began spacing it all out and drawing guides on the left side.


Then I placed the saw on the table against the right-most wall on the left side.  I then drew guides for the placement of the saw.


Next I repeated the process on the right side.


Then it was time to glue and clamp all the pieces of MDF to the table top.  These pieces will be the drawer divides and sides of each platform.


When that dried I glued and clamped the tops of each platform.



The space in between each platform is reserved for the chop saw, but now it's time to make something better for dust collection.  I drew some guides...


...then drilled some large holes big enough to fit my jigsaw blade through.


Then I began cutting a large hole out for the wood dust to fall through.


Next I cut a piece of scrap plywood for the bottom of the new dust collection system.


I also cut 2 triangular pieces to make up the sides.


I glued and nailed the angled sides to the bottom.


And then a pieces of MDF to the back.


Then I mounted this triangular box underneath the table where the big hole is.


Then I cut a hole in the MDF back...


...to fit the shop vac hose.


Then I mounted the saw in place.


And I put almost everything back onto the table shelves.


Next I wanted to work on a new fence for the chop saw.  To do this I used a fairly straight 1x4 board, cut to the length of the table.


On each side of the chop saw's fence are holes for mounting sacrificial boards.


I mounted the 1x4 to the fence of the chop saw.


And I now have a fence the length of the whole table!


I made a 90-degree cut, two 45-degree cuts (in both directions) and a 45-degree miter cut to shape the fence.  I had to cut a little material away from the left side of the fence so that the saw could make the full 45-degree miter cuts.


Then I cut some 1x3 boards...


...and attached them to the back of each side of the fence.


A few screws hold the backs in place.


Then I used a level to make sure both fences were parallel and drove a screw at each end to hold it in place.


And that's all I need to do with the fence.


Recently I revised my MDF-topped router table by painting it with leftover green paint (and pink fences).


I also made a new MDF top and fence for my table saw.  The top was painted silver and black and the fence was painted orange.


And then I painted my cross cut sled red.


I also painted up some stop blocks I made for my older chop station. 


The stop block seen above and below, named "Senor Stop Block", works great.  It easily clamps to the fence and is flat on the left side and angled on the right side.  I can also flip the stop block if I want to use it on the other side.


And for those times I need something smaller to clamp closer to the blade, I use "Senorita Stop Block".


And eventually I needed to make some really small cuts very near the saw blade, so I made a stop block that had a slope cut out of it (so it doesn't hit the motor of the saw when in use).  I call this guy Pete "Long Nose" Stop Block.


I think I want to paint the new chop station, so I bought 2 cans of blue spray paint.


But painting will have to wait till the next day, which started by doing a little sanding and clean up.


Then I used masking paper and tape to protect the areas not being painted.


I applied 2 coats of blue to the top...


...and the fence.


In between each coat I sanded and cleaned the surfaces.


And when everything was dry I reassembled the whole table.


Now it's time to work on a new hood.  So I cut my 2 remaining pieces of MDF.


First I attached 2 braces to the walls of the new table.


Then I attached a side to the brace and drew out a curved piece for the saw.


I removed the side and drew guides for cutting the side pieces to shape.


I attached the 2 side pieces together with screws...


And made the straight cuts with the cross-cut sled on the table saw.


Then I made the angled cut using my 45-degree sled.


And lastly I made the curved cut with my jigsaw.


I removed the screws and sanded all the cuts smooth.


Next I glued and nailed the sides to the braces I made earlier.


And they fit nicely.


Then I glued and nailed the back...


...and the top.


For the angled piece on the back I'll have to make some 45-degree miter cuts on the table saw.


My new table saw top is not set up to make miter cuts yet, so I took it off and set up the old table and fence.


I drew guides for cutting the angled parts.  I don't often cut long miter cuts, so I wanted to make sure I did it right on the first try...


...or the second try.  No matter what 'try' I did it, I did eventually get it right.


And with that last piece glued and nailed together I let everything dry.


Once dry I cut a hole in the back...


...to allow the power cord to pass through.


Then I used the rest of my blue spray paint to paint the hood.


Once dry the hood fit in place and is simply mounted to the back of the table with 2 screws.


And the chop station is done!


...wait a minute.  It's not done.  I still need drawers!


For this I'm going to use leftover 1/4" plywood...


...and the last of my MDF.


I cut the plywood on the table saw...


...to fit the spaces for the drawers.


Then I measured the heights of each drawer with the plywood and cut the MDF which will make the sides of each drawer.


Each piece of MDF was then cut on the miter saw to size.


This was the first time using the miter saw with the hood and vacuum, and I'm happy to say that most of the saw dust found its way to either the shop vac or the dust collection area.


The new construction also gives me a lot of room to place the material I want to cut on one side...


...and the material that has already been cut to the other side.


With everything cut, I began gluing and nailing the sides of the drawers to the bottoms.


And before long I had drawers!



For the drawer fronts I decided to use the leftover wood from the previous chop saw station.


I cut the fronts to size on the table saw...


...and attached them to the drawers with glue and nails.


The drawer fronts look a little rough with all their holes and scrapes, but I love it.


Since the fronts are longer than the height of the table top, I don't need any drawer pulls.  


I can simply pull each drawer from the bottom.


I placed all my sandpaper in these drawers.  The left-most drawer has my mouse and orbital sandpaper.  Next to it I had placed a sanding belt and my drum sander bit...


I eventually moved the belt sandpaper and put my PSA sandpaper there instead.


The belt sandpaper moved to the other side...


...along with sheet sandpaper...


...and steel wool.


And with the drawers done I can call this revise complete!


I changed out my regular shop vac for an inexpensive Bucket Head from Home Depot.


This allowed a little more storage room in that space.


The hood works great and is easily removed if needed.


All the extra space is great for placing material I am working on, or simply going through the bins underneath.


I eventually added a second hose that connects from the back of the saw all the way to the other hose attached to the shop vac - which helped with the dust a lot. 


A few weeks later I discovered I can't chop thicker stock like I used to.  This was because of the new fence.  Having an immediate need to cut thicker stuff, I revised my fences so that they no longer covered the factory-made fence.


I also took an extra tape measure I had and cut it up, and attached it to the top of the fence.


This makes it a bit easier to measure.


...and it goes all the way to 46".


Unfortunately when attaching the tape measure I was 1/16" off.  Since it's difficult to re-drill screws so close together, I simply wrote a reminder to myself on the fence.


Unfortunately the tape measure doesn't sit flush on top of the fence.  So a few days later I decided I could simply print out a ruler and glue it onto the fence instead of using the tape measure.


I removed the tape measure and glued on the paper ruler, making sure everything was measured correctly this time.


I left off the number at each Inch mark so that I could write it in.


And this new ruler works a lot nicer than the tape measure did.


Shortly after I decided I could further improve upon the ruler, and so I repeated the process and made a larger ruler that stuck onto the side of the fence.


This makes it super easy to set up a stock block or cut a piece of wood at a specific size.


And everything measures up correctly!


Also after a few weeks I decided to see how well the hood and shop vac was working.


There's virtually no dust on the shelf behind the saw!


All of the dust more-or-less stays contained inside the hood or sucked up by the shop vac.


I eventually drilled a larger hole for the hose to move around in.


I didn't have a drill bit large enough, so I had to improvise.  It's a messy looking hole, but it works well and doesn't let dust fall out.


The 2 hoses are connected to each other with a piece of PVC pipe that snugly holds them both in place.


All-in-all, it's a great looking revise, and the blue may look a little funny, but I love it.  I can't wait to start chopping stuff!

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