Monday, July 31, 2017

Combination Workbench (Tables Saw-Router Table-Scroll Saw and Jointer)

Last Christmas Santa bought me a new plate joiner to help me in my efforts of building cool stuff.

The only problem is that in order to joint multiple pieces of wood together evenly, the edges must be perfectly straight.  The wood I usually buy at the big box home centers are usually a little warped or bowed, and almost never have a straight edge.  I have multiple tools in my workshop to help me straighten wood, but what I really need (want) is a jointer.  In the past I've used my hand planer to make a jointer, but those jigs never lasted long.

Recently I played around with some scrap plywood I had...

... and made a fairly successful jig.

 This jig holds the planer snugly.

But I didn't immediately make a stand for it, since I had a different idea.

Recently I remade all of my work tables in my workshop.

They're all a lot stronger and better than my past work benches.

One of my tables I built to be a router table.  

One end has a plate which is attached to my fixed router. 

 It works great, and there's plenty of room underneath to adjust the height of the router.

But the rest of it was just a work area.  So I made some plans in sketchup.

I want to redesign my table to be a Combination Workbench!  It already has the router...

  I then designed the table to fit my spare circular saw underneath to make it a table saw.

And I also have a spare jigsaw.  So I can make a hole to the right side of the table, and mount the jigsaw underneath to make a scroll saw.

The 2 sheets of plywood that make the top of the work table have various holes cut into it.  The top piece (shown in red) has just a square cut out for the router plate.  The bottom piece (shown in orange) has 3 shapes cut out - one for the router, one for the circular saw and one for the jig saw.

When the 2 pieces of plywood come together the shapes cut out underneath do two things:
1) creates a lip for the router plate to stay in place, and
2) snugly hold the circular and jig saws in place, and bring the blades closer to the top, making the largest cuts possible.

With my plans looking good I proceeded.  I added my spare circular saw to the bottom, making it the table saw...

...and my spare jigsaw to the bottom, making it a scroll saw.

So then I added my hand planer in its new jig to the side of the table.  The vacuum underneath plugs into the planer to suck up all the dust and chips.  The edge of the table itself is used as a fence.

The planer, router, and both saws are controlled by the power strip mounted to the front of the workbench.

 A combination workbench!

 I still have some work to do to make the jointer look a bit nicer and sit more securely on the side.

Since the Arizona summers are rough, I stopped at this point for a couple weeks.  When I came back to it I decided to make some changes.  

Instead of the jointer simply screwed to the side, I recut parts of the top to completely fit the jig I made - similarly to what I did with the router and jigsaw.  In the image above I'm waiting for wood filler to dry at the seams of the new cuts.

Since the planer takes up a good amount of space underneath the table, I removed the jigsaw.

But I don't want to be without my new scroll saw.  So I attached it to a piece of MDF that was cut to the same size and thickness as the router plate.

Now whenever I want to use the scroll saw, I remove the router and put the jigsaw in it's place!

Having the jigsaw attached to a plate makes it easily removable and easy to change the jigsaw's blade.

The fence that I use for both the circular saw and router can now also be used for the jointer.

One cool thing about this fence is that it has a rod going through the fence part and the T-square part - making it adjustable. 

Some might thing that having a fence that can swing around isn't a great idea, but I beg to differ.  Since I am not perfect, the circular saw was mounted slightly off.  Having an adjustable fence means that I can ALWAYS make it square with the table saw blade.  That means perfectly straight cuts - even if the circular saw blade is not perfectly perpendicular to the front of the table.

Prior to the more recent revision to this table, I had used the router, table saw and scroll saw.  But I hadn't really used the jointer.  So I decided to test it out with the fence for the first time.

Above is a picture of a piece of 2x4 with a very uneven top edge.

I ran that 2x4 through the jointer.

And voila!  The top is even!

I then ran several scrap 2x4's through the jointer.

And all their edges are flat now!  I could glue these boards together flush, and get to use that plate joiner I got at Christmas!

lastly I gave the top a few coats of polyurethane to really smooth it out.  Once each coat dried, I sanded it with a fine sanding sponge until the top was very smooth.

It's not the pretties table ever made, but it works well and that's what's important.

I was also happy that I spent $0 on this project.  

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