Monday, January 16, 2017

Table Saw Cart Revise and new Jigs

A few months ago I revised my table saw cart as seen below.  I originally had a lot of pictures of this build, but the SD card in my phone corrupted, and I lost these photos along with many other photos of other projects.  So I'll do the best I can with these after photos.

When I original made this cart, it looked like whats seen below.  It had extension wings and the top was left as is.  The extensions were useful, but they made the cart heavy and the factory-made fence could not be used. 

 I oped to remove the extensions and build a large top for the whole cart.

The top is made out of a 2'x4'x.5" sheet of MDF.  I added trim and brackets so that the top is friction-fit onto the top of the table saw cart.  This makes it easy to remove should I wish to switch out the saw blade for dado blades, or to cut wood at an angle.

I didn't make a throat plate for this top, instead going for a zero clearance table top.  This will allow me to cut thin pieces of wood without the pieces falling inside and creating a dangerous situation when said pieces get lodged between the blade and the top.  I do have plans in the future to create a throat plate for this table top that way I can use the miter feature of this saw, and easily change blades.

The top of the table was painted with black and silver spray paints with several layers of clear coat applied.  The top was also sanded a lot to be as smooth as possible (of course it doesn't look that way in the photos above and below....just remember that I lost all my original photos of this build.  All the pictures shown are of a few months of scrapes and scratches from constant work - but it's still smooth).

I also cut some channels that were the same width as the miter gauge that came with the saw.  This helps a lot since the miter gauge can be set at many angles. 

Next are push sticks - here are my 2 most useful ones I've made in the past. 

These help a lot in pushing wood through, but they are both 3/4" thick.

Not wanting to ruin these 2  push sticks I sought to make some disposable push sticks.

There is a man on youtube called Matthias Wandel - who's quickly become one of my favorite woodworkers to watch.  You can check out his videos by clicking here.  One of his videos is about push sticks, and he shares his own push stick templates - so I printed them out... 

...and attached them to some scrap pine wood with the help of a glue stick.

Next I cut out the shape on the band saw.

Then I drilled a hole in the handle at the drill press.

At this point I tried to remove the paper template, but the glue stick is doing a good job... I sanded off the paper at the belt sander.

While there I began smoothing out the push sticks.

For all the curved pieces I put a drum sanding bit into my drill press and sanded those areas.

Then I rounded the edges of the push stick with the router.

Next I did a little hand sanding to smooth the whole thing...

...and painted them with some orange acrylic paint (I was out of spray paint).

When dry I sanded them again and then tested them out on the table saw.  Having 2 push sticks to use simultaneously definitely gave me more control over the wood I was cutting.

Liking the orange color of the new push sticks, I began repainting my other 2 sticks.

While those dried I actually made 4 more just like the orange push sticks.

These are so easy to make and I had fun painting them different colors.

Now I have plenty of push sticks and I won't be wary of any of them getting cut up while making small pieces on the table saw.  

Also, push sticks are great to use on other tools such as the miter saw and router table.  I wound up make 2 just for the miter saw.

The 2 orange stick are 'on-deck' for quick access.

All of the other push sticks were then mounted to one side of my table saw cart.

I even made an even newer push stick.

This one is in-between heights of the large and small push sticks.

The handle is more diagonal with the table top, so I wind up applying more pressure that way.  This helps push my work piece and keep it down better than the other two sticks.

A few steps ago I showed you work I did on my drill press.  This too has recently been updated.  For starters I fixed up the fence and painted it red.  I also sanded down the old drill press table and painted it green.

  I then cut a square out of the table so I could put in replacement blocks (which were also painted red).  These blocks can be thrown away once the piece has too many drill holes.

But I also made the blocks for some of my drum sanding bits.  Below you see that I cut out a circle from the block using a fostner bit that's slightly larger than the sanding bit.

This allows the sanding bit to rest slightly lower than the height of the table.

This makes for even sanding, as I did for the push sticks.

I also label each replacement block so I can use it again.

Another quick jig I made was this fence for my band saw.

This fence is shaped like a T-square so it will always be parallel to the blade.  It's simply held in place with a clamp in the front...

...and one on the back.

Since I primarily work with 3/4" thick wood, I only made the fence to be that high.  This is especially advantageous when cutting slivers from wood that thick.

I actually took a 1x2 piece of scrap wood and cut 12 slivers from it.  Each sliver is less than 1/8" thick.

And speaking about fences, next up is the Table saw fence.

This MDF fence, which I spray painted orange, was also sanded a lot to be as smooth as possible.  It easily glides along the surface of the table.  I also designed it like a T-square.  When the bottom is pressed against the table...

...the side will be parallel to the blade.

The fence has a track running down the middle so that jigs can attach to the fence, as well as simply using clamps to attach to.  This is great especially for making a sacrificial fence.  Later you will see some jigs that use this track inside the fence.  There is also a notch on the front of the fence so it can be clamped to the table, keeping it from moving.

Because of the T-square shape of the fence, the one clamp is enough to hold it in place.  However I normally place a clamp on the back of the fence as well.

These 2 clamps attach to a block on the side of the cart for easy access and storage.

The bottom of the cart now has some 3" casters with a locking foot pedal.  These create a super smooth roll and is very easy to lock in place since the pedals protrude from the bottom of the cart.  These awesome casters replace the 1.5" casters I used to have - which did not roll super well and were difficult to lock.

The next jig is my taper jig.  I made this a long time ago but only recently updated and painted it.

The extensions swing widely and lock in place with a plastic knob.

The small furniture leg is used as a handle for pushing the jig and piece of wood I'm cutting through the saw blade.

The handle is attached to other pieces that align and run through the track on the saw table fence.

The piece of the jig that attaches to the groove in the fence was sanded to be as smooth as possible.

This allows the jig and pieces of wood I'm cutting to easily go through the blade.

And now I can easily make some tapers.

The next jig is my Tenon jig.  Shortly after making the new table saw top, I created this jig, but recently I updated it to be better.

Like the Taper jig, this jig was made to glide along the track on the table saw fence.

The new add-on I created was the screw clamp which holds wood in place while cutting.

I really have yet to make joinery using tenons, but it's on my list of things to begin getting good at.

But before the Taper and Tenon jig, there was the cross-cut sled.  

There's nothing much I can say about this sled that hasn't been said about the many other sleds I have made over time.  Except that this one is red.

And along with the 45-degree sled seen below...

...which cuts perfect 45 degree cuts...

...I should be able to cut anything I want squarely.

Next up is another old jig I made - the Jointing Jig.  In the picture below it is attached to the back of my table saw cart.

I showcased this jig in a much earlier blog posts, but essentially it clamps a piece of wood to its base and cuts a straight cut from one side.

Then you use the freshly cut side against the fence and cut the other side to be parallel.

This jig needs some updating, so I decided to spray paint it like my other jigs.  All I had this particular day was black paint.

When the paint dried I attached the clamps.

This jig is designed to run against the fence as well, so I think I may add onto this jig so that it rides in the groove in the fence like the Tenon and Taper jigs.

The revise has a wall which runs along the fence.

It also has a piece of wood to run in the track of the fence...

...and a handle to make it easy to push.

Since the handle protrudes a bit, I moved the jointing jig to mount onto the side of the cart.  

This allows me to store the table saw cart against the wall when not in use.

Another useful tool to have is a feather board.  These are essentially like having a third hand to hold wood while cutting on the table saw.  The yellow feather board pictured below I bought at Harbor Freight to go with my Harbor Freight table saw, however they were incompatible. 

So a while back I made these 2 feather boards out of scrap wood.

When clamped to the table top, they do a good job holding wood and preventing kick back.

But I'd like to somehow make the HF feather board work for the table saw.  Specifically, to clamp onto the fence somehow.

The tightening knobs can hold it in place, but I think I can come up with something better.

I eventually attached it to a piece of wood...

...that fits into the fence track.

I did have trouble tightening the knobs as the screws underneath were not stationary.  Also, when tightened, the knobs didn't hold the feather board perfectly still.

So after a little tweaking, I added a second piece of wood behind the first with hinges.

The hinges allow the block to swing up, revealing holes I drilled that lead to the tightening screw.  This allows me to fully tighten the knob.

When the block is folded down, it creates a very tight fit inside the track, keeping the whole thing in place.

The last jig for now is this finger joint sled I've been working on.

This sled is made to cut slots the thickness of the saw blade - which is about 1/16" thick.  To that effect I cut a piece of wood to be the same thickness and I have it glued in place.

I still have some tweaking to do, but for the most part it does work.

The fingers do come together to create a very strong joint, but it is extremely tight.

I have broken a few fingers trying to get them to interlock.

I'm positive that I'll soon figure out how to make this work perfectly.

Again, I'm sorry I don't have more complete photos of all my jigs.  But if people are really interested in how I made them all, leave a comment and I'll make a new posts complete with pictures and directions.

Update...I had a need to cutting some dadoes, but really didn't want to remove the top.  So it was finally time to add that throat plate.  This was also a great opportunity to clean the insides of my table saw.  So I removed the saw from the cart and thoroughly cleaned it.  Then I placed it upside-down on the top, which was also upside-down.

Using a marker I traced the shape of the opening onto the top.

I then used a framing square to make the hole a bit bigger.

Next I drilled holes in each corner...

...and began cutting out the marked area with the jigsaw.

Once the hole was cut out I sanded the edges with my mouse sander.

Then I used a rabbeting bit on my palm router to created a ledge around the opening.  This is what the new throat plate will sit on.

I reattached the table saw to the cart and then reattached the top.  The cut hole fits perfectly around the mouth of the saw table.

I luckily had one piece of plywood that was the same thickness as the top, and used my band saw to cut out the new throat plate.

I then clamped the throat plate to my workbench and used the router again to cut out a rabbet around the sides.

The rabbit in the throat plate makes it fit into the rabbet on the table top perfectly.

Next I drilled a hole in the throat plate to make it easier to remove when needed.  Then I turned on the saw and slowly raised the blade, making sure to hold onto the throat plate with my push sticks so it doesn't fly out as the blade creates a new zero clearance slot.

And just like that, I now have a removable throat plate!

I even cut a little extra space so I can actually use the riving knife.

I then tested the new set up with some scrap wood and everything worked as it should.

I'll have to buy some more MDF sheets to create a bunch of throat plates:  another zero clearance, one for various dado blade thicknesses and one for compound miter cuts.  But for now I'll just make a few more with the spare plywood I find in my workshop.

With that finally done I also made a little extra storage on the cart by sealing up the hole normally used for dust collection and using that space to store some jigs and whatnot.

I'll be attaching a hose to the back with the shop vac to aid in keeping things cleaner underneath the saw.  And with that my saw table is finally done!

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