Table Saw: Support and Storage

My table saw is huge… but unstable.

I noted near the end of my previous post on the topic, that I would need to revisit the saw, since it is top-heavy and in danger of tipping to the right due to a lack of support under the expanded table top. So that is how I spent my free time this weekend.

I wanted to continue using my table saw’s mobile base, so I needed to find a way to extend it to support the far-right end of my table. I decided the best way to do this would be to install a plywood floor in the mobile base and then install a support from this floor to hold up the right end of the saw.

For some reason I thought 1/2″ plywood would be sufficient, so I measured out and cut the necessary pieces with my circular saw (I used an offset straight-edge to guide the saw).

I was planning to use some angle iron to extend the mobile base frame, but was having trouble figuring out how to attach it to the existing frame without having to redesign the whole thing.

I was also starting to realize that the 1/2″ plywood was far too thin to make a stable floor for the saw, as it would bow significantly in the middle (the mobile base only supports the corners).

To solve both of these problems I figured I needed a rigid floor that I could simply attach the ends of the mobile base to, instead of trying to make the mobile base itself support the length of the floor.

I happened to have a piece of 3/4″ plywood on hand that was about the right size, and I screwed it to the bottom of the 1/2″ piece I had already prepared. This alone was pretty sturdy, but I decided to further reinforce it by attaching the angle iron to the sides.

This made for a very solid floor that did not bend at all when I attached the mobile base ends to it and tested it by standing in the middle.

After wrestling the saw onto the base, I secured it by clamping it down with pieces of plywood screwed to the main floor.

In order to support the right end of the table, I built a box out of the 1/2″ plywood to act as a single leg.

I glued and brad-nailed the box together and installed it with a combination of glue and brad nails on the bottom and an angle iron bracket on the top.

The table saw is now fully supported and the extra space on the right side is perfect for housing my compound miter saw (I had considered putting my shop vac here, but then I bought the compound miter…). I’ll probably put a shelf above the miter saw to keep other miscellaneous tools and scraps, but that can wait. For now I am happy that I have sturdy table saw with enough surface area and fence capacity to do anything I need to (and plenty of things I don’t).

Note: In the pictures the saw appears to be leaning to the right, but this is mostly an optical illusion, and partially because I should adjust the feet of the mobile base, but a slight tilt toward the fence won’t impact performance or stability, in fact, it might help both.

Craigslist – The Last Hurrah

Hi, my name is Andrew, and I’m a Craigslist Addict.

I have been clean and sober for 24 hours.

But I had one last find before I quit:

This is a 12″ Makita Sliding Double-Bevel Compound Miter Saw with work light and laser guide; the ultimate specimen of the tool that caused contractors and homeowners to abandon the Radial arm saw in droves (have you seen how many Radial Arm Saws there are on Craigslist?)

The Makita that I bought was originally $600 new, if you got a good deal. The guy I bought it from had two, because his work was replacing their 20+ saws with new ones and scrapping the old saws (it’s a Union shop, it doesn’t have to make sense). So this guy grabbed two of them and sold one to me for $125.

You can see in the pictures that it’s missing the retractable blade guard and the safety switch (the little button that you push to pull the trigger). I found a safety switch online for $10, and can buy the blade guard for $20 + Shipping, but I’m still on the fence about that, since the saw seems like a very safe piece of equipment (at least as far as power saws go), and the guard won’t keep you from cutting off your own finger if you’re truly determined to do so.

You can also see in the pictures that the saw was dirty. It had been used primarily for cutting aluminium, so the mess on it was grease, cutting oil, and aluminum shavings.

Mixed together they make this:

This cruft was caked into every crevice of the saw and partially filling the blade cover and dust port.

After a couple hours of disassembling, cleaning, reassembling, and aligning the saw, I considered my acquisition complete. This is my new saw:

Before I bought the saw, I had  told my wife: “This is really the last power tool I need to be able to do anything I would need to.”

I wasn’t lying, I have a table saw for rip cuts and precision work, a scroll saw for intricate curves, a band saw for large curves and light resawing, a circular saw for portable work and large work pieces, a jigsaw for potable curves and small cuts in large work pieces, a drill press, a random orbit sander, a router table, a standalone router, a bench grinder, an angle grinder, flex-shaft grinder, a power drill, a cordless drill and impact driver, a handheld power planer, a tile saw, and a wire-feed welder. Adding power tools to this would, most likely, either be for very specific purposes, and thus have very infrequent use, or would significantly overlap capabilities with something I already own, and so add less value.

But then I saw someone liquidating their workshop on Craigslist because they were moving. The thing that caught my eye was a top-of-the-line Makita 12″ surface planer for $100. What the heck?!? It’s as if Craigslist knew I was considering quitting and threw everything it had into stopping me (insert South Park Wal-Mart reference here: “Stan! I Can’t! Go on without me; I have to buy these screwdrivers!”)

With much support (questioning and harassing) from my wife, I passed on the chance to make the planer my own. Practically speaking, I’ve never milled my own lumber or built fine furniture, true I would need the planer if I decided to do these things, but I don’t have enough time for my current projects, I’m unlikely to add more projects any time soon.

I then closed my continually-refreshing Craigslist tools query, and deleted the Craigslist app from my phone.

I feel empowered!

I feel free!

I feel depressed.

But what’s done is done: Until I start a project that absolutely requires a power tool that I don’t own, I will not search Craigslist; I will not buy any more power tools. That’s what my wishlist is for.