Tablesaw outfeed with PVC rollers
In a one-man shop, ripping sheet goods and long lumber is difficult. I decided to solve this problem by building a roller extension on the back of my tablesaw. When I dis- covered that the commercially available rollers were a bit pricey, I went shopping. For a few bucks I bought a 10-ft. length of 11⁄2-in.-dia. PVC plumbing pipe, a short length of nylon bar stock, several lengths of 1⁄2-in.-dia. steel bar stock, and some angle iron.
I made up four rollers by cutting lengths of the PVC and fitting each end of the pipe with bearings made from the nylon bar stock. I made axles from the 1⁄2-in.-dia. steel bar stock and drilled and tapped holes in each end to attach the axles to the frame. I then made a cantile- vered framework with angle iron and bolted the frame- work to the back of the saw as shown, so that the rollers are level with the top of the tablesaw. This extension has made the handling of large stock much easier, quicker and safer.
Improved tablesaw splitter
Many woodworkers never attached the splitter that came with their new tablesaw because it is cumbersome and inconvenient to use and has to be removed for some operations, such as cutting dadoes. After experiencing kickback on a friend’s saw that had no splitter, I was de- termined to work out a convenient solution for the split- ter on my own saw (General). With the design shown below, the splitter can be left in place even when using a crosscut sled. And because it uses the same arbor mount as the factory-supplied splitter, it tilts for a miter cut. Not all splitters work that way.
To make the splitter, cut the basic shape shown from 3⁄32-in.-thick aluminum stock. This thickness will leave 1⁄64 in. of clearance on each side of a standard sawblade kerf. You can modify the shape as you wish, but mine sits 21⁄2 in. above the table.
The best part of this design is the way the splitter attaches to the mount. Replace the old splitter attach- ment bolt with an adjustable ratchet-type of handle that has the same size threads. These ratchet handles are avail- able from Reid Supply Company (www.reidsupply.com) and other sources. The handle will clear the blade and will make it easier to remove and install the splitter.
—Don GiLLiEm, milford, mich.
—BuD RuBy, oakland, Calif.
over the ratchet- handle bolt.
Angle-iron frame mounted to back of tablesaw
11⁄2-in.-dia. PVC plumbing pipe
Steel bar stock
Smart way to cut a
new tablesaw insert to size
A zero-clearance throat plate insert makes a tablesaw safer and helps you make cleaner cuts. Sizing it right can be tricky, so here’s an easy way to cut and trim a blank to size.
Because many saws are designed for a 1⁄2-in.-thick throat plate, make the insert from strong, 1⁄2-in.-thick birch plywood. On the tablesaw, cut it 1⁄8 in. wider and
1 in. longer than the saw’s throat plate. Center the throat plate on the blank and attach it with double-faced tape.
Next, using the throat plate as a guide, round the ends of the blank with a bandsaw or jigsaw, leaving 1⁄16 in. of waste. Rout off the waste with a bottom-bearing, flush- trimming bit. The bearing runs against the throat plate as the bit removes the waste and trims the insert to size.
Keep the new insert attached to the old insert while you cut the blade and blade guard openings.
1. Make the Blank
throat plate becomes template. Attach the throat plate to the blank with double- faced tape.
2. CUt the OPenInGS
Don’t remove the blank. Even at its lowest height, a 10-in. blade stops a blank from dropping into the throat. Cut the blade opening with the blank taped to the insert.
Round the ends. A bandsaw does this best, but a jigsaw also works. Leave about 1⁄16 in. of extra material.
—Tom BEgnAL, Kent, Conn.
trim the blank. Rout the insert flush to the throat plate with a bottom-bearing, flush- trimming bit.
two openings to cut. Hold down the blank with a push stick (left), staying away from the blade (you also can place a board across the insert, clamping it at the front and back of the saw table). Raise the blade slowly. Afterward, mark the opening for the blade-guard assem- bly (right) and cut it with a bandsaw or jigsaw.
A splitter you will actually use
Adding a splitter to a new tablesaw throat insert is an excellent safety practice. Once installed, neglecting it requires a conscious effort, so the odds are that it will see everyday, real-life use.
However, the procedure that’s usually recommended —extending the kerf behind the blade and gluing in a wooden tongue—is hard to pull off without introduc- ing minuscule errors. And the slightest error will result in a device that snags the workpiece. This method solves those problems.
Raise the sawblade through the new insert. Then place the insert against a fence on a drill-press table. Align things by lowering a drill bit of a diameter equal to the blade thickness (usually 1⁄8 in.) into the kerf. When the bit is centered in the kerf, lock the fence, change to a drill bit 1⁄32 in. smaller, switch on the drill press, and bore a hole near the outfeed end of the kerf. Now push that same drill bit into the hole, shank up, along with a dab of cyanoacrylate glue. The drill bit will now serve as the splitter pin. It will be aligned perfectly with the sawkerf and should have about 1⁄64 in. of clearance on each side.
MICHAEL STANDISH, Roxbury, Mass.
Mark a roller stand for faster setups
I use my roller stand with several different tools with dif- ferent table or outfeed heights. This requires me to adjust the stand frequently, with all the bending over, sighting, and readjusting that involves.
To speed up the process and save my back, I marked the extension shaft of the roller stand to indicate the cor- rect height for different machines. Now all I have to do is adjust the extension to the right line, tighten the handle, and go to work.
—JOEL HARRELL, Raleigh, N.C.
New zero-clearance tablesaw insert
1⁄8-in. drill bit in sawkerf.
Drill 3⁄32-in. hole in line with and behind the kerf.
Glue drill-bit shank in hole to make splitter.
Use easy-to-remember abbreviations for the tools (TS means table- saw, for example).
Use permanent marker to highlight correct heights for individual tools.
46 SHOP HELPERS
Firm anchor for
a tablesaw featherboard
A featherboard is designed to hold stock against a table- saw’s fence and tabletop so you can keep your fingers away from the blade while ripping. Typically made of 3⁄4-in.-thick hardwood with fingers cut into
the end, a featherboard is clamped just ahead
of the blade. To help anchor the feather-
board, clamp a second board behind and at a right angle to it to act as a brace. This keeps the featherboard from pivoting on its clamp point and thereby releasing pressure on the workpiece being held in place.
—RICHARD BRENING, Bellevue, Wash.
Tablesaw insert from a kitchen cutting board
When I discovered the cost of aftermarket zero-clearance throat inserts for my tablesaw, I decided to make my own. I bought an ordinary white, high-density-plastic kitchen cutting board, 1⁄2 in. thick. I marked and
cut out several inserts, using the existing metal one as a template. I then drilled and tapped four holes in each insert to install leveling set screws. I
also drilled a finger hole to make it easy
to remove the insert from the saw table. The cutting-board
material is ideal because
it is inexpensive, friction-
free, dense, and stable.
I was able to make several
inserts for less than the price of one commercially available piece.
—SCOTT SPIERLING, Sunnyvale, Calif.
Plastic cutting board
Zero-clearance tablesaw insert
Blocks improve clamping area under cast-iron machine tops
From time to time, I need to clamp featherboards and other devices to the top of my tablesaw and shaper. Both tools have cast-iron tabletops with ribs on
the underside, which makes it difficult to find the right place for a large clamp. The solution for both machines is to glue blocks of wood to the underside of the tops to provide a level clamping surface.
I used construction adhesive as the glue.
—LARY SHAFFER, Scarborough, Maine
Smoother cuts on the tablesaw
Tablesaws need accurate alignment to perform well.
The miter-gauge slots must be adjusted parallel with the blade, and the rip fence should be adjusted slightly out of parallel, which can be done by referencing off the miter slot. Otherwise the rear of the blade will re-cut wood that has already passed through the front of the blade.
To keep the rear of the blade from re-cutting the stock when ripping, the rip fence needs to be out of par- allel by 1⁄64 in. to 1⁄32 in. over its length. In this way, only the first three or four teeth will be engaged in the actual cutting, and then the good wood will feed freely past the rear of the blade—no burning and no sawmarks.
In addition, use a splitter in the table insert or attach one to the arbor assembly to prevent the work from com- ing off the fence and into the blade (causing dangerous kickback) should it decide to bow on you during a cut.
—GARY ROGOWSKI, Portland, Ore.
Blocks glued to ribs under tabletop
Offset the fence and add a splitter. For cuts free of burns and sawmarks, adjust the rip fence so that it is slightly out of parallel with the miter-gauge slot. A splitter attached to the arbor assem- bly, or integrated into the insert, keeps stock from drifting into the blade and catching.
Splitter prevents kickback.
Offset between the fence and miter-gauge slot at rear of tabletop, 1⁄64 in. to 1⁄32 in.
44 SHOP HELPERS
Miter-gauge slot, parallel with the blade
Multiuse joinery jig for the tablesaw
Instead of making multiple jigs for cutting different
joints on the tablesaw, I saved time, materials, and space e
by making one that can do multiple jobs. It consists
of a carriage that rides my Biesemeyer-style fence and interchangeable fifixtures designed to cut various joints. I
have three fifixtures: one for cutting tenons, one for keye e
, but MDF would work as well. To ensure that the mount-
miters, and one for cutting spline slots.
The carriage is made from 3⁄4-in. Baltic-birch plywood
ing holes in all fixtures align with those in the carriage, make a 1⁄4-in.-thick plywood template the same size as the carriage side. Drill the five 1⁄4-in.-dia. holes in the template and use it to drill the mounting holes in the carriage and in the fifixture base. Install any fences, hold-downs, or clamps you need with glue and/or screws from behind.
I finished the carriage and fixtures with two coats of shellac and applied paste wax on the interior of the car- riage so it slides freely on the rip fence.
—DOUGLAS BLACKE, Olivenhain, Calif.
Machine screws secure each fixture to the carriage.
KEYED MITER FIXTURE
Carriage, 3⁄4-in.-thick MDF or plywood
1⁄4-20 threaded insert
Fixture base, 1⁄4 in. thick, is the same size as the carriage side.
SPLINE SLOT FIXTURE
Clamp block holds frame for slotting.
Opening sized for a snug fit over rip fence
Angle fence 45°
Rolling lift for the tablesaw
I often have to move my tablesaw around, so I made a rolling lift that raises the saw onto casters.
My design has a couple of advantages over the typi- cal commercially made rolling platforms. Unlike those, it does not raise the height of the saw by 3 in. to 4 in. Also, when lowered, the base of the saw rests on the shop floor, so there’s no intermediate platform to compromise sturdiness.
To build the lift, you need four swivel casters, four butt hinges, a screen-door latch, some scrap hardwood, and a few assorted nuts, bolts, and washers. Also, you need a small piece of metal (I used 1⁄8-in.-thick alumi- num) for a striker plate.
h ThThe liftft has two main parts: a pedal beam and a catch
beam. Attached to each beam are pairs of casters and butt hinges. The hinges mount to the base of the saw.
With the lift installed, you raise the saw simply by pushing down on the pedal-beam arm until the striker plate engages the screen-door latch. Once engaged, the two beams lock together to hold the saw up on the cast- ers. The beams pivot up when the screen-door latch is released, lowering the saw base to the floor.
—TIM JANSSEN, Toronto, Ont., Canada
Saw base on floor
Pedal-beam arm Striker plate
Latched lift raises saw base.
42 SHOP HELPERS
Tablesaw-blade tightening technique
It can be difficult to get sufficient leverage on the blade of a cabinet saw when tightening it to the arbor. The goal is to attach the nut to the arbor bracket firmly without inad- vertently warping the blade by doing so. Jamming a block of wood against the blade’s rim or clamping the blade
can permanently distort it. I’ve developed a method that doesn’t put any stress on the blade. After you get the nut finger-tight against the blade, place the wrench on the nut, hold the blade with one hand, and strike the wrench with a block of hardwood, taking two or three moderate blows. This method simulates the action of an impact wrench, using the inertia of the saw’s drive system to keep the arbor still while the nut is tightened with a series of blows.
Because of the way a saw is designed, you don’t have to worry about the nut coming loose and the blade flying off. The direction of the threads on the arbor run in the opposite direction of the arbor’s rotation; so even if the nut were loose, it wouldn’t spin off the shaft while the saw was running.
To remove the nut, reverse the procedure. Place a shop rag on the edge of the table-insert opening to pre- vent the wrench handle from dinging the edge of the opening when the nut comes loose.
—John WhiTE, Rochester, Vt.
Steady the blade with slight hand pressure. Then rap on the free end of the wrench a few times with a piece of hardwood to tighten the nut (left). Loosen the blade the same way (right), but protect the tabletop from the loosened wrench.
Sacrificial rip-fence cover
Make a box to fit over your tablesaw’s rip fence. It must
be a snug slip fit in both width and length. Use melamine pieces on the outside, and you’ll have an almost friction- free fence you can saw or dado into without damaging your regular rip fence. The cover is very easy to take on and off, and mine has lasted longer than I thought it would.
—BLAiSE GASTon, Earlysville, Va.
Sacrificial box fits over the rip fence.
Tablesaw extension supports large workpieces
When crosscutting wide materials on the tablesaw, you need extra support at the front and side of the saw. My support extension slides right into the end of the fence tubing and can be used or stored in seconds. It is sim- ply a length of aluminum angle lag-bolted to a length
of hardwood that’s cut to fit snugly against the top
and bottom of the tube. When the extension is in posi- tion, the aluminum angle should be the same height as the top of the table. When it’s not in use, I pull out the extension, rotate it 180°, and reinsert it. It is easily acces- sible yet out of the way at the same time.
—BOB HARTIG, Sheboygan, Wis.
Low-dust lubricants for a tablesaw
If the gears of your tablesaw often become clogged with sawdust, making them hard to turn, there are two choices of lubricants that can be applied to the gears to prevent dust buildup. I use a white grease stick by Panef ® that has
the consistency of soft soap. You can find it in the automotive aisle of most hardware stores. A toothbrush will let you apply a thin coat to the
gears that won’t attract much dust.
If you can’t find the stick grease, use a fur-
niture wax like Johnson’s® paste wax. It works nearly as well.
To help clean the gears before applying the grease, use a spray penetrating oil
such as WD-40® and a stiff brush.
—JOHN WHITE, Rochester, Vt.
Hardwood block sized to fit inside fence-rail tubing
Top of extension should be the same height as the saw table.
40 SHOP HELPERS
Lubricant keeps dust from sticking. A thin coat of Panef’s white stick lubricant is easy to apply with a toothbrush and isn’t a dust magnet. After scraping some grease onto a toothbrush, press the bristles into the gears as you rotate them with the handle.
Shopmade fence for a miter gauge
A long, straight sacrificial fence attached to the table- saw’s miter gauge provides better support for workpieces, which yields more precise cuts. It also provides a mount- ing surface for stop blocks or a stop extension stick, and it prevents chipout on the back edge.
To construct a flat, stable fence, start with two 1⁄2-in.- thick pieces of hardwood or plywood. Make them about 20 in. long by 21⁄2 in. tall and face-glue them against a flat
reference surface. Before securing the fence to the miter gauge, cut a small rabbet along the bottom front edge to give sawdust a place to go.
Mount the fence so that one side can act as a sweep for moving cutoffs past the blade. That means having a few inches of fence extending past the blade. To make a nonslip surface, you can glue fine sandpaper to the fence.
—Tim ALBErS, Ventura, calif.
Holding stock steady. A sacrificial fence will yield cleaner cuts, and it supports the offcut. A stop block clamped to the fence allows repetitive cuts.
Sacrificial fence, two lay- ers of 1⁄2-in.-thick plywood, 20 in. long by 21⁄2 in. tall
Small rabbet cut on bottom front edge
Nonslip push stick for the tablesaw
When I used my ordinary push stick on a tablesaw, I had good control in the north/south direction but less in the east/west direction, especially when trying to keep small workpieces tight against the rip fence. So I
added a nonslip shelf-liner strip to the sole of the push stick. The shelf liner grabs the workpiece, giving me more control in all directions.
To attach the liner, first sand the sole of the push stick to help ensure a good bond, then attach the strip with double- faced tape.
—SErgE DucLoS, Delson, Que., canada
A safer crosscut sled
I once saw a beginner in our shop using a cutoff sled to crosscut a heavy workpiece. As he neared the end of the cut, with the far edge of the sled hanging over the back of the saw table, the sled reared up on him. Luckily, some- one else was nearby and kept him from flopping the sled back onto the table and into a spinning blade. After that, the first thing we did was to build an outfeed table for that saw. I also decided to make a new, safer crosscut sled.
I made the sled of 3⁄4-in.-thick medium-density fiberboard because it’s inexpensive, it’s about as hard as soft maple, and it’s very stable. I milled some scraps of hardwood for the runners and cut a 24-in. by 32-in. piece of MDF for the base. I laminated two pieces of
MDF for the front and back fences and three pieces for the middle fence.
I secured the runners with glue and screws because I didn’t want to risk any possibility of them coming loose during a cutting operation. After installing the runners, I sealed and lubricated them with several coats of paste wax.
Before attaching the fences, I cut a kerf into the base of the sled to give me a reference edge to which I could square them. Last, I added a block of MDF (three pieces thick) to fit between the middle and back fences. That block of MDF makes it virtually impossible to cut your fingers at the end of a crosscut operation because the blade is completely buried within the MDF.
—JOE SantaPau, Yardley, Pa.
Extra weight at the back end keeps the sled from tipping at the end of the cut.
Sled stock, 3⁄4-in.-thick MDF
Middle fence is installed square to the sawblade.
Base of sled, 24 in. wide by 32 in. long
Blade is buried within the block of MDF
at the end of the cut.
Hardwood runners ride in miter-gauge slots.
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