Making the most of a small shop – Part 2
Not too long ago I had an idea to build one woodworking workstation to accommodate all of my most used equipment. One place to store and use all my power tools in an effort to optimize my very small workspace.
After weeks of planning, I jumped in and assembled a rolling frame with an MDF top that gets explained in Part 1 of this bench build series.
With the skeleton of the bench sorted it was time to get my first piece of equipment installed so I could start using my workstation.
- PART 1 – Frame and top
- PART 2 – Table saw
- PART 3 – Miter saw
- PART 4 – Workbench area
- PART 5 – Compressor
- PART 6 – Thickness planer
- PART 7 – Dust collector
- PART 8 – Router table
Table saw outfeed table
The cornerstone of my shop is my (Makita MLT 100) table saw so it only made sense that the table saw had to be the first tool that needed to be added to my All-In-One workstation.
I wanted to add my table saw on one of the narrow ends of the bench. Doing this would allow me to use the entire length of the 2.4m(7.8ft) bench as an outfeed table (minus the length of the table saw itself). It would also allow me to use the 1.6m(5.3ft) width of the bench to support any overhang when I needed to cut wider stock.
The only real obstacle I would need to overcome in doing this was to install the saw so that the bed of the table saw lined up perfectly flush with the top of the workbench.
Note: Because not all table saws have the same dimensions, this post will focus more on how I went about installing my table saw without too much emphasis on the exact dimensions.
PART 2: Table saw outfeed table
The instructions that follow are intended to be considered along with the visual instruction provided by the above video.
Step 1: Table saw backboard
The first step in adding my table saw to the workstation was to install paneling that would box in the area where the saw would be placed. This was important as the base on top of which the table saw would stand was going to be fixed to these panels.
The first of these panels would be the back panel (as shown above) that was installed at a depth equal to the length of the table saw bed. This meant that when the table saw would be installed the bed of the saw would sit against the back panel while the front of the saw bed would line up with the outer edge of the workstation.
Installing the table saw against the back panel meant I needed to remove a segment from the panel to accommodate the table saw exhaust. Doing this would allow me to connect a dust extractor to my table saw.
Step 2: Panelling
In this step, the remaining paneling was installed.
A base panel was fitted along with a panel to the left of where the table saw would eventually be installed.
The distance from the bench top to the top of the panel installed on the left was the exact height of the table saw.
The panel installed on the right did not have so much to do with the table saw installation but was added to increase the structural integrity of the assembly.
You will notice in the above image that the panel on the right was not installed to reach all the way to the top of the bench. This was done to accommodate a rail extension that would later be installed for the table saw fence rail.
However, because not all table saws have the same fence mechanism it is unlikely that the same provision would have needed to have been made for a different table saw. In such a case the panel would have been installed to be the same height as the bench.
Step 3: Table saw base
As I said earlier in the post, the hardest part of this segment of the build was to line up the table saw bed perfectly with the bench top. To do this I needed to get a little creative.
The base on which the table saw would stand was assembled and installed in a way that would allow small height adjustments. This was done by adding 20mm(1″) slots in the wall of the base (shown above). The base was then fixed to the paneling around it using bolts.
When installing the table saw, the base can be moved up and down slightly to line up the bed of the saw with the bench top. When the saw is aligned properly the base can be braced in position and the bolts tightened to fix the saw height in place. This would be done in the next step.
Step 4: Top cutout
With all the necessary paneling fitted and the base for the table saw installed, I removed the segment of the bench top that was going to be replaced by the table saw bed.
I found the easiest way to accurately make the cutout was to fit planks on the underside of the benchtop at the exact width of the table saw. I could then use these planks to guide my power tools when making the cutout.
Using a jigsaw, the bulk of the cutout was removed by cutting about 5mm(1/4″) toward the inside of these planks.
The remaining +/-5mm(1/4″) on the inside of the guide plank was removed using a router with a flush trim bit guided by the planks on the underside.
(Refer to the video for a better understanding of this step)
After doing this I placed the table saw on the base and adjusted the height accordingly. Before fixing the table saw to the table saw base I extended the slots on the table saw bed 400mm into the bench top using my router so that things like miter gauges and crosscuts sleds could follow all the way through the blade.
Step 5: Complete
The installation was completed by fixing the saw to the base, installing the rail extension and installing a final piece of paneling to the left of the opening.
Once again, the width and depth of the cutout, the depth of the back panel, and the height at which the base gets installed is all dependent on the dimensions of the table saw.