Low-cost panel saw
Despite my small shop, I like to make large projects. So to maximize my shop space, I built this inexpensive makeshift panel saw for breaking down sheet goods to rough size.First, I bolted 2' foldaway stand-offs to the bottoms of 8'-long 2×4 legs, where shown in the drawing. The bottoms of the legs have 1⁄2" holes drilled every 8" to hold the removable doweled support blocks, where shown. At the tops of the legs, and in three wall brackets lag-bolted to the wall studs, I drilled 1 1⁄4" holes to accommodate a 1"-diameter 8'-long iron pipe. After drilling the ends of the pipe for cotter pins, I slid the pipe through the brackets and legs and secured it with the cotter pins.To use the panel saw, I spread the legs to support the outside edges of the workpiece. For crosscuts in full sheets, I stand the sheet on the floor and clamp it to the legs above the cutline to prevent binding. For partial sheets or for rip cuts, I rest the sheet on the support blocks, which I position at a comfortable height before clamping the sheet to the legs.To position the saw guide, I fasten a clamp about 9" below the cutline on one side and rest the end of my shop-made straightedge saw guide on the clamp while I position and clamp the other end for the cut. Then I go back and position the first end of the guide.—Bill Anders, Gettysburg, Pa.