15 Tablesaw Hacks
You can buy all sorts of accessories to make cutting on a tablesaw easier or safer, but these low-cost solutions improve storage, dust collection, and workpiece support.
1. (Shown below) To make hefting plywood and MDF onto a tablesaw easier—and safer for your back—bolt this pivoting hook to the left wing of your saw. Hang the 4–6"-wide arm 1⁄2 " above the floor using a common 3" door hinge. Then, bolt on a hook heavy enough to support a full sheet of MDF (about 100 pounds). To use it, rest one edge of the sheet in the hook, then pivot the sheet and slide it onto the saw top.
Make extensions pull double duty
2. (Shown below) Replace your tablesaw's extension table with a customized downdraft table that collects sanding dust. Make the top from any material, drilled with 1⁄4 " or 3⁄8 " holes, or use perforated hardboard. Add a port on the bottom for a shop-vacuum hose or 4" flex-hose for your dust collector.
3. (Shown below) Convert the extension table into a router table
by dropping in a router plate or lift, and clamping a fence to the tablesaw's rip fence. Add a dust port to the H-shaped fence to draw dust from the housing between the fence face and the clamping face.
Hacks to keep you from hacking up dust
4. (Shown below) Blade shrouds on newer tablesaws channel dust directly to the main port. Inevitably, some dust escapes to settle inside the cabinet. To capture this dust, install a second port and connect it to the shroud duct with a tee.
5. (Shown below) Open-base contractor-style saws typically lack any kind of dust-collection capability. Combat this by attaching a canvas collection bag to capture the dust that falls into the cabinet. Some bags come with metal grommets for attaching the bag, but if that doesn't work on your saw, simply hold it in place with heavy-duty magnets. You'll have to occasionally remove it and dump the contents.
Start a support group
6. (Shown below) An outfeed table secured to the rear fence rail
supports long workpieces during the cut. To manage wide workpieces, such as sheet goods, add a sliding support that telescopes into the hollow front rail. The longer you make the sliding inner arm, the wider your support arm can extend.
7. (Shown below) Double the usefulness of your outfeed table by adding shelves or drawers for storage. Ball-bearing rollers screwed to the outfeed table won't "steer" a workpiece away from the fence like cylindrical rollers can.
8. (Shown below) Make a roller outfeed setup from everyday items found at home centers and hardware stores. Bolt together the frame from angle iron or aluminum. For the rollers, plug the ends of PVC drain pipe with holesaw cutouts, and attach them to the frame using threaded rod.
9. (Shown below) If space won't allow for a permanent outfeed table, make one that collapses when you don't need it. Simply attach a cleat to the rear fence rail, then secure the outfeed table to the cleat with a continuous hinge. Fold-up legs fit within the table frame when stored.
10. (Shown below) Benchtop tablesaws benefit from a broader base, and a custom stand provides that stability. The small stand, below, features collapsible extension and outfeed wings (as well as a router table in the "drawer" below).
The larger unit, below, also serves multiple tools, with built-in dust collection and storage. Heavy-duty locking casters make both mobile.
Hacks for hanging, holding, and hiding
11. (Shown below) The empty space beneath your tablesaw's extension table screams out for a custom storage cabinet. The three-drawer unit, below, keeps accessories dust-free.
Get plans for this cabinet.
Or, design it as shown below, with open shelves that accept odd-shape fixtures and vertical drawers that keep blades handy.
12 (Shown below) Ride the rails for slick storage. A tray built to fit inside your saw's hollow front rail, below, provides lots of storage for small items, such as pencils, hex wrenches, and spare screws, bolts, nuts, and washers.
Or, bolt a clamp rack onto the back rail, below, making sure the clamp heads don't interfere with fence or workpiece travel.
13 (Shown below) These two easy-to-make miter-gauge holders attach to any tablesaw. Make the sleeve-style holder, below, from plywood or scrap stock, spaced so the miter bar slides in and out easily.
Or, for a miter gauge with an attached fence, below, screw cleats or hooks to a plywood scrap, and then bolt this assembly to the saw.
14 (Shown below) This simple shelf system adds storage for your miter gauge, rip fence, throat inserts, and other accessories. To build it, bolt angled steel to the legs or cabinet, and then attach plywood shelves and end stops.
15 (Shown below) A fridge magnet adhered to the top of your rip fence keeps small metal accessories, such as this 6" rule, within reach, but safely in place.