Build these helpers to get more out of your tablesaw.
Rip fence glides along
The rip fence on my Powermatic 66 tablesaw didn't glide as smoothly across the tabletop as I liked, so I made a $5 improvement. I bought a 2" fixed rubber caster at the hardware store and attached it to the bottom of the far end of the fence as shown below. The wheel rolls on the angle iron attached to the back of the saw. I put a spacer between the caster and the fence to give me 1⁄32 " clearance above the tabletop. The fence now glides effortlessly across the table
—William Marazita, Santa Barbara, Calif.
To joint long pieces of material, tune in to J-channel
I needed to put a straight edge on a long piece of stock, but because the piece was longer than my jointer's tables, I didn't have much luck. I headed to the hardware store and bought an 8' length of aluminum J-channel (normally used with aluminum siding).
I sawed off the flange, as shown, and attached the J-channel to my board with cloth-backed double-faced tape. Keeping the channel against my tablesaw's rip fence, I then cut a straight edge on the opposite edge of the stock.
With this one 8' piece of J-channel, I've found that I can joint stock up to 10' long. The tape will keep its tack for many boards if you wipe the dust from the wood before applying the channel.
—Ron Radecki, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Trim panels flush with a rabbeted tablesaw fence
You've glued some solid-wood edging on a set of plywood panels, and now it's time to trim the edging flush. If you don't have a flush-trim router bit, is hand-planing the only solution? If you own a tablesaw, you're just an auxiliary fence away from a super-quick solution. Make a 1 x 6" wooden auxiliary fence for your tablesaw and cut a rabbet in its face exactly as wide as the kerf of your blade. Attach the auxiliary fence to your regular rip fence and position it so that the outside edge of the blade is flush with the outside face of the auxiliary fence as shown in the drawing above. Then, run your workpiece along the fence to trim off the excess edging. We used a 50-tooth, carbide-tipped blade for clean, splinter-free results.
—from the WOOD® magazine shop
Support tablesaw shelves with angle-iron rails
Every time you switch from the miter gauge to the rip fence, you have to walk across the shop to put one or the other down. Then there's the problem of where to store the pushstick and other tablesaw accessories. Solve this dilemma by building a pair of shelves below your tablesaw top, using two pieces of angle iron and some 3⁄4 " plywood or particleboard. Cut two pieces of 1⁄8 x 1 x 1" angle iron as long as the total length of your tablesaw top, extensions included. Mount the angle iron just above the joint where the legs and the saw enclosure meet, using three equally spaced 5⁄16 x 2" machine bolts. (If the saw's power switch or handle interferes, bolt the angle iron to the legs.)
Attach the shelves to the angle iron using 1⁄4 " machine screws, lock washers, and nuts. Countersink the heads of the screws into the shelves. A strip of 1 x 2 glued and screwed to the outside end of each shelf will keep accessories from falling off.
—Marvin Ring, Corvallis, Ore.
Use clamp-on edge guide for straight-edged rip cuts
I tried several methods for ripping rough-edged boards on my tablesaw with mixed success. Then, while I was using a clamp-on aluminum edge guide and my circular saw to cut up some plywood, it occurred to me that the answer to my ripping dilemma was actually right in front of me.
Now, to rip a straight edge on a board, I first clamp the edge guide to the workpiece so it overhangs the edge of the board slightly. With the edge guide lined up firmly against the tablesaw fence, I get straight-edged rips every time.
By the way, I have a 48"-long Tru-Grip Clamp'n Tool Guide, available through many woodworking catalog companies. The guide also comes in 24" and 36" lengths.
—Glenn Sperry, Vista, Calif.
Cut compound miters easily with this tablesaw jig
Here's a way to cut compound miter picture frames without an expensive compound mitersaw. Start by making an 18 x 28" base from a piece of 1⁄2 '" plywood. Attach parallel miter-gauge guides to the bottom. Then, push this base through the saw blade to create a kerf that extends about 12" across the plywood.
Using this kerf as a centerpoint, screw the two fence pieces and the two angle blocks to the base as shown in the drawing. You can bevel the angle blocks at any angle you like, but 25° works well for most picture frames. Now, clamp or hold your picture-frame moldings against the fence and cut the compound angle by pushing the jig and the frame stock through the tablesaw blade.
—David Mattichak, Port Republic, Va.
Move ungainly plywood sheets with ease
You're going to be cutting a lot of plywood for an entertainment center. But hauling those sheets through the workshop and trying to tip them onto the saw table without damaging them, your tools, or yourself seems risky. With this simple two-wheel dolly, a pulley, and a length of rope, rolling the sheets into your shop and hoisting them onto your saw table (equipped with a table extension or work supports sufficient to hold a full sheet safely) will seem almost easy. Refer to the illustration to build the dolly. Drill an 11⁄64 " hole through the center of the 1 x 2 turnbutton and attach the part to the center of the top 1 x 4 block with a #8 x 11⁄4 " roundhead wood screw. The turnbutton must be free to move. Install sturdy pulls, such as those made for shed doors and gates, and place a heavy screw eye with threads at least 1" long near the center of the 2 x 4.
Hang a pulley above your saw table, making sure it can handle the weight of the plywood plus the dolly. Pass a rope through the pulley and attach a hook to the end.
Now, slide the sheet of plywood into the dolly. Secure it at the top with the turnbutton and roll the plywood and dolly to the saw. Park it with the 2 x 4 facing away from the saw and attach the rope to the screw eye. Now, hoist the sheet and dolly, pulling the rope with one hand, and guide it over the saw table. Lower into position, remove the dolly, and put the rope out of the way.
—Vern Baldus, Yuma, Ariz.
Extend the scope of your tablesaw
When making repetitive tablesaw crosscuts, you typically clamp a stop on a miter-gauge auxiliary fence and cut with confidence. But what do you do when the length of the cut extends beyond the face of the miter gauge? To solve the problem, I made a telescoping stop for my saw, as shown above.
In a length of 1⁄2 " steel pipe, I drilled a pair of holes for the knurled knobs, where indicated in the drawing at right top, tapped them, and threaded a knob into each. Then, in one end of a 1⁄2 " steel rod about the same length as the pipe, I drilled a 1⁄4 " hole and attached a bolt as shown above. I drilled and tapped holes in the bottom of my tablesaw top and used metal strapping to secure the pipe to the table. Now, with the rod inserted in the pipe, I can slide the stop out to whatever length I need and tighten it in place with the knobs. When not in use, the stop slides all the way into the pipe.
—David Mattichak, Port Republic, Va.
Build a wear-proof miter-gauge fence
Most auxiliary fences that bolt to a miter gauge eventually start to look pretty ragged. If you use one for mitering, beveling, dadoing, and such, you eventually wind up with big chunks missing.
However, this adjustable fence slides toward or away from the blade so that you never cut the face—regardless of the blade or the angle of the cut. You also can fabricate different slides for zero-clearance cuts.
To build any of these three fences, cut the fence and clamp bar to the dimensions shown above. For length, use whatever dimension suits your needs. Choose maple or another smooth, stable hardwood. Then, glue the two pieces of hardboard to the fence. Now, use epoxy to secure two #10 nuts to the clamp bar. Attach the clamp bar to your miter gauge. Slide the fence on the clamp bar and position it. Finally, secure the fence in position by tightening the two screws.
We invite you to hop on over to WOOD's Top Shop Tip forum. The shop tips forum is for you to share your shop tips that might be of benefit to other woodworkers. Our tips editor, periodically reviews all of the tips posted here for publication, and all tips are eligible to win our Top Shop Tip $250 tool prize, as-well-as $100 per published tip awarded in each issue of WOOD magazine.
—Jerry Boone, Kansas City Woodworkers' Guild