Homemade table saw


  #1  
Old 02-21-02, 07:50 AM
casadegeorge
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Homemade table saw

Can anyone tell me how to make a table saw by using a circular saw. I know it can be dangerous but I've seen it done. The only problem I'm facing is how to build a table fence. Also can I find any plans on the web that will help me?
 
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Old 03-05-02, 11:51 PM
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I have a home made table saw as you seek.

-A SPACE SAVER:
I simply do not have 30 to 60 square feet of room in my garage for a contractors table saw. I have a million other tools and the table saw takes up the most amount of space of all the power tools. But I do have a large home made work bench in the middle of the garage, so ...!

I won't go into the details of design but I will mention the most important point.

-REFERENCE BAR:
You need a reference point on the table from which both the saw and fence will be exactly parallel. This bar is the key to any homemade table saw. The first thing I did was to embed a 1/2" square solid steel bar (slightly longer than saw shoe plate) in the middle of the table. Chisel it in snug and tap it in with a hammer and insure it is flush with the table top. Now it will never move. Rough cut the opening for the circular saw shoe plate before installing the square bar, thus you only have to chisel out the two ends of the steel bar, instead of the full lenght of the bar. A tip; my rectangular saw opening is a foot wider than the saw shoe, then I made a simple removable table top insert to set in the opening. I recommend you do the same to facilate saw removal.

-SQUARE REFERENCE BAR TO BACK EDGE:
Be sure to square the 1/2" steel bar up with the back edge of your table, because that is where your fence will likely ride. So you want the back edge of the table to be straight as an arrow.
The front table edge should also be straight to facilitate even clamping pressure for your fence. Take your time here, use a razor to mark the location, then carefully chisel the bar in place. If your off, no sweat, just make corrections when building the fence later. Plus, you can always shim the bar as needed later on.

-MOUNT YOUR SAW:
Your circular saw base will rest against one side of the steel bar, thus automatically providing a parallel saw blade, even after removing and replacing the saw. No adjustment required. The saw base plate is already square and the edge of the shoe plate is already parallel to the saw blade. That is what makes the project fool proof.

-ALIGN FENCE TO BAR:
Your fence must be squared up to the steel bar as you build/assemble it, thus always having a point of parallel reference. Sound tough?, nahh, it's easy.

-BUILD TABLE:
Build the table, mount the saw and design a fence anyway you can dream up. A tip; my saw hangs by just the front and rear edge of the saw base(shoe), in a snug custom chiseled out recess. My fence is fashioned out of a T-square beefed up with wood for height and a built in quick clamp on the front end. When designing the table top, note that a thick table, say 3" will inhibit the hanging of the saw because the handle or something will snag.

-THIN CUTS AND SAWDUST:
I use my saw to cut 4x8 sheets, build cabinets and jewerly boxes and more. It is 100 percent accurate all the time as well as my built in ruler scale. No fiddling required. I would hold it up against any brand name table saw and fence system. However, the circular saw is not good at cutting short thin pieces with the homemade saw because the saw shoe has a really big gap near the blade. A short thin piece of work will fall in. It is an insignificant drawback.

I even have a made a built in vacuum port because, unlike a real table saw, the circular saw guard throws the saw dust up into your face. Actually, that is the worse part of the saw. I usually have to wear goggles and mask when doing more than one cut. The vacuum (added years later) removed 90 percent of the saw dust. I hole sawed the saw guard and epoxied an copper tube stub right onto the saw guard, from which I attach a vacuum. I stole the idea from my Porter Cable circular saw dust chute.

-EASY TO REDESIGN:
The good news is that you can always modify the table design. For example I bought a new saw with a slightly deeper foot plate. Also, my original table had a skewed back edge. After a few years, I straightened it by adding edge trim along the back. You will have design bugs, but none of them will ever be a show stopper. You will succeed regardless of your design.

-HOW BOUT A ROUTER TABLE!
Although I own a router/shaper table, I also built an extra router mount in my table saw/work bench; similar to the saw, but on the opposite side of the reference steel tube. Great for making eight foot trim mouldings. My table saw/work bench is six feet long.

Always use push sticks, as with any table saw.

Lugnut, a dedicated do-it-yourselfer.
 
  #3  
Old 03-06-02, 02:05 PM
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casadegeorge,
Quite a few months back, someone else also wanted to use a workmate and install a circular saw underneath. At the time I advised against it for a number of reasons but maybe Lugnut has found the solution - maybe. There are still some safety concerns:
no blade guard(if you use those things), a difficult to reach power switch unless you install a remote or foot switch, you will get binding due to less power of a circ saw, and probably more of a pain to raise/lower blade.
Lugnut says "My table saw/work bench is six feet long." Well, my Delta cont. saw is only five foot two (but not blond).
A table saw is likely the most used tool for a woodworker,
you may want to get a small portable table saw before you take the Contractor saw plunge.
fred
 
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Old 03-06-02, 04:44 PM
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Hi fewalt,

Nice to hear some feedback on this, even if we lost the orginal poster . You mentioned some good points.

I did not remove the sliding saw guard from my circular saw but did consider it. As it turned out, the guard works the same as it does when hand held. That is, it covers the exposed blade and retracts as you make the cut. But nothing is perfect. Just as when using it hand held, cutting extremely narrow strips will catch the guard somewhere before the cut is finished. For safety reasons, I will not discuss how I handle that, but I do not want to mislead folks into thinking that it is equal to a real table saw in that respect.

I rigged my saw to be switched on/off with a convenient bench mounted wall switch. A desirable safety feature and a lot of work to wire the bench. Works nicely for me, but my ordinary switch can be accidentally switched on while I'm using the bench saw as a work bench. You can buy safety switches, but I have not yet done so. For safety, I unplug the saw when not cutting lumber. But accidents can happen. It has happened to me twice over 8 years and both times the saw guard was safely in place, so all I had to do was pee my pants. But to be fair, my worst accidents (kickback) happen on my power mitre box saw and router. If I don't use the saw for weeks at a time, I simply lift it out of the table top and replace it with a table insert.

Since the circular saw uses the 7 1/2" blade instead of a typical 10" blade, I have never experienced binding or being underpowered as one could surmise. Ironically, my old (discarded) bench top store-bought table saw would bind on a regular basis and I had to hit the reset switch. So I know exactly what you are talking about. I concluded that saw binding on any saw is predominately due to lack of a fence as a guide.

Your right about requiring more effort to adjust blade height. Futhermore, you cannot install dado blades on a circular saw which is a minor drawback.

I own a newer $99 small bench top table saw, but never use it. I have only used it when my work bench was dedicated to the project and I needed a quick saw cut. Even then I try to avoid using the $99 saw. Honestly, how does anyone cut anything on those small table tops? I would gladly sell mine.

In fact, I bought the $99 bench saw in a pinch to take advantage of the 10" blade for a deep cut. After getting home I discovered that it only cut 1/2" deeper than the circular saw! That was useless. Boy was I disappointed. I mistakenly thought the 10" blade would cut 4" or more. The lesson I learned was that two of those ten inches are always below the table top. So I will be looking at 12" saws if I ever buy a contractors saw.

Finally, another small drawback to the homemade saw is that the saw guard does not fully retract below the shoe. In the fully retracted position, the guard sticks up about 1/2" as it covers the blade when not in use. So if I need the bench top to be clear of objects so I can assemble or paint, then I must remove the saw. My table design uses a large saw opening that allows an instant no-tools removal. Many people might not combine their workbench and table saw so it would not be a drawback.

A WORD OF CAUTION -
My homemade table saw/work bench took more than a weekend to build. To forum readers, I would discourage the use of a WorkMate, quick clamping or any other flimsy method to substitute for a table saw, as fewalt pointed out. It would be far too dangerous in my opinion. I repeat, far too dangerous.

If I ever get a larger shop, I would not hesitate to replace the homemade saw with a monster sized contractors saw. Until then, the homemade saw with its super large table top remains the ideal choice for me.

In summary, one of the two big drawbacks to the homemade saw is the massive amount of sawdust being jetted straight into your eyes, nose and mouth. This is unlike the sawdust you get from a store bought table saw which is directed under the table.. I can't emphasis this enought. Even with glasses, without goggles, you get bombbarded from the guards exhaust path. And you get 100 percent of the fallout. Circular saws are designed to exhaust DOWNWARD and away, but in a table saw position, it shoots UPWARD in your face. You find yourself holding your breath, squinting your eyes and dangerously over extending your reach to skirt the blinding fury. Seriously, it's a problem that can instantly lead to bodily blade injury from knee jerk reaction, closing your eyes or over extending your reach over the spinning blade. I've been blinded at the end of a cut in a precarious position several times and on a few early occasions I have done the unthinkable; I instinctively released my grip on the board being cut so I could escape the face pelting. Need I say more? I have a humble respect for this constant danger. I do not let my friends and neighbors make cuts on this saw because of this hidden danger.

And secondly, the work bench is often covered with junk when I need to use it.

Lugnut.
 

Last edited by Lugnut; 03-06-02 at 05:07 PM.
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Old 03-06-02, 05:42 PM
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Great stories Lugnut,
Used to have one of those small table top saws myself. And like you mentioned - very small work surface. I put extensions on mine, left and behind the blade. Finally gave it to my neighbor.

Hey, I never thought about the circ saw shooting the sawdust right in your face. Not too pleasant!.

One tidbit on dado blades. Don't buy an 8 inch dado, stick to the smaller 6 inchers. They are easier to install on a bigger saw. And, you usually don't need more than 3/4 inch dadoes for most projects, so why waste more money on an 8 inch.
later,
fred
 
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Old 02-18-09, 10:20 AM
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Any Manufacturers of table saw attachment for Circular saw

Does anyone make a table I can buy to convert my circular saw to a table saw?
 
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Old 02-18-09, 10:48 AM
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For all the above aforementioned reasons, I don't think so.

fred
 
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Old 02-18-09, 03:30 PM
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In seven years, the answers are still the same. Don't even attempt it. Table saws are too cheap.
 
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Old 02-18-09, 03:37 PM
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here's the safe way to convert a circular saw to a tablesaw /panel saw

Ive been really pleased with mine

The EZ Smart Woodworking System - Core77

I like my fingers and hands to much to even consider mounting a circular saw upside down

Like chandler said , tablesaws are cheap emergency rooms aren't
 
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Old 02-19-09, 05:46 PM
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Mango: I thought about one of those things for panels. Will it work on a left hand PC saw? Do you have to alter your base to make it work, and if so, will it affect regular cuts?
 
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Old 02-19-09, 06:45 PM
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the FAQ here will explain the left hand use
The EZ Smart Woodworking System by Eurekazone, Inc.

here's a forum dedicated to it for further info

EurekaZone (EZ-Smart System) - Sawmill Creek

you do need to screw the adapter to the base of your saw and align it , I drilled and tapped it and have only taken it off a few times

I pretty much have the PC saw dedicated for this and I use the Makita and cordless ryobi for general cutting
 
 

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