Making A Wooden Table Saw – Part 3 Homemade Machines & Jigs

Continued from part 2…

Progressing with the wooden table saw build, I decided to mount the switch on the outside of the cabinet in a separate small box:

Wires from the power cord and the motor come in and connect with the switch. At some point a third wire will be added to run a shop vac that will handle fine dust collection for the saw, and that will come on when the saw starts.

Technically should be a metal box, but I’m fine with how safe this is. My connections are securely fastened, so the wires won’t come loose:

I made the box as small as possible and it projects out past the front panel of the saw to make it easier to reach:

I made front and back support rails for the top from strips of 1/2″ plywood, and fastened those to the cabinet:

The top will be fastened to these with screws through the surface.

The piece I have is not long enough for the total 60″ width of the top:

So, I cut another piece to fill in the rest:

The top is 1/2″ thick plastic, a product called Starboard SA. While excellent for this purpose, it was a special order for me and wound up costing as much as a complete lower cost table saw. So I can’t recommend it as the lower cost option. Any good quality plywood will make a suitable top, or even particle board like I used on a previous table saw build.

To cut the blade opening for the insert, I made a template from 1/4″ plywood. I used my compact compass to draw the half circles on the ends before cutting it out with the table saw (for the straight parts) and jigsaw:

The spindle sander fine tunes the curves after the fairly rough jigsaw cuts:

I used two router bit sizes with the template to cut a rabbet into the edge to support the insert:

And took extra time to very carefully layout where it needed to be. I wanted to have good support on both sides of the blade, and still have enough space to fit my hand in to screw on the arbor nut:

With the top in place I could look for and fix high and low spots. I planed the high and added strips of masking tape to the low to build it up:

I added a full length support at the seam between the two parts of the top, and then screwed it down in several places:

The plastic top will expand and shrink with changes in temperature, but I don’t think that will be an issue in my shop. The temperature goes from a high of around 24 degrees C in the summer to a low of 5 degrees C in the winter, so not extreme. I’ll keep an eye on it, though.

I made an insert (two at the same time, actually) from 1/2″ plywood. The washer at the end lips under the top and keeps the insert from lifting at the back:

A 1″ finger hole makes it easy to remove:

When I routed the opening, I made the rabbet exactly 1/4″ deep, and that matches the 1/4″ clear acrylic I have. Another option is 1/4″ thick aluminum, but the plywood will do for now.

With the top in place I checked the alignment of the blade:

I had to make a very slight adjustment, moving the back trunnion frame to correct it. The top can also be moved to compensate for any misalignment, making it square to the blade. When adjusting the trunnion frames, it’s critical that the one in the front be lined up correctly to begin with, and not changed. The third trunnion was cut to match that location and moving it with throw that off.

Roughly checking the blade to see how vertically square it is to the table:

I later used a tilt block to more finely dial it in and added a dead stop on the inside at 90 degrees (orange arrow points to it):

The idea with this saw is to leave the bottom open and just let the bigger sawdust fall to the floor to be swept up regularly. My first few test cuts show the dust is fairly well contained below the saw and easy to reach with a broom:

Since the concrete floor in my shop isn’t perfectly flat, I made adjustable feet to add to the bottom of the legs:

These are as simple as it gets, with just a 1/2″ plywood pad, a bolt, washer lock nut and t-nut.

The tilt block mentioned above being used to mark the tilt angle scale on the front panel:

With around 1/4″ between 1 degree marks, there’s good resolution here for setting it accurately:

The numbers are from a vinyl label sheet I bought, but it didn’t have enough zeros and I had to uses the ohs instead. Still looks pretty darn good, if I do say so.

The “stop” button on the switch is a little small, so I made a bigger paddle to engage it:

It pivots on that single screw on the side.

And other than a few little odds and ends and future refinements, the saw is complete and ready to use:

I did install the older wooden table saw fence from the blue topped saw, but will be making a new one soon with a longer rail:

Here’s the last video in the build: