Making A Quick And Dirty Table Saw Homemade Machines & Jigs
This project actually began several years ago when I started thinking about building a wooden table saw from scratch. Not just a thrown together one, but a real, high quality cabinet saw that is fully capable of being used for any kind of woodworking operation. I’m still probably more than a year away from that saw, but this marks the start – building a temporary table saw that is good enough to build a better table saw.
Some of you are probably asking: “he already had a table saw, so why take that apart and make something that is not nearly as good?” And the answer to that is to avoid the inevitable comments about needing a table saw to build a table saw. And it also demonstrates by example that the tools that you use don’t have to be top of the line to produce accurate results.
So this table saw is very basic and it starts with my folding saw horses that I’ve laid a piece of 1/2″ plywood on:
The plywood will be the top of the new temporary saw, but it will also be reused for the new more permanent saw that follows this one. I didn’t mention that one? Yes, there is another temporary saw after this one! But since I will have to use it for as long as it takes the build the final one, it needs to be made well enough for everything I’d normally want a table saw to do. That project is coming next.
This (and the next) saw will be powered by a held-held circular saw. I got this one as part of a promotion I did a couple of years ago, so it cost me nothing. Of course, these saws are very common and can be bought for very little at yard or garage sales. Even brand new, you can get one good enough for this for less than $100.
Since I will be using this for as much as a year and I already have another circular saw that I like using better than this one, I’m making a semi-destructive change to the upper blade guard so that it will clear sawdust more efficiently:
I could go all the way and cut off the rest of the guard so that the saw will accept a bigger blade, but this will do for now. And while it does help to clear the sawdust, the saw would still work for this purpose without cutting off the guard.
As it is right now, I could easily put an 8″ blade on there, since the lower guard has been removed as well:
To mount the saw to the plywood top, I drilled four holes in the base, one in each corner:
Again, I didn’t have to do this, but it is the easiest and most secure way to fasten the saw. And the holes have no real impact on the strength of the base, so the damage is minimal.
I located the saw in the middle of the sheet of plywood, since I will reuse this and don’t want it full of holes. With it screwed in place, I made a plunge cut to clear the blade:
I used a nylon pull-tie to lock the trigger to the “on” position:
Next I added boards to the front and back to support and help keep the top flat:
These are just screwed on and set back from the edge around 3″.
I wired a regular light switch to turn the saw off and on, and fastened that to the underside of the table:
And located it back from the edge so that I wouldn’t bump into it and turn the saw on.
I could then flip the saw over and get it situated on the saw horses:
The fence is just a piece of wood with a straight edge, and here I’m using the shelf pin jig I made a few years ago:
I’m marking a zero reference on the top with the fence held tight against the side of the blade.
With the fence clamped front and back, It’s ready for the first test cut:
It worked well. The saw has plenty of power, especially with a thin kerf 7-1/4″ blade. At full height, it can easily cut through 1-1/2″ thick stock with this size blade.
With the front of the upper guard cut out, the sawdust comes straight down off the blade, so I put a recycle bin there to catch the dust:
I made an upgrade to the fence a few days later. This one is just slightly more complex but is self squaring and can be held with just one clamp on the front:
This makes it a lot more convenient to use.
I made a video of the table saw build from start to finish:
And here’s one that shows how I built the better fence: