Now that I’ve been in my workshop again, it’s time for some table saw upgrades I’ve been wanting to do. The bigger project I had planned for yesterday couldn’t happen because of part damaged during shipping, so I went with the easy one. Here’s the old switch on my saw.
It worked fine, but I wanted something cooler and safer, so I ordered one from Amazon for about $13. The hardest part was finding an electrical box to would work with the location where I wanted to install the switch. Then I built a simple scrap wood box around it and wired everything.
The START button is recessed and you really have to push it, so there is almost no chance of accidentally turning on the saw. The STOP paddle is a big target and at knee height, which will make it easy to turn off the saw without moving my eyes or hands if an operation becomes dangerous.
Following up on fixing my table saw crosscut sled, I decided it was time to build a new cart for the saw. The mobile base kit I used from Harbor Freight seemed like a good idea and worked ok in the beginning. Over time, the weight of the saw seemed to bend the base. With only two small swivel castors and the other two wheels being stationary, it became a real bitch to move around the shop, especially as I filled out the space with more tools.
The solid wood came from the cabinets I rebuilt, the plywood (except the one 3/4 piece) is from a truckload I got for free, the drawer is the same as the ones I upcycled for the sanding station, and I think I paid $10 for the casters at a garage sale.
Here are some planning measurements and sketches. Other than trying to keep the same height for my saw, the dimensions were based on the drawer.
I took those and most of the plan from the mobile table saw cart I linked above to make a model in SketchUp. You can grab the plans off GitHub if you want them.
Creating a model really helps me find measurement errors and think about the assembly order. The Cut List extension in SketchUp is a huge time saver too.
Note that the cut list above isn’t the final one in case you want to make this. I made some modifications along the way. The Sketchup model should be pretty close to what I made though.
I really liked the assembly process for this build, which made it easy to square everything up. Makes a huge difference being able to move the saw around the shop better.
Of course I had to add one of the free Harbor Freight magnetic strips. Much better plate to store the tape measure and splitters than with magnets on the fence.
While I was at it, I attempted to seal up a bunch of gaps in the saw’s body with spray foam. What a mess! I also made covers for the front and back that’ll stay in place except when I need to make a bevel cut.
I ended painting them black to blend in. Hopefully these little things make a big difference with dust collection.
Since I had extra pieces of the oak runners already cut to size I made a mini sled too.
The sleds will make it easier and safer to use the saw. I already used the large sled to cut the pieces for the mini sled and then during the mini build I used it to cut the block that covers the blade when it goes through the back. Really handy accessories!
I gave a good coat of paste finishing wax to the table saw surface, miter slots, fence, rails, and the bottom of both sleds. Everything slides really well now.
I didn’t like how sketchy it was cutting the long thin runners, so I moved this push stick up in priority on my project list so I’ll have it the next time I need it. Figured I might as well make two because they’ll get chewed up over time.
Made some adjustments to the side storage to put the push sticks in each reach at the front.
Added a platform underneath and felt dumb pretty dumb doing it. At first I cut a sized piece before realizing there is no way to get it in there without removing the saw from the rolling base, which I definitely was not going to do. I ended up ripping the piece in half and screwing in a couple of supports down the middle to connect the two sides. I may store my circular and jig saws here too.
While I was grabbing parts from Menard’s I grabbed a push stick (yellow-orange in picture below) for $2. Eventually I’ll make one or two other versions on my own to use with different cuts or sizes of wood. Since I had to add the insert on a side for the dust hose, I add some places to hook stuff. I’ll probably add something similar to the other side of the stand and maybe put in a bottom for more storage space.
I grabbed a nice Diablo 60 tooth blade ($34) from Amazon, a zero clearance insert ($34), and a splitter kit ($35). After installing the blade, I tuned up all of the alignments on the saw following tips from parts 1 and 2 of a YouTube guide. Once everything was aligned properly I was able to install the insert and splitter. The combo will help prevent tearout, not give space for pieces of wood to fall down into the saw, and help prevent kickback since this old saw doesn’t allow a riving knife. You can never be too safe on these machines.
In part 1, I mentioned fence customizations. The plan there was mainly based on reviews I read about this saw before buying it. Many people said the fence was junk. After aligning everything, making sure to move the fence from the T end (not the end by the blade), and using the saw for a bit, I think it’ll work just fine for me.
At an estate sale I found a miter gauge that actually fits my slots. I bought a digital angle gauge ($15), which not only helps to make sure the blade is aligned properly with the table, but will allow accuracy when setting angled cuts.
I needed to fit a piece of wood up against the seam of a cylinder I created by rolling a sheet of polycarbonate. Remembered seeing of video of someone cutting coves with a table saw, so I found some simple instructions.
I didn’t need to be very precise for my use so wasn’t concerned with my guides having a little wiggle room. Worked great for what I needed. I love learning new stuff! New skill in the toolbox.
I found a used Craftsman table saw (model 113.298032) on Craig’s List last weekend. Most of the saws I’d been watching had significant rust and this one was in good shape, so I paid $125. I have a lot of ideas to improve the functionality of this saw and utilize it for the space in my workshop, so this will be the first in a series of posts.
The power cord had exposed wire and a bunch of places wrapped in electrical tape. I paid $5 for a 10 foot extension cord from Harbor Freight, cut off the end I didn’t need, and wired it into the switch.
The belt had a little nick in it, which you can see on the right side of the picture. Probably would have been fine, but I wanted to replace it. After reading a tip, I went to Auto Zone and they easily matched up the belt with something in stock ($10).
The metal on the bottom of the stand was bent all over the place, making the casters virtually useless. It was like trying to push the saw down a bumpy dirt road. Harbor Freight sells an awesome mobile base kit, which was about $32 after a 20% off coupon. All of the reviews said it works better than the name brand kits which cost twice as much or more.
You have to supply your own wood for the frame, so I bought four 2x2x42″ exterior deck balusters, for $0.97 each. The instructions call for 1 1/4″ square material, but if you know lumber measurements, the 2×2″ is way off. The fit was snug and took some convincing with a rubber mallet, but these pieces worked great.
Rolls around nice and smooth now. Easy to lock in place too.
Future upgrades will include dust collection, fence customizations, a guide sled(s), a router table, and zero clearance inserts.