July, 2009

Outfeed table for the table-saw

One the biggest challenges with using the new table-saw has been the lack of a proper outfeed table. I also have been feeling the lack of decent sized assembly table, so when I saw the large outfeed table design in Fine Woodworking #202 I decided that's the one I wanted to build.

I decided to use a prefinished sheet of cabinet-grade plywood for the top instead of phenolic plywood since it is about half the price and I couldnt find phenolic plywood in full-size sheets. I also adjusted the size of the table to be a couple of inches longer in order to accommodate my cross-cutting sled.

The hardest part of the whole assembly is getting the sides and the central partition together square, since there's no easy way to clamp the partition to the sides except from below. I perched the whole project diagonally on my table-saw so that I could clamp cabinet squares to the inside corners while I drilled and screwed one end together.

Once that was done, marking out and attaching the bottom and the shelf dividers was pretty straightforward.

I used a set of story sticks with my circular saw to cut the panel for the top shelf to the same size as the central partition and was pleased to have it fit snuggly without trimming.

This was followed by the vertical divider. Lots of screws.

Before I attached the subtop I predrilled and countersunk screw-holes for the top.

The feet were a bit of a kludge. The design was for a table height of 34" which was a couple of inches too short for my table, but somehow when I did the math I added something up incorrectly because I had thought I would be able to account for this just using the lag-screws for leveling the feet.

So when I got to attaching the runners I realized that I needed an extra 2" and so I had to add a 1" foot in each corner of the 4x4 runners. This would have worked out ok, except that when ripping the 4x4s to make the 1x4 feet the blade was binding inside the 4x4 (I was cutting half-way from each side), and they ended up all out of square. It will be hidden by the kick-plate eventually so it's not too much of a problem.

Screwing the top on was tough on the wrists in all those tight corners, but otherwise uneventful. I cut off the far corners and chamfered the top edges.

The final prep to the top before I could use the table required routing out slots for the miter-guage and a cut-out for the blade-gaurd. I then spent some time getting the table-saw and the outfeed table pretty well lined up and parallel.

The drawers were a new challenge - especially since the dimensions weren't spelled out in the article. The fronts and backs were rabbeted to slide into dados in the sides and a groove all around held a rabbeted bottom. Putting it all together and clamping everything before the glue set was tricky.

I cut some spacers from scrap to help install the slides as parallel as possible. Even with these to help me I managed to mix up one of the spacers between the drawers and the cabinet which I had to account for with yet another spacer for that drawer.

One design mistake I made was planning for the drawer fronts to be flush with the cabinet (which seemed logical at the time). Once I saw the completed drawers however, I realized that this exaggerated any alignment errors I had and looked odd with the plywood edge-grain of the cabinet. So I repositioned all the slides for a 1/4 inch setback and the second time around I was able to get all the drawers to align pretty well.