After the snag of the previous day I picked up a Milwaukee 7/8” hole saw. I was not happy that I had to buy an extra tool for this project but I have to say I was pretty happy with the saw. It cut aluminum really well and has a replaceable arbor so it wont cost too much if I need different sizes.
Let me say, this would have been a lot easier if I hadn’t already drilled holes in the rail. Without a hole for the pilot bit to ride in, the saw really wanted to jump around. I cut a hole in a piece of scrap and clamped that to the rail to try to guide the bit but it didnt work as well as it could have.
After drilling all the larger holes and tweaking some of the smaller ones to line up with the threaded holes in the cast iron top the rail went on pretty easily and works just as well as the previous rail did.
This is where I hit snag #2. The fence on my TS rides along the back rail but is not really attached to it. There is a piece of aluminum which can pivot down and grab the rail if needed. There was always about a 1/4” gap so it wasn’t really useful for keeping the fence from lifting off the table a bit when I tried to use holddowns but since I want to use the fence for the router table and I want to be able to rig up featherboards to hold pieces down to the table, I need to get this working correctly. I found some scrap plywood pieces and if I glue a 1/2” and a 3/4” piece together the width is exactly the same as the current aluminum piece. My 1st attempt at cutting out a similar shape using a rotozip type attachment for my dremel tool went horribly wrong. My next attempt will probably just use a coping saw to get the shape close then sand it.
The next step was to start cutting and gluing up a top. The final top will be about 24” x 27” and I had a 48” x 48” piece of 3/4” ply laying around so I cut two pieces and glued them together. The only flat reference table I have in my garage at the moment is my table on the TS but I couldn’t really clamp things down well. My solution was to use aluminum bar clamps as stand-offs to get the wood high enough that I could clamp around the edges. Then I was worried that I wouldnt have enough force in the middle and I didn’t have any hardwood that could be used as a caul so I figured it was time to start milling some of the lumber for my workbench. I jointed 1 face of one of the leg pieces flat and used it as a caul. The clamping looks odd but all the straight edges I used to check the assembly looked good. I couldn’t fit my 36” steel straightedge on there but I think it came out flat enough. I’ll find out tomorrow.
You may notice that there is absolutely no squeezout anywhere. I really hope that isn’t going to be a problem. I put what I thought was a decent amount of glue on both halves before sticking them together and I spread it around with a spatula to try to make sure everything was covered. Since I knew I was going to trim an inch or so off all the way around I didnt try to get the glue right up to the edge. I didn’t really expect any squeezout but since I am used to that being the way I know there is enough glue… its got me worrying.
Next will be trimming the top to size and putting some maple edging on. I also need to pick up some contact cement so I can put the laminate on and then I should probably figure out how I am going to attach it to the TS.
-- Good Judgement Comes From Experience. Experience Comes From Bad Judgement.