Tablesaw Workstation #3: Squaring Up the Tops

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Blog entry by JohninSD posted 10-08-2009 11:05 PM 2141 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: A little more progress Part 3 of Tablesaw Workstation series Part 4: Straightedge guide not straight???? »

I glued up oversize blanks for the two halves of the new top. I did the right hand one with fir plywood as I have made tops for router tables this way in the past and I know it works. For the left hand half I used MDF – seemed it should work just as well and as the material tends to be flatter than plywood I thought it was worth a try. Each blank is a double thickness of 3/4” material – which is actually 23/32” for the plywood so the right hand side of the table will be 1/16” thinner than the left side. I can adjust the supports so the top surfaces will match up when I install them.

After the glue had dried for a day I went out to the garage to begin trimming the blanks to size, which is an inch and a half less than the plans call for as I will glue 3/4” oak edge banding all around. I had originally thought I might use my router with a straight edge guide to trim the blanks but then I thought about the mess of dust that would create and decided to use a hand held circular saw, which still makes a lot of dust but not as bas as the router. I think it should also be faster. The first thing I had to do was to make a straight edge guide for the saw. To make that I needed a straight edge on a piece of 1/2” plywood. So I dragged out my benchtop jointer. A few passes with the cutting depth set to 1/64” and I had my straight edge. Then I ripped the piece of plywood to size in the table saw, using the jointed edge against the fence. Holding the edges up against the best straight edge I have (the T-square of my Exac-T-Guide) I see no gaps and no rocking so this is straight enough for my purposes.

I cut a piece of hardboard the length of the plywood piece and 8” wider. Then I glued the plywood to the hardboard and ran 6 or 8 brass woodscrews in from the hardboard side to hold it all together. The next step was to trim the edge guide to final size with the Skilsaw. This almost became a problem because when I had measured the distance from the edge of the baseplate to the edge of the blade (twice no less) I had measured to the wrong side of the blade so instead of having about 1/4” to trim off I had about 1/16”. Fortunately it was enough. I made one cut on the plywood top blank with the new edge guide and checked it for square in the vertical direction. I got lucky on this one as I hadn’t checked the saw or used it for some time but it cut square on the first try. Here’s a picture of the new edge guide and the freshly cut edge of the blank. That’s it for today – it’s kayak night so I’m off to the beach.

Squaring up the top

-- John

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