Made a little more progress – building the drawers, squaring up the tops. This workstation is already a pleasure to use, as the saw is much more stable and at a much more convenient height. It is also a breeze to move around on the casters. Although it was on casters before, it was so off balance that moving it was almost as difficult as moving it without casters.
I squared up the top blanks using a Skilsaw and the second straightedge guide I’d made. I left out the screws on the guide until the glue had set up, as suggested by Don Butler. This guide cuts straight. The inside corners of the tops were cut with a Japanese handsaw and touched up with a Fein Multimaster using the triangular detail sander attachment. This procedure worked nicely as the picture shows.
Top Fit test
The next step was to make the drawers for the right end of the workstation. As I had added 5 inches to the height of the workstation I decided to make 3 drawers rather than the 2 shown in the plans. I found that I could make the necessary parts from 2 sheets of 24”x30”x1/2” Baltic Birch plywood for the sides, fronts and backs and one sheet of 24”x48”x1/4” Birch plywood for the bottoms. The 1/4” plywood from Lowe’s actually measures 3/16” but I think it will be adequate. The Baltic Birch from Rockler measures a true 1/2”.
Setup Test Pieces
Next steps are to glue up the drawer boxes, make the false fronts for the drawers, then glue the oak edge banding to the top blanks and cover the tops with Formica. Then I’ll be ready to install the tops and cut the opening for the router plate. Then I’ll be done unless I decide to paint the workstation. Haven’t decided yet.
Dry Fit Test of one Drawer Box
Setting Depth of Cut
I know I know – too many hobbies
While I’ve been building this workstation I’ve thought about the safety aspects of it. I thought that it might be nice to replace the Powermatic saw with a Sawstop unit. Now that they’ve come out with the Contractor version of the saw it wouldn’t be a big deal to make the swap. I sent Sawstop an email to ask if I could buy just the saw, without the legs or the fence but they said that “Industry Regulations” required that they sell the saw with those items. I wasn’t looking to save much money – I just hate to throw those things away if I do decide to get the Sawstop. $1600 for the peace of mind is probably well worthwhile – way cheaper than a thumb transplant I’m guessing. But then I’ve never had anything like a close call with this saw or any other power tool – a year as a tool and die maker’s apprentice and 30 years of working around explosives and heavy machines made me develop safe work habits and I’ve never unlearned those habits. Enough philosophy – back to making sawdust.