With the cabinets in place, I turned my attention to the shelf that would be placed between them, on which the saw will sit. Because I had some questions about attachment of the fence, I contacted Fine Woodworking magazine and obtained Bob O’Brien’s e-mail address. I asked him for specific info regarding the fence. He sent back a detailed response that included how he made and installed the shelf. Bob made his from a buildup of ¾” MDF and phenolic plywood and wrapped it in a border of solid maple. To jump ahead a bit, the counter tops are made the same way. Phenolic plywood (available at Woodcraft and Rockler) is not cheap. I planned to make the counter tops from it but decided to cut my expenses a bit by not using it on the shelf. After all, the saw simply sits on the shelf. The counter tops will be what take a beating. Instead, I used two layers of MDF, painted it and once the maple border was attached, I used spray can polyurethane to finish it. The shelf is roughly 35” wide and 21” deep. I left room at the back for a dust collection hose.
The saw has to sit on the shelf such that the bed is level with the finished counter tops. Here is the method Bob used and that I (for the most part) followed: I used 1-1/2×1-1/2 inch steel angle iron bolted to each of the side cabinets. The horizontal leg of the angle iron sits roughly ¼-inch below the bottom of the presumed location of the saw platform. Four ¼-20 hex socket cap screws are located in each angle iron. The two outer screws are for leveling and the angle iron is tapped for the screws to thread into. The two inner cap screws are to secure the shelf. They go through untapped holes in the angle iron and into threaded inserts recessed into the shelf bottom. You bolt the saw to the shelf, position the saw and shelf front-to-back, level it with the four outboard screws and finally, lock it in place with the four inboard screws into the inserts. I added a nut to jam against the angle iron and hold the cap screw in place. I had never tapped for screws so I contacted my buddy Paul. He is a fellow LJ (Harleysofttaildeuce). Paul is a machinist. He visited my shop with tapping tools in hand. With, the “feed a man a fish…teach a man to fish” theory in mind, he tapped the first hole, then taught me how to do the rest. Thank you Paul.
I am going to stop here and cover the counter tops in my next blog.
-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI