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Revamping my Delta Contractor Saw #11: Laminating the Extension Table

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Blog entry by Mark Colan posted 09-21-2010 02:38 AM 4058 reads 1 time favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 10: The Core of the New Extension Table Part 11 of Revamping my Delta Contractor Saw series Part 12: Mounting the Extension Table to the Fence »

Having successfully glued the two faces of MDF together, and trimming to the exact size, lamination went pretty easy.

Which Laminate? A Shopping Tip

The hardest part was choosing the laminate. I didn’t want to wait a long time for a special order to arrive. White was boring. While I have a nice red, I didn’t want it for my saw table (it’s used for the Universal Tool Stand, which I’ll blog about another time).

I went to Home Depot and Lowes. Most of what they have is REALLY not to my taste. They do have a basic white, and a basic black. But one Home Depot store had a closeout on black microdot. I didn’t think I wanted black, but in the end I thought it would be better than yet another white surface, and might look cool next to the metal saw top. They wanted only $30 for a sheet, so I went back and got it.

The big sheet (4×8) was tricky to cut. It tore a couple of times while I tried. Perhaps it is thinner than the red laminate I used before, because I had no such problems with that, but it was only 30” wide, too. I ended up using an untorn piece for the top, and a piece with a 5” tear for the bottom, to seal it. Of course, I used slightly oversized pieces, to allow trimming to fit later.

Laminating is Fun!

Laminating is fast and easy, and produces nice results. Turn off the furnace, water heater, any motor (washer / dryer) that could make sparks first – you don’t want them turning on with the highly flammable fumes of contact cement hanging low on the floor, which they do. Then bring a fan to the basement and set it up to vent out the window, to protect brain cells and get rid of the flammable fumes quickly. A chip brush works great for spreading the contact cement, and it can be cleaned with mineral spirits for reuse. No rush, because it has to dry 15-20 minutes before joining (and less than 2 hours). Went up and read lumberjocks during the drying period ;-) .

I used the standard technique of putting down some thin rods, leaving a gap in the middle, then placing the contact cement side down over the MDF which is glue-side up with rods. Starting in the middle, I smoothed it outward, and moved and removed rods as I went, to avoid air bubbles. Then some hard rolling with the rubber roller designed for this purpose.

Trimmed it with a router bit, then flipped it over, and did the same for the underside. This was a bit trickier because of the tear. While the tear is slightly visible, the underside is protected from humidity changes, and you won’t be able to see the tear once it is installed.

The Results

Here’s what it looks like (closeup of one corner):

Laminated with black microdot

I think it looks pretty slick. Moreover, thanks to the microdot surface (a grid of small indentations), it IS slick: there is less laminate to cause friction when sliding wood over the extension table. I first heard of the microdot surface from a drill press table at Woodpeckers. I am not sure that I would want an extra-slick surface for a drill press table, where friction might be useful to keep an item in place while drilling. But a table saw / router table? Definitely.

Next Up: Oak Trim, and Attaching to Fence and Saw

The next step will be tricky. I bought some oak to create an edge for three or four sides (unsure of whether to edge the side that will attach to the steel table of the saw). But with the Incra Fence, you also cut support pieces which are attached to the fence rails. Incra tells you how to do it on page 11 of the assembly manual – but for 3/4” table tops, but mine is now 1 5/8” thick, and the total from the bottom of the support piece to the top of the table is 2 1/2”. If I cut the support pieces too narrow, the bolt won’t have enough wood to hold it solidly.

I think this means I either won’t be able to cover the entire edge (the uncovered part won’t be visible, but it won’t be protected either), or I have to do something fancy like using rabbets on both the support piece and the edging.

The other quandary is how to fasten the MDF or oak trim edge to the steel table of the saw, using the three pre-drilled holes that are there. That would be easier to figure out if I remove the existing extension, but that could make it tricky to cut and shape the oak pieces to fit without an extension.

I’ll start by experimenting with some scrap, before committing ideas to oak.

If you’re wondering why I have not made more progress in the past weeks, it’s because of a vacation that took two weekends away from woodworking, and believe me, I was pining for the shop (sorry about that).

-- Mark, hack amateur woodworker, Medford (greater Boston) MA



7 comments so far

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5170 posts in 2654 days


#1 posted 09-21-2010 06:55 AM

Greetings Mark,
Hey….. the lamination looks really good…..I don’t think I’ve ever seen microdot laminant before….
It deffentily has a different look to it…..Nice… You’re coming right along with the table, and it won’t
be much longer, and you’ll be routing things….all kinds of things..lol….
Attaching the table to the extention wing on the saw is not that hard…getting it level might be…lol
You figure it out… I got faith in you…...

-- At my age, an "all--nighter" is not having to get up and pee...!!!

View Mark Colan's profile

Mark Colan

209 posts in 2305 days


#2 posted 09-21-2010 02:01 PM

Hi Rick, Thanks! Yes, getting it mounted in a way that is adjustable for leveling is the hard part, also adjusting it – since this table top is H-E-A-V-Y now! I estimate 25 lbs.

I’m actually attaching it to the table of the saw itself (right of the blade), not to the extension wing (left of the blade). One problem I have is that the holes on the side of the saw table are in a difficult-to-access place. I’d like to figure out a hardware arrangement that will actually pull it snug to the metal. The current (Delta) solution uses brackets, and it mainly serves to hang that end of the table, without pulling it towards the metal table. And it’s hard to level, too!

-- Mark, hack amateur woodworker, Medford (greater Boston) MA

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5170 posts in 2654 days


#3 posted 09-21-2010 07:26 PM

Hey Mark,

Well… I’ve been waiting for someone else to chime in and give you their ideas…..I’ll see if I can help….
You didn’t say if the router table was going to be bolted to an angle iron that the fence rides on , and mounted longways front and back…I don’t know how long your fence is, so I didn’t have a clue….IF it is, get your wife to help hold up the table while you slide a couple of clamps across the top to clamp it down to the angle iron….temporarly….. Then you can level the table at the front better next to the saw body….Use some grip or quick clamps, get it up tight, and reach underneath and clamp the r.t. to the sawbody, in between the “metal ribs” where the holes are…....WHEW….!!! If you have room for a very,very, short pencil,

mark the holes in the r.t. as best you can…I did the same thing to my ext. table on my unisaw. I used 2—-2 1/2” bolts, washers, and nuts to mount mine. But before you mount it,( unless you plan on having legs to hold it up), use a couple of 2x’s to hold up the other end(you’re wife’s probably already gone into the house by now…lol.)..Then drill the holes in the r.t. to match. Put the bolt in with a washer, run it through, washer, and nut…..Now this is what I did…you may have a different plan….but it’ll draw it up tighter’ Dicks hatband!!!!!!
If you have another way, scratch everything I’ve written…..lol….It worked for me….three times…..

-- At my age, an "all--nighter" is not having to get up and pee...!!!

View lanwater's profile

lanwater

3111 posts in 2394 days


#4 posted 09-21-2010 10:38 PM

your lamination looks really good Mark. I also have never seen the microdot, it looks great.
Like you I bought my laminate from Lowes and HD and yes I ended up with the borring white.

I tried scoring the laminate and snapping it but I got tear out like you did.
I now cut mine with a circular saw. I put a sacrificial plywood behind and cut it.
The carbide on the blade will take a hit if you do tons of it but the cut is very clean. If you do that please wear a good dust mask and use some dust collection system. I am fairly sure if we breath that stuff it will stay in our lungs for a long time.

Great job!

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View Mark Colan's profile

Mark Colan

209 posts in 2305 days


#5 posted 09-22-2010 12:41 AM

@Rick: that’s roughly what I have planned. If you have been following this long-winded adventure, you know that the new table is a combo router table and saw extension table, and that I have already mounted the Incra fence to the saw.

The Incra rails provide another avenue of support, as there are T slots that face the sides of the extension table. When I talked about oak trim and fastening to the Incra rail, that’s what I mean.

I do intend to use a pair of legs on the far end, too, because this 25 lb table will put a lot of weight on the Incra rails otherwise.

And finally the attachment we’ve been discussing to the table saw table itself. Supporting the extension table in three ways may seem like overkill, but in my book, nothing exceeds like excess! And this table will get used a lot, sometimes with weight.

As for attaching a router, I will need to route a ledge / hole for the router plate, and perhaps route a slot for a miter slot. Planning on doing both later, after the trim is attached.

-- Mark, hack amateur woodworker, Medford (greater Boston) MA

View Mark Colan's profile

Mark Colan

209 posts in 2305 days


#6 posted 09-22-2010 12:43 AM

@Ianwater: THANKS for your comments. You’re right about the dust mask for that nasty laminate stuff. It’s built to last, which means it will last a long time in any lungs too.

-- Mark, hack amateur woodworker, Medford (greater Boston) MA

View Mark Colan's profile

Mark Colan

209 posts in 2305 days


#7 posted 09-22-2010 01:04 AM

Hey Guryl,

I do not plan to use a router collet extension. I do plan to use a router plate, with a hole cut for it in the MDF, which should make the extension unnecessary and avoid the problem with the mounting screws.

Thanks for your comments!

-- Mark, hack amateur woodworker, Medford (greater Boston) MA

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