Wall Mounted Panel Saw

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Project by vrice posted 03-27-2015 10:33 PM 35218 views 14 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is something I built several years back that has proven to be indispensable for me. I regularly use sheet goods; 4×8 sheets of cabinet grade plywood, 5×5 sheets of Baltic Birch Plywood, hardboard, etc. Breaking these down on a table saw, alone, is a challenge and somewhat dangerous. Using a track saw means setting up for that requiring a fair amount of floor space, and of course a decent track saw setup. The option I have built here has practically a ZERO footprint, yields solid 90deg cuts and is very easy to handle by myself.
Now, I saw this design in some woodworking mag that I no longer recall. So I can’t give the appropriate attribution here. But the construction was dead simple. Uses plywood for the back, 2×4s for the guide rails and 1×4 stock for several supports and braces. The carriage was made from MDF. The only tricky part involved the circular saw carriage. This carriage is simply a square sled with a long tenon on each side. This tenon rides in a grove in the runners. The recess that takes the saw must be custom fit for your particular saw. Each guide rail is simply a 2/4 with a rabbet cut on one edge. Then on that same edge the face of 1×4 is attached, yielding a grove in which the rabbet on the carriage rides.
The important part of the construction is getting the runners aligned correctly with the support ledge on which the stock sits. Getting this right then yields a nice, square cut down the stock.
Lastly as depicted in one of the pics, I put a support on the wall about 4 feet from the panel saw. This is to support a sheet when you are cutting close to one end, and thus scooting the stock as far to one side as possible.
And when its idle I can store one or more sheets in it, depending on thickness.

-- Vic Rice

8 comments so far

View bruc101's profile


1261 posts in 3779 days

#1 posted 03-28-2015 01:23 AM

I’ve always wanted to make one of those for my smaller shop and yours inspires me to do so.
Thanks for sharing it with us.

-- Bruce Free Plans

View Gary's profile


64 posts in 2499 days

#2 posted 03-28-2015 01:31 AM

Clever design. Nicely executed.

I wonder, is there a reason to make the cut north to south rather than south to north? I think I’d feel more comfortable working against gravity for a reason I can’t articulate, frankly.

Cheers – Gary

-- Cheers -- g

View mafe's profile


11771 posts in 3326 days

#3 posted 03-28-2015 01:58 AM

Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View vrice's profile


101 posts in 2928 days

#4 posted 03-28-2015 02:16 AM

Gary, going the other direction is not a problem with this setup at all. Never really crossed my mind. I will say the saw plus carriage is a little heavy. BUT, should definitely work heading NORTH as well.

-- Vic Rice

View OldBoatMan's profile


23 posts in 2668 days

#5 posted 03-29-2015 11:14 AM

I have a few questions, but first let me say that your panel saw is beautiful.

1. I take it that the tracks for the saw sled are fixed and not moveable. Am I correct?

2. Which horizontal board is your reference surface?

3. What was your procedure for squaring the tracks for the saw sled to the horizontal reference surface?

4. How do you handle sheets of different thickness (1/2, 3/4 etc.)?

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3103 days

#6 posted 03-29-2015 12:13 PM

I could use one of these myself. It’s a nice addition to your shop.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View vrice's profile


101 posts in 2928 days

#7 posted 03-29-2015 04:38 PM

Very relevant questions Oldboatman.
1. Correct the tracks are fixed. You move the stock, instead.
2. The horizontal reference surface is the support ledge on which the stock rests. If this is a factory edge you should be OK. Otherwise you just need to make sure that edge is flat.
When I mounted the whole thing to the wall, I was careful to mount such that this ledge was level, using a 5 ft level gauge.
3. OK, after I mounted the whole unit to the wall, SANS the tracks, as per (2) I then mounted the tracks using the same level gauge to make sure the tracks were 90deg to the support. So, had holes drilled thru the tracks ahead of time. Holes were slightly enlarged, maybe a 32th. Then I held the tracks in place checking the level. When all looked good I marked and drilled the holes in the back, screwed the tracks in place and then performed any minor tweaks to make sure 90deg was maintained.
4. If you notice the two points of contact where the tracks attach to the base, the space between is 1.5 inches. So, in theory you could accommodate stock up to that thickness. Now, since normally I am cutting stock less than that, I use wedges placed at strategic points to pin the stock down against the back. You can see those loose wedges sitting up on the top of the unit.

-- Vic Rice

View vrice's profile


101 posts in 2928 days

#8 posted 03-29-2015 04:51 PM

When I made this thing, around 5 yrs ago, extruded aluminum was not popular. Now, I have thought about replacing the tracks with a couple of pieces of extruded aluminum using a setup whereby the carriage rides in tracks in the aluminum. Should be much more rigid and smooth in operation. Since I have what I have, AND it really performs quite acceptably for me, I’ve not pulled the trigger on that mod. BUT if I were building it right now I would probably consider that option given extruded aluminum is fairly cheap.

-- Vic Rice

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