Table Saw Extension / Workbench

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Project by SWM posted 02-04-2011 06:50 AM 7032 views 5 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Finally! My tablesaw project is complete and put back together. I have drooled over the 50” tablesaw fences for years. Unfortunately, the saw only included the 30” rails when I found it on Craigslist early this year. I finally found the 50” rails & supports for a decent price, but I couldn’t justify the $400 that they wanted for the PM issued workbench extension (Melamine laminate workbench? Junk I say). So I debated for weeks if I wanted to build my own melamine copy or something a little more involved.

Not suprisingly, I also picked up a copy of Chris Swartz’s excellent book on Workbench design about the same time (fantastic book for novice or expert I think). He’s a real function over form kind of guy, which I really like, but I digress….The first few chapters of the book was all the convincing that I need to begin my journey down the quest of the perfect workbench. No, this table extension table with a quick release vise is not the perfect bench. Far from it actually. But it did provide an opportunity for several first in my woodworking journey. This was my first glue-up of large panels (30.5” x 40”) and the inevitable flattening of said large panel by hand (thank you Woodriver #6). All in all I figured that this project served an immediate need (ts extension table) and would push me a little closer to the obligatory traditional workbench in my future. I’m taking baby steps here guys and gals!

Workbench top is primarily constructed of laminated Southern Yellow Pine with 1” Red Oak trim on front and vise sides. Boy, did that SYP move after the initial rip cuts! The stock had been in my shop for months, but it bowed tremendously once I ripped the 2×8’s down to 2.5”. I let it sit for a few days after an initial run at the jointer. Sure enough it moved again. Actually had to joint/plane/flatten these boards three times in some cases! Final thickness came in around 2 inches, which was actualy 5/16 less than I’d planned. But who’s counting right? I added a few support 2x’s below the top just for good measure.

I finished with the tung oil based “Waterlox”, which I picked up at Woodcraft. The can says to use use 4 coats on soft wood, which I was little skeptical. The first 2 coats seemed to disappear overnight. But the shine really came out with the 3rd and 4th coat. I knocked down the final coat with a 1200 grit finishing pad and applied a light coat of furniture paste for good measure.

Despite the Mr. Swartz’s aversion to quick release face vises, I purchased the Jorgensen 10” vise from Amazon. Again, I thought that it fit the immediate need of this project and would probably serve as useful ancillary vice in the future. So far it has performed admirabbly, with no real problems in fit or function.

As always, thanks for looking and let me know if you see something I could have done better.

-- Working on a retirement hobby, only 30 more years to practice!

13 comments so far

View Crushgroovin's profile


234 posts in 2888 days

#1 posted 02-04-2011 07:07 AM

Ah Ha!!! I just figured out what I am going to do with the Grizzly Cabinet Saw I just got. Once I rebuild it of course. That is a beautiful looking bench and an excellent use of space. Not to mention how much better it is than a $400 piece of melamine!

Schwartz provides some incredible insight in all of his publications but I do really enjoy his Workbench book.

-- I wouldn't be so arrogant if you weren't such a moron!

View scarpenter002's profile


605 posts in 3869 days

#2 posted 02-04-2011 07:53 AM

Wonderful job. I know you will really enjoy this addition to your TS/Workshop.

-- Scott in Texas

View Ken90712's profile


17553 posts in 3153 days

#3 posted 02-04-2011 12:22 PM

This is great. Congrats to you! Love it, shold last for ever and having the bench dogs will be great!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3786 days

#4 posted 02-04-2011 02:24 PM

This is a pretty nice upgrade to your saw and, now that you are an expert, I am sure you are ready for a full blown workbench. I have been considering building one of these as well. The extension table that came with my saw is nothing to really get excited about. This is certainly an inspiration to get started on one.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View AttainableApex's profile


347 posts in 2797 days

#5 posted 02-04-2011 02:35 PM

i was just thinking of doing this to mine this afternoon.
well not with a vice, but if i had to do it and had extra money i would.
only problem i have really is that i have only a small block plane and my i would have no way of leveling it out at the end. hmmmmm…..

-- Ben L

View schroeder's profile


702 posts in 4089 days

#6 posted 02-04-2011 02:39 PM


-- The Gnarly Wood Shoppe

View Bertha's profile


13521 posts in 2657 days

#7 posted 02-04-2011 02:57 PM

Absolutely spectacular. I really loved Schwartz’s book as well.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View JPWHIT's profile


63 posts in 2895 days

#8 posted 02-04-2011 03:38 PM

Very nicely done. I am sure you will enjoy the extension with every thing you cut or do layouts from now on. thanks for sharing

-- Measure once, then twice and cut only after you made sure your good. John Paul

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3637 days

#9 posted 02-04-2011 06:34 PM

Nice work!

View juancito's profile


3 posts in 2657 days

#10 posted 02-04-2011 10:46 PM

This is great. congrats to you! love it

View SWM's profile


94 posts in 3022 days

#11 posted 02-05-2011 04:03 AM

Thanks for all of the kind words. This is one of those projects that I’ve really wanted to knock out for some time. I have to admit that I am still a little googly eyed when in the workshop! Now, just maybe I have run out of excuses to finish up my wife’s entertainment center that I started about 18 months ago.

-- Working on a retirement hobby, only 30 more years to practice!

View BIGRAY's profile


16 posts in 3070 days

#12 posted 02-15-2011 06:13 PM

Awsome!! well done, I need to build one of those!!

-- Bigray's experiments

View helluvawreck's profile


30765 posts in 2831 days

#13 posted 03-23-2017 09:57 AM

This surely does beat the stock table top insert that comes with the saw. You did a real nice job on this and it will be a great addition to your shop.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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