Table saw work station with homemade T-Square fence Part 1

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Project by GCM posted 12-18-2012 09:16 AM 37908 views 14 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Unable to afford a “real” table saw I looked at ways of extending the capabilities and life of my cheap Aldi Table saw. I looked at a few alternatives and finally chose Curt Filipowski’s design based on a construction timber frame. In truth this was a mistake, not that the design is flawed but I am sure that Canadian construction timber is a a lot better quality than we get here – even when hand picked. It was difficult in the end to get an accurate frame but with persistence I eventually got it to something I was happy with.

Because the belt on my Taig lathe broke and it was going to be a few weeks until I could get a replacement sent out from the US I decided to build a rough and ready T-Square fence out of the scrap I had on hand (actually I shouldn’t call it scrap – I don’t believe anything that is useful is scrap – but it didn’t cost anything) – I intend to do a much better job in the near future, as it is, it is MUCH better than the original fence – rock solid when clamped and gives me a crazy 55 inches of cut width.

I had originally toyed with the idea of having a sliding table to the left of the blade but wanted to get the thing done as I have a shed load of projects building up – it can be added down the track.

-- Make things as simple as possible, but no simpler.

14 comments so far

View RustySpur's profile


30 posts in 1983 days

#1 posted 12-18-2012 09:38 AM

Nice build. You’ll definitely enjoy having a larger surface…and look at all that space for drawers and shelves.

-- russ from texas - garage shop weekend warrior

View Bill_N's profile


235 posts in 2149 days

#2 posted 12-18-2012 12:05 PM

This is very similar to a build I did that did not turn out in the end ( learning moment )
I still use it as a work table, turned the saw into a disk sander works great.

I would love to see more detail on your fence that looks like a good strong build.
You will love the extra work space Great job

-- I have the Saw Dust Fever

View chadgr's profile


89 posts in 2082 days

#3 posted 12-18-2012 12:24 PM

Very Cool table saw thanks for posting

-- Chad Griffiths Vist my Etsy Shop

View stefang's profile


15701 posts in 3205 days

#4 posted 12-18-2012 01:20 PM

That looks like a nicely done set-up to me.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Sailor's profile


543 posts in 3136 days

#5 posted 12-19-2012 04:16 AM

I like it a lot! Makes me wish I had a larger shop for a huge table and fence like this…..

-- Dothan, Alabama Check out my woodworking blog! Also my Youtube Channel's Facebook page

View majuvla's profile (online now)


11469 posts in 2738 days

#6 posted 12-19-2012 06:19 PM

I’m also in category ’’make your own machines’’! As long as it can cut it’s good!

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View TOM's profile


72 posts in 1862 days

#7 posted 03-21-2013 07:03 PM

Looks like a great DIY project. Did you laminate the top yourself with melamine, or did you use a “pre-laminated” sheet?

Might you be able to post more pics of the finished cabinet/bench – as well as some additional information as to
your custom-made rip fence?

Also, what kind of table saw is that you’re using?

View GCM's profile


86 posts in 2198 days

#8 posted 03-29-2013 04:34 AM

@Tom: It is a “pre-laminated” sheet, I don’t think I have ever seen melamine laminate being sold on it’s own. Even the material commonly referred to as Formica is no longer generally available here. Formica would be a better material to use IMHO as it is harder wearing and would present less resistance to the fence glides.

I will indeed post more pics when I have added the cabinet/shelving to the bench but for now the workstation is “functional” and I must get on with some more important furniture projects that I am about 12 months behind in (lucky they are for me). The purpose of this project was specifically to allow me to better break down sheet material and it does that fine.

The fence is currently just a prototype that I made out of material I had to hand – I will be building a better version soon – however it works well enough for me to address the most pressing issues I have at the moment and I think you know what that means ;-) This fence, and the one I intend to build are both based on AskWoodMan’s and John Heisz’s (both YouTube names) versions. The major problem I have with it is it doesn’t glide as well as I think it should – this is probably because I don’t have access to UHMW plastic and the cutting board stuff I used, well, doesn’t “cut it. On the next version I will include a locking clamp of the lever kind – the screw type I am using works well enough but you soon get sick of all the “screwing” you have to do.

The table saw is an Aldi (supermarket chain) Taurus/Work Zone El Cheapo contractors type saw – it really is time to upgrade but the cost of a better unit is not justifiable at the moment – The workstation is an attempt to get another year or 2 out of it. It works ok.

-- Make things as simple as possible, but no simpler.

View TOM's profile


72 posts in 1862 days

#9 posted 04-30-2013 05:38 PM

Just curious if you’ve moved any further with your “better version” custom fence idea(s).

View cjbrownco's profile


1 post in 841 days

#10 posted 09-29-2015 09:31 PM

I know this thread is old but I thought I would try. How did you make your rail and fence. Also, what are they made out of please. Thanks for your time.

View GCM's profile


86 posts in 2198 days

#11 posted 10-03-2015 11:52 PM

I know this thread is old but I thought I would try. How did you make your rail and fence. Also, what are they made out of please. Thanks for your time.

- cjbrownco

I pretty much followed Curt Filipowski’s design:

My rail is 2-1/2” x 1-3/8” x 1/8” steel tubing scavenged from my local waste management recycling centre.

It sits on a 1-1/2” x 1-1/2” x 3/16” angle iron from local steel supplier.

The tubing was originally 2 sections of roughly the same length and I carefully welded them together to make one long section.

The fence is 2” x 2” x 1/8” steel tubing which was a scrap piece left over from a steel fence build that a friend gave me and some angle iron I bought out of a local steel supplier’s scrap bin. Everything is welded together.

The knob was salvaged from a broken office chair.

PS: If you were thinking of doing something similar I would recommend having a look at this brilliant design:

-- Make things as simple as possible, but no simpler.

View SouthernRustic's profile


24 posts in 637 days

#12 posted 04-20-2016 08:29 PM

What are the dimensions you went with for the top? It doesn’t look like a full sheet.

-- Jeff

View GCM's profile


86 posts in 2198 days

#13 posted 04-20-2016 10:38 PM

What are the dimensions you went with for the top? It doesn t look like a full sheet.

- SouthernRustic

2170×900mm (~85” x ~35”) – The reason for this is lost in the mists of time, but would either be that that was the size of the material I had to hand at the time, or it was a (arbitrary) reasonable metric approximation to the original design dimensions and also to suit my table saw – eg support on the left hand side of the saw.

Note: I see that Curt now has the Sketchup model available – I don’t think this was available when I built my version and so my dimensions may have from what I could glean from the video (which isn’t all that clear).

In retrospect, and if you have the space for it – using a full sheet dimension would save some time in construction.

-- Make things as simple as possible, but no simpler.

View helluvawreck's profile


29691 posts in 2737 days

#14 posted 08-15-2017 02:45 PM

This is a very nice workstation and is a great addition to your shop.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

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