|Project by Garry||posted 01-08-2014 06:25 AM||6688 views||63 times favorited||34 comments|
It was very interesting to see Drew's Ultimate Tablesaw Cabinet posted a few days ago. Apparently he and I were working on similar projects over the holiday break.
Here’s what I call my Ultimate Mobile Woodworking Bench. It’s based on the Paulk design and incorporates many ideas I picked from you LJs. It’s modular so it can be broken down into pieces when moving to the next house.
I have to say I’m very pleased with the UMWB. I started work on it a few months ago and it’s been usable for the last month and a half. These last two weeks on Christmas vacation gave me time to really focus and get it finished. After way too many years of makeshift garage workshops in rented houses, it feels great to have an organized workspace that I know I can take with me almost anywhere. I built a small bookcase for my wife’s craft room and it went very smoothly.
Here are my impressions so far with a series of walkaround pics below. If you want more details and to follow the build, check my UMWB blog and other postings. I’ll also answer any comments or emails.
Side view (with sled stored beside the tablesaw):
Size – The work surface is 48” x 76.5”. The max width of the tablesaw and router table is 52”, the overall length of the benchtop and tablesaw surface is 9’-2”. The fence extends another 14” for a total overall length of 10’-4”. The height is 38.5” or 39” (depending on when the floor locks are actuated) to suit my preference.
Convenience – The best part is having all my tools ready to hand in the drawers on the bench both for getting them out and putting them away. The big work surface gives room to move things out of the way when I need to push another piece through the saw. The cutouts in the side are great places to keep dust brushes, clamps, squares, and hand tools handy without being in the way.
Mobility – On the big 6” swivel casters, the table moves with a solid push on the smooth garage floor. It has some heft (I estimate 800 – 1000 lbs) so most tasks don’t require the floor locks. It sometimes takes a push crosswise to get the casters to swivel in the right direction. It works well in the driveway but takes a bit more effort due to the slight slope, dip and twist in the concrete. The torsion box frame is rigid enough that I have to shift it around to find the right location to get all four rollers on the ground and keep the table from rocking (but it’s so big, it’s hardly noticeable when it does).
Floor locks – I decided to use floor locks instead of wheel brakes since the brakes are often under the table where you can’t reach them. The floor locks individually have a little play in them but when they’re all engaged the table is rock solid. To get enough clearance for the uneven driveway, I had to raise the table by putting 1/2” plywood under the casters. I keep four pieces of 1/2” to put under the floor locks when I actuate them. I also had to extend the foot pad on the floor locks to make it easier to actuate them (lifting the table in the process).
Storage – There are lots for drawers for storage and I seem to have hit on the right mix of 2”, 4.5” and 7” deep drawers. There are still some options for hanging storage and spaces between the cabinets to be utilized. The only thing I don’t have designated space for is my power saw but that would only be needed for breaking down full sheets. With a folding infeed table, I wouldn’t be needing it anymore, so that will be one of my first projects.
Dust control – The compact dust separator works well even though powered only by a shop vacuum. The exhaust air manifold directs the suction to either the tablesaw, router cabinet or hose. The hose can be connected to the router fence or used as a typical vacuum hose for cleanup. A future upgrade would be to build a more powerful suction fan to replace the shop vac.
Electrical – There is an open outlet at either end, dedicated outlets for the tablesaw and router, and switched outlets for the vacuum and compressor. The tablesaw and router have safety paddle switches. The vacuum switch can be reached over the saw table but I have to remember to check the air manifold to make sure it’s aligned to the tablesaw.
Tablesaw – The bench works great as an outfeed table. The Shopfox W1410 fence is accurate and solid. An upgrade will be a folding infeed platform and a device to help lift a sheet of plywood up to the table.
Router – Luckily, the Bosch table I had could be used within the tablesaw fence rails. The router cabinet gives useful storage and is shimmed from below to make sure the wight doesn’t affect the fence rail alignment. Dust control can be connected to the cabinet and fence at the same time and seems to work fine.
With the sled stowed on the side (left) of the tablesaw. Note the storage for push sticks, stop blocks and the router table fence.
The router table extension with cabinet. You can see the switches and outlet in a protected location at the end of the table.
Next to the router table is the exhaust air manifold, the dust separator, the rectangular Ridgid vacuum and the Makita MAC700 compressor. The 2-1/2” vacuum hose tucks away between the cabinets below the air manifold.
Opposite the tablesaw is another outlet and the plug for the power feed. The table overhangs about a foot giving a safe place to hang the air hose and opportunities for other storage as needed.
This side shows most of the storage drawers which are interchangeable so they can be rearranged as needed.
Tucked away to make room for the car but still very usable.
-- Garry, North Carolina woodworker and engineer - The journey you're preparing for has already begun.