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View gepatino's profile

About DIY table saws

by gepatino
posted 02-01-2013 06:27 PM

26 replies so far

View bandit571's profile


19761 posts in 2652 days

#1 posted 02-01-2013 06:41 PM

Blackand Decker put out a “table saw/sabresaw bench” back in the 70s. Plastic bench, had slots for the saw to poke through. Clamp the saw of choice under the top. Plug the saw in to a switch installed on the leg. Needed a clamp to lock the saw in the “ON” posistion.

Made a good step stool, though. Clamps that held the saws would work loose while the saw was running. Maybe update the concept???

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 2079 days

#2 posted 02-01-2013 06:49 PM

Some of the difficulties:

- Tilting the blade
- Changing the blade height
- Maintaining parallel between the blade and fence
- Maintaining parallel between the blade and miter devices
- Installation of a proper riving knive or splitter (some newer Euro handheld saws have this covered)

The parallelism affects more than accuracy. Wood trapped between a stop or fence, and caught in the rising rear teeth, can be extremely dangerous. Routers (and band saws, but differently) rotate around a center, and aren’t affected by parallelism errors.

There is a huge power difference between a circular saw and a decent table saw. Table saws also use heavy duty arbors and cast parts, straighter parts and vibration damping drastically improve cut quality.

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3127 days

#3 posted 02-01-2013 07:16 PM

Because circular saws are louder, smaller, less sturdy and less powerful. And by the time you build the saw top thick enough to not warp overtime, you lose the capacity for thicker cuts.

However, there are some cool designs, even one posted as a project this past week, that does what you are wanting to do. I just feel that the cheaper, better, and safer approach is a real table saw…Craigslist has some bargains…and if you can’t afford $50 to $100 for a used Craftsman 113, then I’m not sure you’ll ever afford to do this hobby.

-- jay,

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4187 days

#4 posted 02-01-2013 07:18 PM

I worked at Sears when I was in college in the late 70’s, and they used to offer table like Bandit described. As mentioned by he and Barry, there are a lot of issues that make it a so-so idea. I would imaging safety concerns are what drove these off the market eventually.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4187 days

#5 posted 02-01-2013 07:24 PM

And picking up on what Jay said: By the time you bought everything you would need to make a table and a reasonably functional fence, for the same money you could buy a used saw or a brand new Ryobi or similar cheap bench saw, either of which would still be better than your cobbled-together Frankensaw.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2644 days

#6 posted 02-01-2013 07:28 PM

I own an 18 year old Skilsaw (yes Skil brand). It is a good quality saw like professional contractors use with no red safety button on the handle. I paid more for this saw than you would pay for a used table saw today. The table saw would be better.

View oldnovice's profile


6773 posts in 3337 days

#7 posted 02-01-2013 07:35 PM

The last time I saw a wooden table saw it did not have any blade tilt capability and the blade height change was done with the table being raised and lowered, similar to a Shopsmith, but with a parallelogram like mechanism instead.

Tilt capability was achieved with adjustable fence putting a lot of pressure on the blade which didn’t have a guard or riving knife!

All in all, NO thanks!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Loren's profile


10278 posts in 3617 days

#8 posted 02-01-2013 07:40 PM

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2940 days

#9 posted 02-01-2013 07:47 PM

I’m not disagreeing with any body here, but I am curious why router tables are successful because to me they are just homemade attempts to build a shaper,

View bandit571's profile


19761 posts in 2652 days

#10 posted 02-01-2013 07:49 PM

Ok, let’s just try something here. A few “design’’ points, if you will:

#1) A thick, sturdy top. Two layers of either 3/4 plywood, or mdf.

#2) Mounting a saw. Need to route an area for the saw to sit into, so that one can get a decent height of cut.

#3Mounting the saw, part two: Need to attach the saw with counter sunk bolts and lock washers. Not to clamps, either. Drill through the saw’s base plate. You want zero vibration so that things don’t vibrate loose.

#4) Power source: need a way the have the saw itself stay “On”, and control it with a seperate switch in easy reach. Power cord to the outside switch, saw cord to the outside switch. On some older circ. saws, it means just a few wraps of tape to hold the switch “On”. Newer saw???

#5) miter slot. As in ONE slot, only. Router slot over in the 1-1/2” thick area of the top. Framing square off the slot for the saw blade, to make both match. You can tilt the saw later, right now, you need to mill a miter slot. Miter gauge can be a DIY item as well.

#6) A stand for this: Posts, about either 2×2 or even 4×4 can be made into a stand. Since a lot of job site “benches” (BTDT) are a pair of saw horses with a sheet of 3/4 plywood screwed down to it, You won’t need to make really long legs for this. Just enough to get some room under the saw.

Need some sort of guard over the blade. Maybe a splitter/knife behind it.

#7) Fence: need to build a T-square/Speed square type of fence one can clamp down as needed. IF the front edge of the saw “top” is square to the blade, one could make a cleat to bear against it. Maybe a clamp to clamp the fence in place???

#8) Dust collection: You’re kidding. right??

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View BigJerryWayne's profile


138 posts in 2072 days

#11 posted 02-01-2013 07:49 PM

I have been wondering about myself. I remember seeing a power handsaw made into a tablesaw, but I can’t remember where I saw it.

-- An oak tree is just a nut that stood it's ground.

View Viktor's profile


463 posts in 3387 days

#12 posted 02-01-2013 07:58 PM

The raising and tilting brackets of most regular circular saws are to flimsy to compete in stability with readily available bench top models.
Festool offers a module to mount their circular saw under table, which is versatile, sturdy and accurate.

This guy built a sliding table saw:
Follow the link under the video for plans and some narrative (in French).

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2456 days

#13 posted 02-01-2013 08:01 PM

Jerry why do you have to have a new saw @ $500?

A lot of good used saws such as the Craftsman 133. Emerson saws were excellent and still have a lot of life left to them.
They can be had for $150 or less and are as accurate as a person new to wood working could ask.
I’ve been working with wood for a few years and have been considering a second saw that belongs to my boss. It is a Craftsman 113. and he’s only asking $150 for it. It has the equivalent of of one set of cabinets done on it and still has the original factory blade. (Yeah, he’s a metal worker, not a wood worker). It’s been parked in the shop under cover for 20 years but with a little clean up and a new blade would be a beautiful saw for a newbie.

edit (Jerry edited his post to take out the $500 reference).

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View runswithscissors's profile


2725 posts in 1994 days

#14 posted 02-01-2013 09:11 PM

The lightweight bench top saws aren’t much more than a gussied up circular saw mounted in a table. They have some of the same issues as the setup you are proposing, Gepatino—marginal power, very noisy, dubious accuracy, and poor durability (universal motors are prone to burning out; they don’t thrive on overloading). But I myself have considered what you are contemplating. My thought was to use it as a job-site saw.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View BigJerryWayne's profile


138 posts in 2072 days

#15 posted 02-01-2013 10:16 PM

Dallas, I wish I could find a Craftsman 133. They are hard to find in this neck of the woods. I have two friends that have them, and have had for years, and wouldn’t have anything else. They let me use theirs when I need to, which is very good of them. They both keep a lookout for one for me. One day I will find one, but in the meantime…...

-- An oak tree is just a nut that stood it's ground.

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3303 days

#16 posted 02-01-2013 11:10 PM

No one has mentioned it yet, but the main difference is that a regular table saw has an induction motor and doesn’t use brushes. They are designed for the long haul and hard use. Your hand held circle saw has brushes and normally less power. The windings on the coil can also make a big difference. If you have a hobby quality circle saw, the windings might be alu instead of copper (I’m not sure about this point). Big quality difference there as well.

Having said all the above, my first tablesaw was a hand circle saw mounted in a little metal table. It served me well and I still use it if I am helping someone out away from home (same table, different saw).However, I never used it day in and day out.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Marpintero's profile


211 posts in 3256 days

#17 posted 02-05-2013 05:06 AM

I’ve been working the past 5 years with my Bosch 17-1/4 mounted under a cover of mdf and secured with 5 screws, which I put together “for now just, after I buy one”. Like I have detailed the boys, has many disadvantages, and perhaps the only advantage is the economic issue (my saw out about $ 1000, against $ 4,000 in a table saw Bosch).
As such, my “table saw” consists of a cover of mdf top of a closed box (reduces noise) of mdf having an inlet for air motor and an output for sawdust (but the sawdust flying everywhere and it works pretty clean). To raise or lower the cap should be lifted. The rip fence is a T rule that I set with presses. In the front I put a wrench to turn it on and off from the outside, safer.
In conclusion, if you have the money go and buy a table saw (Dewalt or Maquita, Bosch sucks). If you do not want to spend much, then armate something simple, something like “is for now”, which serves cons like to do something (almost all the projects I have in Lumberjocks I made with this saw).

He estado trabajando los últimos 5 años con mi Bosch 17-1/4” montada debajo una tapa de mdf y asegurada con 5 tornillos, la cual armé “por ahora nomás, después me compro una”. Como te han detallado los muchachos, tiene muchas desventajas, y tal vez la única ventaja sea la cuestión económica (mi sierra sale unos $1000, contra los $4000 de una Bosch de banco).
En sí, mi “sierra de banco” consta de una tapa de mdf arriba de una caja cerrada (reduce el ruido) de mdf que tiene una entrada para el aire del motor y una salida para el aserrín (sino el aserrín vuela por todos lados, así se trabaja bastante limpio). Para subirla o bajarla hay que levantar la tapa. La guía paralela es una regla T que ajusto con prensas. Eso sí, en la parte delantera le puse una llave para poder prenderla y apagarla desde afuera, más seguro.
En conclusión, si tenés la plata andá y comprate una sierra de banco tipo Maquita o Dewalt, Bosch apesta. Si no querés gastar mucho, entonces armate algo simple, algo del tipo “es por ahora”, que con sus contras igual sirve para hacer algo (casi todas los proyectos que tengo en Lumberjocks los hice con este sierra).
Cualquier duda, estoy a las órdenes. Suerte.

-- Our lives are marked and bound together by concentric rings. Martín - Argentina

View runswithscissors's profile


2725 posts in 1994 days

#18 posted 02-05-2013 05:50 AM

At least the idea makes more sense than trying to flip a TS upside down and use it as a portable circular saw.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View RonInOhio's profile


721 posts in 2833 days

#19 posted 02-05-2013 08:40 AM

I don’t see any advantage but just a lot of headaches involved in trying to build a table saw. More trouble than its worth imo. Sort of like reinventing the wheel. Just use guides with a circular saw.

I understand the novelty of building ones own power tools. Have seen some really cool band-saws and mortising machines. Table saws are relatively cheap on the used market. Just doesn’t seem real practical to build one.Though
I’m sure its been done more than once before.

View bondogaposis's profile


4688 posts in 2320 days

#20 posted 02-05-2013 02:38 PM

I think the main reason not many people want to take a skil type saw and make it into a table saw is that we’re talking a 71/4” blade versus a 10” blade and the power to run a 10” blade. I’m sure a few people have done it but when you consider the advantages of a 10” blade over a 7 1/4” blade plus the machining you get w/ a cast iron top and the adjust ability you get w/ machined trunnions. These are things that you cannot readily duplicate in a home made table saw. The router table is different because the average wood worker can easily build one that is just as good or better than the manufactured ones.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View HorizontalMike's profile


7749 posts in 2883 days

#21 posted 02-05-2013 02:44 PM

This was the piece of crap I used before getting a REAL table saw. And NO, it was not fun, safe, nor was it accurate.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View JohnnyStrawberry's profile


246 posts in 2287 days

#22 posted 02-05-2013 03:07 PM

I probably know nothing about fine woodworking but I’m completely satisfied with my setup.
Just my manifested two cents…
Part of the issues mentioned above are discussed there, too.
You’ve started a great topic.

-- What are those few hours of mine compared to those decades Mother Nature has put in it!

View FeralVermonter's profile


100 posts in 1940 days

#23 posted 02-05-2013 03:15 PM

I second RonInOhio: better, probably, to use guides and jigs and use your circ saw freehand. Same results, probably cheaper than building your own table, and likely safer. And if it’s budget that’s driving your inquiry, chances are you can’t afford a nasty accident with a home-made power tool: I know this thought keeps me from attempting many of my own crazy schemes, since one bad accident would pretty much wipe us out. But you can get very, very good results with some well thought-out guides.

And definitely look into used tools. Especially if budget’s an issue, but I’d argue the point on more general principles: you can learn a heck of a lot bringing an old soldier back to life, and the real key to getting the most out of any tool, used or new, is to really understand it.

View gepatino's profile


217 posts in 2093 days

#24 posted 02-05-2013 06:47 PM

Thanks everyone for the comments, I’m learning a lot.

I was thinking of making my own table saw not only for the price, but mainly to save space. In that sense, I loved JohnnyStrawberry’s workstation.
My idea was to do some kind of bench with the saw and router included. Definitely that workstation goes to my favorites!


View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3303 days

#25 posted 02-05-2013 06:57 PM

I say go for it. You will still be able to do a lot with it and you will discover if you need a more expensive option with experience.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View GEOwen's profile


7 posts in 1905 days

#26 posted 02-05-2013 07:48 PM

Just skimmed the above posts and conclude that—unlike making your own router table where you can use a powerful top-line router and router lift to make all the adjustments, bit changes, and depth-of cut changes from above the table surface—making your own table saw means coping with power, durability, and access/ adjustment issues.

-- “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.” ― Alexis de Tocqueville

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