DIY Cabinet Saw?

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Forum topic by Knothead62 posted 12-21-2010 06:24 PM 12431 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2600 posts in 3166 days

12-21-2010 06:24 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tablesaw question tip

Has anyone taken a small table saw and converted it to a cabinet saw? I have an Ace Hardware TS and find that it would be to my advantage to have a cabinet saw for larger pieces of plywood. Any help or direction is appreciated. I did a search and really didn’t find anything to fit my question.

13 replies so far

View TheDane's profile


5552 posts in 3868 days

#1 posted 12-21-2010 06:37 PM

Knothead62—I have seen several projects posted here on LJ’s where guys have built cabinets or platforms for contractor saws. I remember seeing one here that was also posted on FWW where an LJ built a beautiful rolling table for a Jet contractor saw.

I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t build one for a benchtop or contractor saw. Just do a search for ‘table saw cabinet’.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3853 days

#2 posted 12-21-2010 07:23 PM

Look at the Jimmie Jig – it’s a Scottish woodworker’s improvement of
a benchtop saw that brings it up to a more accurate and safer
standard. I haven’t built one, but the design is sound.

One thing you won’t get with a cheap saw is a stable arbor or the
big trunnions you get with a cabinet saw. That still makes these
tools not that great for precision joinery and ripping hardwoods,
but for plywood they are adequate and with proper support and
a long enough fence you can get pretty accurate results. The
Jimmie Jig has good solutions to both issues.

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 3085 days

#3 posted 12-21-2010 09:45 PM

ShopNotes Magazine issue #89 has a really neat plan for building an entire cabinet/work center for a contractor style table saw. I assume it would work for a bench top saw too. The plan they have has extension wings, under storage, out feed table, dust collection and router table…

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3379 days

#4 posted 12-21-2010 09:49 PM

You may be able to build something by starting off with a Rousseau Table Saw Stand as a platform.

-- -- Neil

View justinwdemoss's profile


148 posts in 3100 days

#5 posted 12-21-2010 10:33 PM

I am in the process of rehabbing an older Craftsman contractor saw and have found many of the sites mentioned above helpful. The is a lumberjock with the handle KTMM that is writing a blog about rehabbing an older Craftsman that is not much bigger than the benchtop that you are talking about. He is adapting his old Incra fence system, I am going the cheaper Delta T2 route mentioned by CharlieL. If you are going to put $150 into a new fence (and I recommend it) and the lumber and hardware for a solid cabinet base, think about scoring an older Craftsman contractor saw on Craigslist. I got mine from a neighbor for $25, but have seen similar saws for between $50 and $100 dollars as recently as yesterday. This will give you the trunnions Loren mentioned. You can get a set of PALS and align the blade. The contractor saw will have a longer and more stout arbor also.

Just some thoughts. Whatever you decide, enjoy yourself and learn from the experience. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that there is no value in smaller saws, but you have to know their limits vs. your budget. I would love to have an older Delta cabinet saw with a 6 hp 3 ph motor where the saw is heavy enough to crush anything less than a 4 inch concrete slab, but until that rich uncle, that I never knew I had, leaves me a pile of cash, I will just get creative.

-- Justin in Loveland, OH

View Kevin's profile


466 posts in 3410 days

#6 posted 12-22-2010 02:40 AM

Hey Knothead, I actually had a ACE benchtop TS that I did that to. What I did was extend the rails and back out. I build an frame out of 2×2 wood and put the TS in the front middle. I think that I could rip about 35” or so to the right of the fence when it was done. I just got tired of not being able to cut large pieces.

Here is the plan that I followed when building my own t-square. I got a 2×3 metal tubing from a scrapyard for 4 bucks and picked up some angle iron also. Did a little bit of welding and grinding, adjusting and I had myself a heavy and pretty good fence.



-- Williamsburg, KY

View EEngineer's profile


1117 posts in 3818 days

#7 posted 12-22-2010 03:08 AM

I second Justin’s approach. It’s the one I took with an old Craftsman saw that has the same lineage as his (Emerson 10”) but is quite a bit older. Latest incarnation can be seen here.

Right now, it is mounted on a flimsy HF stand – a short term solution (I thought). I had always planned to build a workstation for it but, almost 2 years later, I still haven’t started. Something else always gets in the way. I’ve put a lot of hardwood including cherry, oak and black walnut through this saw and it works well for me.

When I do get started, this is the design I favor.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View Kevin's profile


466 posts in 3410 days

#8 posted 12-22-2010 03:25 AM

Here is one I always thought was nice from a fellow LJ.

-- Williamsburg, KY

View Knothead62's profile


2600 posts in 3166 days

#9 posted 12-22-2010 03:26 AM

Mine’s on a stand which is pretty stable. I’d like to change it to cut larger pieces of wood. I thought about taking it off the stand and using the stand for something else, like the drill press or bench grinder.
Guys , thanks for the replies. I’ll research the links and info.
Loren, if the Jimmie Jig is Scottish, I trust that it is thrrrrrifty, mon?

View brianinpa's profile


1812 posts in 3928 days

#10 posted 12-22-2010 04:07 AM

I guess it really depends on what you are starting out with. Any saw can be converted to a “cabinet saw” by mounting it to a large cabinet and adding wings to the table. If the saw is small and under-powered, you will end up with a big saw that will not work for what you want it to do. Several different good examples here on LJ’s. My finished table size is 48” x 27” (27” is the width of the original saw table). Currently all of my table extension is to the right of the blade, but someday I will extend to the left of the blade to help out with cutting larger sheets. The extension in the photo to the left had to be removed for space.

As I started out saying, it depends on the size and capabilities of your saw before you begin. I don’t think I would do this with anything smaller than a 10” saw.

-- Brian, Lebanon PA, If you aren’t having fun doing it, find something else to do.

View Knothead62's profile


2600 posts in 3166 days

#11 posted 12-22-2010 05:00 PM

Brian, the HP thing is a good point. My saw is a 10 incher and HP is unknown as the motor is enclosed in the saw body. The manual shows 120V/60H, 5,000 RPM, if that gives you any hint to the capacity. It handles 3/4 plywood OK. Maybe I’ll just have to get a new saw! All I have to do is convince SWMBO!

View TheDane's profile


5552 posts in 3868 days

#12 posted 12-22-2010 05:26 PM

Knothead62—There are some techniques that work better than others to convince SWMBO you need a new tool.

One that doesn’t work too well is the “Look at all of the nice things I can make for you” routine. Most women are too savvy to bite on that one.

One that does seem to work pretty well is the one where you go to the bank, borrow, say $2000, and give half of it to SWMBO and tell her to go buy something nice with it. Most women, in my experience., won’t even ask what you are going to do with the other $1000.

Seriously … I would be willing to bet your saw is a direct drive (the blade arbor is the motor shaft) with a universal motor. If I am right about that, you’ll have a devil of a time cutting hardwoods (DAMHIK), and the short arbor limits the dado stack you can use. You can do some nice work with these low-end saws, but IMHO, you might be better off picking up a used Delta or Jet contractor saw off Craigslist or in the local classifieds. I just checked my local Craigslist … there are 10 table saws advertised for sale, including a 10” 3hp Craftsman for under $300, and a fully-tricked out PowerMatic 2000 for under $2K.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Knothead62's profile


2600 posts in 3166 days

#13 posted 12-23-2010 02:05 AM

Gerry, thanks for the reply. The only thing about borrowing is that they expect you to pay it back. I’ll look at CL and the classifieds for a larger saw, hopefully a cabinet saw that someone is putting up for “adoption.”

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