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What to make my extension table out of?

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Forum topic by Joekwon80 posted 03-29-2012 07:42 PM 1380 views 1 time favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Joekwon80

87 posts in 915 days


03-29-2012 07:42 PM

Topic tags/keywords: extension table biesemeyer unisaw rebuild

I’m still rebuilding this Unisaw and I’m at the point now where I need to build the extension table. I have a 52” biesemeyer fence I got off CL and now I have to figure out how to build and attach this table.

Anyone have suggestions? MDF? Melamine? Plywood?

Does it bolt straight on to the fence rails? My plan was to build a simple table with with 3” inch stretchers down the length of the table and 2 3” wide cross braces using white birch plywood and putting a layer of something to make it smooth and durable.

Is that my best bang for the buck option?

-- Joe Kwon


13 replies so far

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thebicyclecafe

23 posts in 902 days


#1 posted 03-29-2012 10:17 PM

Hesitatant to recommend MDF or melamine since it can sag over time. I’d take a good hardwood core ply (like Russian/Finnish Birch or Appleply) and brace it underneath, like a torsion box. Either ply is stable and flat, and works easily. I’d find some way to connect it to both the fence rail and also the saw table itself- and make sure you level it off with the table.

View doncutlip's profile

doncutlip

2832 posts in 2209 days


#2 posted 03-29-2012 10:20 PM

Good point about the sagging, never thought about it and built mine out of MDF. If I had it to do over again I might go with a good plywood.

-- Don, Royersford, PA

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Scot

344 posts in 2049 days


#3 posted 03-30-2012 12:01 AM

Delta has built them out of 3/4” particle board for years. They laminate BOTH sides with formica and have cross supports to prevent sagging. I have made them the same way and put a 1×3 oak skirt on 4 sides. One 4×8 sheet of formica can be bought at Lowe’s for about $45 and is more than enough to do both sides.
This make a very durable, strong, very long lasting table.

-- If the old masters had power tools, they would have used them. So get off your damn High Horse.

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crashn

518 posts in 1118 days


#4 posted 03-30-2012 12:19 AM

mdf or plywood torsion box, will not sag or twist, good bang for the buck.

-- Crashn - the only thing I make more of than sawdust is mistakes

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Joekwon80

87 posts in 915 days


#5 posted 03-30-2012 12:22 AM

What’s a good source around here to get MDF or plywood? Lowes MDF is like 35 bucks a sheet and that seems high to me.

-- Joe Kwon

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Joekwon80

87 posts in 915 days


#6 posted 03-30-2012 12:33 AM

Also, does anyone here cut melamine with their table saw? I have a 60 tooth blade that is relatively new. Would that work?

-- Joe Kwon

View RandyM68's profile

RandyM68

693 posts in 971 days


#7 posted 03-30-2012 01:55 AM

You can cut it with a any table saw, or skil saw blade. The sixty tooth will cut it fine, but a plywood blade will have less tear out. You can buy a cheap one that should work okay.

-- I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you. I'm sorry,thanks.

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Loren

7550 posts in 2301 days


#8 posted 03-30-2012 06:28 AM

Melamine will chip on the edges in use, and may swell
on the edges if it gets wet.

Masonite isn’t as attractive but it’s cheap and replaceable
and doesn’t swell or chip. a 1/2” or 3/4” ply panel
with masonite screwed to it makes a nice extension
or outfeed table and the masonite takes wax as well.
It is also real cheap.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

3954 posts in 1033 days


#9 posted 03-30-2012 07:09 AM

Delta used melamine on the factory extension tables. Had mine for 10 years at least and it hasn’t sagged or chipped. Melamine is tough as nails, heat and chemical resistant.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

View JimDaddyO's profile

JimDaddyO

287 posts in 1732 days


#10 posted 03-30-2012 11:59 AM

Always a cheap place for material…...Habitat for Humanity Re-Store….You can pick yourself up a chunk of kitchen counter top for cheap.

-- I still have all my fingers

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

2528 posts in 1004 days


#11 posted 03-30-2012 01:46 PM

I would go with MDF and plastic laminate. It won’t sag if you support it in a hardwood frame. $ 35/ sheet for MDF is standard. You can cut melamine on a table saw just fine. The 60 tooth will work, you may get some chip out. With melamine you should chamfer the edges or edge it with hardwood to prevent chip out.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View BlankMan's profile

BlankMan

1487 posts in 2006 days


#12 posted 03-30-2012 01:47 PM

Joe, I made mine out of plywood for stability and used torsion box framing. It is also hinged so it swings down out of the way. There’s a pictorial of how I made it here.

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

View Joekwon80's profile

Joekwon80

87 posts in 915 days


#13 posted 03-31-2012 03:51 PM

Went to the state surplus yesterday and they have several desks for 5 dollars. I asked them if I could bring my tools and remove the legs and just take the tops of two of the desks and they said I could even dump the legs in their dumpster. 10 dollars for 2 formica tops! Not bad. I think that’s the route I’m going to do. I am however going to edge band tops so I don’t chip the laminate on top.

Thanks for info everyone! I’ll post up some photos when it’s all said and done!

-- Joe Kwon

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