About DIY table saws

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Forum topic by gepatino posted 02-01-2013 06:27 PM 2733 views 0 times favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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217 posts in 2271 days

02-01-2013 06:27 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question tablesaw

I’ve seen a lot of people (if not all) make their own router tables ataching a router behind some kind of table someway.

But I haven’t seen the same about table saws. Why most woodworkers buy an already made table saw instad of putting a manual power saw under a table?

Is there a big difference between the two power tools? (meaning power, performance, etc)

I’m very curious about this, hand power saws are quite cheap compared to a basic table saw… so I’m tempted to make my own table saw in a near future.


26 replies so far

View bandit571's profile


21298 posts in 2830 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 2257 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 3305 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


16276 posts in 4365 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


16276 posts in 4365 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


3261 posts in 2822 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


7199 posts in 3514 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


10477 posts in 3795 days

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

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3118 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


21298 posts in 2830 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 2249 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


466 posts in 3565 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 2634 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


2843 posts in 2172 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 2249 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.

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