leveling outfeed table

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Forum topic by shelly_b posted 05-07-2013 02:40 AM 1541 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View shelly_b's profile


850 posts in 2145 days

05-07-2013 02:40 AM

Hi all. I am having some trouble leveling my outfeed table. We built the shop last spring on ground that had just been excavated, so the floor has settled and is no longer level. The desks started out unlevel. I put bases on the desks thinking it would be easier to level from the top. It is about 5 1/2ft by 7ft. I leveled the center with threaded inserts, nuts, and bolts. I planned on leveling the center then putting the top on and shimming all the edges, but it is bowing too much with not enough support on the edges. Is there a simple way to do this that I do not know about? Everything is within 3/4in and I would really like it to be perfectly level all around. The top is going to be particle board. 2 sheets that are 5/8in thick, so it will be 1 1/4in thick total. I plan on laminating it when I am done. Thanks!

15 replies so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29396 posts in 2365 days

#1 posted 05-07-2013 02:55 AM

Tough if the floor isn’t solid and level. Odds are that it’s not done moving either. Fairly close and slightly low might be as close as you can get right now.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3675 days

#2 posted 05-07-2013 03:22 AM

The top is drooping at the edges?

You don’t have aprons?

View Tugboater78's profile


2746 posts in 2219 days

#3 posted 05-07-2013 03:44 AM

Thats a huge area to try to level. I would have it sectioned off, or not even that big. Biggest outfeed i would make, if i had the room, would be 4×8. Preferably 3×6. You could try to make leveling feet, ive seen variations, but first that comes to.mind is John Heinz,

Just my 2 cents.

-- "....put that handsaw to work and make it earn its keep. - summerfi" <==< JuStiN >==>=->

View shelly_b's profile


850 posts in 2145 days

#4 posted 05-07-2013 04:41 AM

Thanks guys. Monte, I think your right. I’m going to have to give up on perfectly level and make it a little under. Loren-I got some second hand desks to use as the base and am using particle board for the top. I didn’t put any aprons on it, it’s just the sheets of particle board. I’ve never used it before…probably should’ve went with 2 sheets of MDF instead, I think it’s a little more rigid. The edges won’t droop when I’m done, it’s just hard to level it when they are drooping and making the middle raise. Tugboater-I’m starting to think the leveling feet would be the easiest way. That way all of the desk tops would support the particle board. The dimensions came from the desks, I didn’t want to chop any of them up if I didn’t have to.

View Mosquito's profile


9355 posts in 2320 days

#5 posted 05-07-2013 04:49 AM

I think I’d likely agree, that having it just under and close is the way to go. At least with using the reclaimed desks you picked up. I’ve used threaded inserts and regular carriage bolts in place of those leveling feet before as well.

Otherwise, I don’t have much real experience with it to be of much use beyond that…

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View nwbusa's profile


1021 posts in 2313 days

#6 posted 05-07-2013 05:28 AM

I mentioned on your other thread that a torsion box top (or a couple of them in this case) would be a good way to go, although it does present more investment of time and money. I agree with the previous comments to make it a little lower than your TS top (ideally 3/8” lower) so that your miter gauge and sled runners will clear the outfeed table.

-- John, BC, Canada

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3675 days

#7 posted 05-07-2013 05:35 AM

Make or buy a long straight edge ( a 78” level works and
is a very useful reference tool in machine woodworking),
and lay it across at very angle. Shim. When shims are level,
what you put on top will be too.

View shelly_b's profile


850 posts in 2145 days

#8 posted 05-07-2013 05:50 AM

Thanks everyone. I have a long straight edge(ruler). I think it’s 6ft long, but very flimsy and hard to hold on your own lol. A long level would work much better, or any straight edge that is rigid. I think getting it level before putting the top on is going to be easier…or making the top seperate and making it flat.
John-I’ve heard of a torsion box, but am not sure what it is so I will have to research that. If my top would stay flat that would make it much easier. I have only left 1/4-3/4in to work with until I am level with the saw, so I may have to take the bases off and shave some off so I have more wiggle room to add some structure to the top. I knew I should’ve had a better plan before I started lol.

View toolie's profile


2134 posts in 2656 days

#9 posted 05-07-2013 12:00 PM

here’s some info on torsion box table tops:

also, don’t over think out feed tables. a flush hollow core door (which is a torsion box, of sorts) is surprisingly rigid and will create a good level surface for an out feed table.

-- there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1325 posts in 1976 days

#10 posted 05-07-2013 12:18 PM

please take my input with a grain of salt. Level is unnecessary. My tools are close. I feel that it is more important that the RO table is true to the TS. Level really isn’t that important unless you are using it as a assemble table.

View shelly_b's profile


850 posts in 2145 days

#11 posted 05-07-2013 09:43 PM

Thanks toolie. That looks like a good idea…I just hate to tear the bases off that I put on….I know that would be the right way though. I went out and shimmed the bottoms, and it has helped quite a bit. Your right Shawn, it does not need to be perfect. I would like to make a kreg like assembly table. I thought I would do it on the outfeed table, but I think it would be easier to make a seperate one. I will still be able to use the OFT for alot of other things even if it’s not perfectly level. Thanks everyone!

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2712 days

#12 posted 05-07-2013 10:55 PM

I have to agree with Shawn. My outfeed table’s sole purpose is to support the cut lumber as it leaves the blade and I’m probably out of level by 1/2” or more. It doesn’t matter to me. I just like the fact that a piece doesn’t drop to the floor at the end of a cut (more of a safety issue for me since I would tend to try to catch it with the blade in motion).

View MT_Stringer's profile


3172 posts in 3258 days

#13 posted 05-07-2013 11:07 PM

shelley – bout that ruler. What if you cut a slot in a couple of pieces of scrap. They would act as helping hands holding your ruler on each end. Just thinking about how to help.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View kdc68's profile


2658 posts in 2304 days

#14 posted 05-07-2013 11:49 PM

I’ll be on the level with you shelly_b...Ha!...pun intended!. If you build from the base up making everything flat and true to each other, then your top will have a proper foundation that will stay flat and true. If I had anything to offer and try explain any detailed “how to” would be easier said than done. Best I can say is to take into consideration the height of the OT from the highest point of your unlevel concrete floor. From there, your can get your OT relatively level using levelers or shims at the lowest points…

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View shelly_b's profile


850 posts in 2145 days

#15 posted 05-08-2013 05:15 PM

Thanks guys:) Mt_Stringer-I am actually clamping it to a magnet on my table saw. It’s the magnetic base to my dial indicator, so it’s nice and strong. That allows me to use the table saw as my reference most of the time. The scraps with a slot would really help with leveling the desks to each other, since that’s where I have the most trouble holding it. I have it pretty level now…except the middle is still bowing up. It’s not touching the supports I put underneath, so I’m hoping the sheets are just bowed and a few screws will fix the problem. If it hop up on it and sit in the middle it’s flat lol. Kinda hard to use the saw when I’m sitting on the outfeed table though lol. I’m to the point now where I just want it functional and not perfect. Thanks everyone! I started a vid at the beginning of this build, so hopefully I can finish it soon!

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