Tablesaw extension question - material

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Forum topic by Charlie posted 10-24-2014 12:53 AM 1190 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2309 days

10-24-2014 12:53 AM

Recently got Biesemeyer setup. Restored it. Installed. It’s the 60” rail and 42 inch fence.

Problem: I now have a lot more room to the right of the blade. :)

In order to USE my saw I had to make a temporary extension fitted between the rails to the right of my existing wing. I have been trying to hunt down a piece of corian, or someone tossing a decent sized hunk of countertop. Or…. something. There are no half sheets of formica available (yet) and I don’t want to buy a full sheet just for a piece that’s 27×34 inches.

Anyways…. I’ve constructed one using baltic birch ply as the surface. Now I want to make it slippery.

A few coats of poly and then wax it (good ol’ Johnson’s)?

I can’t imagine shellac lasting very long and I’m not sure laquer would be better than poly.

I’ll almost definitely make a better one…. maybe not until spring, but in the meantime I want something there so I can use the width. I’ll actually need it just to make a new extension :)


11 replies so far

View Tugboater78's profile


2746 posts in 2214 days

#1 posted 10-24-2014 01:00 AM

I currently have a oak ply wing on mine, I sanded really smooth soaked it with few coats of BLO and have waxed it like crazy. It’s slicker than my saw top now…

Possibly hardboard would be a fairly cheap alternative, with wax it makes a really slick surface. Have done that on my storage bench.

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

View bondogaposis's profile


4755 posts in 2374 days

#2 posted 10-24-2014 01:29 AM

I’d go w/ MDF and Formica. I go to my Habitat for Humanity ReSource store for small pieces of Formica at a reasonable price. A local cabinet shop donates all of their left over pieces and they are in good shape and decent sizes. Maybe you could find something similar in your area.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2309 days

#3 posted 10-24-2014 08:43 AM

I d go w/ MDF and Formica. I go to my Habitat for Humanity ReSource store for small pieces of Formica at a reasonable price. A local cabinet shop donates all of their left over pieces and they are in good shape and decent sizes. Maybe you could find something similar in your area.

- bondogaposis

I looked around and couldn’t find any formica that wasn’t full sheets. Occasionally I can snap up some corian pieces but I don’t pay a lot for it. ANYTHING is kinda what I was looking for. In the meantime, though, I still need to use the saw. :)

I figured I’d just go with this temporary solution until a deal comes up that I can get something a bit more suitable. I just need to make it slippery. :)

View Brun's profile


1 post in 1550 days

#4 posted 10-24-2014 12:43 PM

You can make it out of melamine – that is a common practice. It’s cheap and slick and solid. I’ve done it for my runout table.

View ChefHDAN's profile


1067 posts in 2872 days

#5 posted 10-24-2014 01:01 PM

I always look at the laminate sheets that are in the big box stores, to see if there are any damaged ones, whenever I find one I can usually get it for at least 50% off if the manager of the day is in a good mood. It can be a hassle waiting around on them because they often don’t seem anxious to move quickly but the smiling patience has gotten me many a discount with the MOD’s

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View bigblockyeti's profile


5137 posts in 1743 days

#6 posted 10-24-2014 01:09 PM

My extension was made from particle board with formica on all sides to not only seal out moisture, but also to increase rigidity. Particle board is pretty inexpensive and has its downfalls, but formica is relatively expensive and almost required over particle board for such an application.

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1317 posts in 1958 days

#7 posted 10-24-2014 02:24 PM

I did waxed masonite glued over plywood for my planer infeed and outfeed and they work pretty well. Cheap and quick, which sounds like it might be good for you.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2309 days

#8 posted 10-24-2014 06:15 PM

yeah…. I’m kinda looking at this temporary one as the platform to which I’ll eventually attach something else. Now that I have it fitted, I can just lower it by whatever the thickness of the next “layer” is.

I do need to make some support legs for it though. All that extra length makes it pretty easy to tip the saw. I leaned on it pretty good and got the saw up on 2 wheels :) It takes about 40 pounds at the extreme end of the rails, but definitely going to put together some support legs.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3608 days

#9 posted 10-24-2014 06:40 PM

If you lived near to me which you almost certainly won’t.I would gift you a piece of formica.I bought a lot many years ago at an auction and still have a fair bit of it.I love useing it on cartain jobs I am told(if you can get it) it is quite expensive I have not seen it for sale for a long time. Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2309 days

#10 posted 10-26-2014 04:40 PM

Final update (I think)
Got an extension installed and adjusted.
Maple frame, baltic top, 3 coats of poly, 5 coats of Johnson’s paste wax. Adjusted.

The fence glides from the granite top to the wood with just a little hint of a sound that it’s going from one material to another, but there’s no “feeling” in the fence that it’s doing anything but gliding smoothly across the transition. No bumps, no catches. Just g-l-i-d-e…..

It works so well that I feel like I can now take my time and wait for a deal on a better deck for the wing extension. I can shop craigslist and/or watch for people throwing stuff out that might be useful for as long as it takes :)

I JUST missed picking up a 42×47 corian table top for $25. Waxed corian is super slick! :)
And if I find a laminate countertop before I find corian…. so be it.

I’m actually a bit surprised at just how well this wood top works. I just don’t know about its long term durability. Guess I’ll find out :)

View bkseitz's profile


295 posts in 1333 days

#11 posted 10-27-2014 09:46 AM

Not a big fan of melamine due to the particle board base; it seems to fragile and chips easily when moved about. For a novice, like myself, not a good combination.

However, I broke down and purchase a quarter sheet for an extension table and a full sheet for an outfeed table at Home Depot cheap (seconds, damaged goods). Seems to work fine with enough support from the bottom and edge banding with 1”x2” oak strips. (see my table saw upgrade and outfeed table projects). If you take your time you can minimize chipping and support it well it should have a good service life.

-- bkseitz, Washington "if everything is going well, you've obviously overlooked something"

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