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Technical - Workshop Notes
2023-02  February

2023-02 February

“Making your table saw larger for cutting panels.”

Sometimes, Woodies need to cut large sized panels like say 1800x900 or even larger, 2400x1200

This article illustrates how to keep your small table saw portable and capable of storing away, whilst also being extended to act like a panel saw.

The existing bench saw is a home made unit, made by my Dad some 50 years ago, but has an excellent pair of mitre grooves fitted amongst a series of aluminium flat plates, making a modest top of about 600 x 450mm.   But this lacked support for large sheet cutting.

Some time back, a support was added to the far right of the table, allowing a SLED to be fitted, that slid along one of the mitre grooves (right of the blade) and along the edge of the far right support beam.  This was a great solution for cutting thin end-grain timber.   (This exercise was documented at: KDWC Ingrained Feb 2020 at: )

The SLED can be simply lifted off, and so began the thought process of fitting an insert that filled the gap between the existing aluminium saw bench, and the far-right support beam.   The video clip far below shows how the bench can be converted for that purpose.   But this was still not a large enough area for one person to support a really large panel for cutting.  It did however, provide support on the right-hand side of the blade.  So far so good, 50% of the support issue solved.

Inspired by a Facebook article by Tom Wazney (picture far below) that he shared, which involved a fold-down out-rigger side to his saw,  I started to explore the LEFT side of the saw bench.  In my case, there existed, a small 18mm gap around the left edge of the small original table top.  This was perfect for 'dropping in'  a long 2 metre long beam 90mm x 18mm.   The beam sits firmly down on the sub-frame, and has a convenient 18mm gap below the table top.    By making a collapsable parallel 2Mtr outrigger, with g-clamped legs, allowed for the drop-in of a large  400mm x 1500mm panel as the outrigger top support / table top extender.

Disassembly and storage is a snap.  Remove the 400x1500 top,  lift off the outrigger, and separate the four pieces that make up the half-lap support structure.  All that just sits up against the wall behind the original saw when not in use.

The large 2mtr x 400mm (+18mm) frame is not screwed or glued.  It is made using the "Edge - Half Lap" technique, similar to this tutorial:  but far less complicated, using just TWO of the 90mm x 18mm x 2MTR outriggers in parallel, and half-lapped by two cross joiners  of about   90mm x 18mm x 500mm   (with the half-laps made in about 45mm from each end to have some strength left in the ends of the joiners.

The left side support bench comes in quite handy for swinging finished offcuts to the left, when using a fence clamped on the right side of the saw blade on the smaller insert we made first.   The new fence used for big panels, is a 20mm x 20mm 'L' shaped length of dead straight aluminium extrusion, clamped where needed using the orange g-clamps shown in the photo top-right (below)

There's nothing like having another large workbench area for preparing line marking on jobs to be cut. 


And most important, is the ability to quickly pull all this apart and store it away on a small footprint area, allowing the cars to return to the woodworking 'shed'                        

Happy sawing!                                                                                         .... Gary Pope 0408994799

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