Far be it for me to avoid a wood-working (and home improvement) challenge! So the summer of 2003 saw a major kitchen renovation in our home, including new cabinetry, better access to our pantry, more natural light and new high-end appliances. The good news is that results were worthy of the work!
For some time, I had been using my workbench router table and a piece of 1/2″ MDF as an outfeed solution when ripping or cutting larger materials. This was quite effective as a temporary solution, but hindered use of the workbench and/or router table for their intended purposes and requires constant “cleaning” when switching back between cutting and assembly operations.
Larry Jenkins, a fellow woodworker I know from the WOOD ONLINE discussion groups, recently sent me a plan for his outfeed solution. That got me thinking about a more permanent solution for my own outfeed needs. Key to my design would be the ability to fold the majority of the table down when not in use to conserve space while adding about 12″ of permanent table area behind the blade. Since my saw is on a mobile stand, the unit could not touch the floor when folded.
The materials used for this project include 3/4″ birch plywood for the frame, plastic laminate for the work surface and either 3/4″ birch plywood or Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) for the table surface substrate. Glue and screws complete the assembly.
Click on the image for a larger view in a separate window….The fixed table portion is completed
The fixed section of this outfeed solution is 12″ deep and 48″ wide. It sets on the rear fence rail of a Biesemeyer-style rip fence, such as the Xacta-Fence on my Jet cabinet saw. (The design will require minor adjustments to accommodate a contractors’ style saw due to the support needs of the fixed portion of the table) This is where one of the variable dimensions comes into play–you will need to carefully measure the distance between the top of the saw table and the top of the rear fence rail and adjust the thickness of the frame member accordingly.
This dimension on my particular saw was 1 1/16″; however, I had to adjust the rear rail ever-so-slightly during assembly to insure that the new auxiliary table is just below or even with the saw top. Channels are routed into the top to provide relieve for the table saw’s miter slots as appropriate to the saw. These are about 7/16″ deep and 1 1/8″ wide and should span the entire depth of the fixed portion of the table. If you use sleds that have extra long miter bars, you should use them with the folding section in the down position or route the slots longer into the folding section to accomodate their length. Remember, you need to be able to push your sled completely through the widest cut without binding.
The angled supports also require careful fitting for your particular saw. In my case, I mounted the aluminum angle 16″ below the bottom of the cast iron table on my saw. This resulted in a brace 20 1/2″ long with 35 degree angles. If you choose to build this outfeed table project, measure for your supports by supporting the fixed portion of the table with temporary legs and make a cardboard template. This fit must be exact as it will be carrying the entire weight of the outfeed system when the larger portion is folded.
Click on the image for a larger view in a separate window….The folding table section completes the project
The 30″ x 48″ folding section is supported by two or three reclaimed door hinges (piano hinge can also be used) at the back of the fixed portion of the system and two 1 3/4″ square legs that fold using commonly available hardware from Rockler and other suppliers. 5/16″ bolts in tee-nuts are provided on the bottom of the legs to enable exact adjustment for floor contact. A relief hole is drilled up into the leg to provide space for the bolt to retract as necessary. Please note that the length of these legs should be made to be about 1 1/2″ less than the distance from the bottom of the table surface to the floor. This distance will vary depending on the height of your particular saw and mobile stand, if there is one.
Click on the image for a larger view in a separate window….This was an easy project to develop and build and quite inexpensive. The best part is that it can be sized exactly to one’s needs. While I made mine to be 42″ deep by 48″ wide when fully open, you can make it narrower and/or deeper as you prefer. If you choose deeper, you will need to make your change to the dimensions of the fixed portion as the 30″ folding section is just about at the limit it can be to fold down without hitting the floor on a 35″ tall saw. Another note: I built this project in two parts, completing the fixed section first and then adding the folding section. Based on my experience, I recomment you build both sections simultaniously to ease the hinge alignment process and insure that your top is completely level in all directions.
If you have any questions about this project, please feel free to contact me…and remember, the plan is just a guide. It is your responsibility to insure that the dimensions are correct for your saw and shop situation.
Update: One woodworker commented that this outfeed solution made alignment of his Dewalt 746 saw an awkward experience. Apparently, it interferes with one person accessing the trunion adjustments. I suspect this may also be the case on a contractors’ style saw, so do your alignment before attaching the fixed section of the table. You may also want to make it easily removable if you have one of these saws for future maintenance access.…