Table Saw Mobile Workstation #2: Measuring, Cutting Diagrams, and Material Lists

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Blog entry by Greg Wurst posted 04-23-2008 10:32 PM 22973 reads 17 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: I love it when a plan comes together... Part 2 of Table Saw Mobile Workstation series Part 3: Finally cutting some wood »

Well, now that I’m fairly comfortable with the layout and construction of the cabinet it was time to tear things apart and get some actual measurements and formulate a material list and plan of attack (much easier to tear virtual cabinets apart!).

After saving the Sketchup plan as another file I start removing unnecessary and duplicate items and start putting-in some dimensions. The pictures should show most if not all of the dimensions I used, but I can’t say for sure since I have to rotate everything around to get to all the surfaces I need to measure.

With the dimensions I need I open Excel and put together a spreadsheet listing all the parts I need along with the material, dimensions, quantity, and a part label.

Now, it’s back to Sketchup where I mock-up some sheet goods and 2×4’s and try to fit all the pieces where I can minimize waste. I butt all the pieces together in Sketchup, but it’s important to account for the saw kerf and make sure you have enough extra material to account for the number of cuts. If you’re putting 8 pieces across a 4’ span and only leave 1/2” extra you’re not going to have enough!

I then have an idea of what kind of raw material I need, and I list the needed items at the bottom of my material list along with some pricing to get an idea of what I’m going to spend. I don’t have every item on the list, since I already have some of the material I need (screws, piano hinges, etc).

I’d attach links to the actual Sketchup and Excel files, but until I actually get the cabinet built I consider them to be a “work in progress”. Once I’m done I’ll modify them as needed and make them available in case anyone’s interested.

-- You're a unique and special person, just like everyone else.

8 comments so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4552 days

#1 posted 04-23-2008 11:01 PM

That’s an “excel”ent job sorting things out like that!

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 4318 days

#2 posted 04-24-2008 12:26 AM

Man this project looks great, I went back and read the previous post and read it. I too have made the same outfeed table. The table I made is much longer than the one you made as my saw has 52” inch rails. So this project in itself is out of the question for me, but looking at the idea as presented is very exicting.

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View Grant Davis's profile

Grant Davis

817 posts in 4472 days

#3 posted 04-24-2008 03:00 AM

Where is my to do lit. I have another entry to add to it. Sweeeeeeeeeeeet design and execution of the plans.

-- Grant...."GO BUCKEYES"

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 4363 days

#4 posted 04-24-2008 03:11 AM

really cool. congrats. planning takes a while but usually ends up saving time

-- making sawdust....

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4386 days

#5 posted 04-24-2008 03:47 AM

You have done a great job with planning this project. I will be interested in seeing the construction posts as well.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 4276 days

#6 posted 04-24-2008 01:47 PM

Do you consider the orientation of the grain on the outer veneer on the ply when you lay out the pieces? I’ve only built one bookcase out of oak ply and I know sorting the grain to finally look good upped the estimate of how much ply was needed.

Awesome layout and Excel stuff, I am looking forward to the complete SU model.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View Greg Wurst's profile

Greg Wurst

797 posts in 4396 days

#7 posted 04-24-2008 02:18 PM

The only readily visible birch pieces are the sides and middle cabinet top, and they all have the grain oriented in a pleasing fashion. The top, back, and all drawers and fronts are MDF so grain isn’t important. Some of the interior braces and drawer separators will have non-optimal grain orientation, but they aren’t visible normally and since this is shop furniture I’m not overly concerned. I doubt I’ll even put any kind of finish on it, although I may paint the whole thing white if I’m feeling ambitious. I’ve seen some shop furniture on here that looks better than some of the stuff I have in my house, but I don’t plan on putting that amount of effort into it.

-- You're a unique and special person, just like everyone else.

View John Kasparian's profile

John Kasparian

22 posts in 4216 days

#8 posted 05-26-2008 05:28 PM

I have waited for a while to join because I am new at this and did not feel worthy. But this post and work behind it made me do it, just to say this. Thanks!

-- john

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