Table Saw/Router Work Station #3: Table Saw In Place with Hardboard Top

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Blog entry by Josh posted 03-18-2010 06:14 PM 8607 reads 4 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Table top is ready but the question now is how.... Part 3 of Table Saw/Router Work Station series no next part

After receiving some very awesome feedback from a few people on this site I’ve gone forward with the project by screwing a 3/4” piece of ply to the stop and then putting a 1/8” piece of hardboard on top of that. I then went ahead and routed slots for the t-track which will hold the fence I’m working on. I’ve got a cutout for my router (not attached yet) and then I continued the 5/8” miter slots that are on my Craftsman TS. I also raised the saw blade through the hardboard and am using that as my zero clearance insert. I countersunk screws into the hardboard to attach it to the plywood so that if and when they get banged up I can just switch them out with new pieces. I also cut two large holes into the piece holding the tablesaw so that the sawdust collectl into the box below it which I can then simply vacuum out.

So here are the latest pictures. One question I do have is if I should apply a coat of poly or something to the top of the hardboard to make it a little tougher and more resistant to scratching and such.

Here is the front view
Front View

This is the view from the right side. you can see where the router will go.
Right side view

This is a view from the left side
Left View

And then finally here are the holes I put into the stand that will allow the sawdust to collect
Dust Collecting

-- Josh, South Jordan Utah

7 comments so far

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4825 days

#1 posted 03-18-2010 09:15 PM

Looks good Josh. Good solution for the zero clearance problem. A coat of poly isn’t a bad idea. It’s pretty tough and should make your top last longer and your workpieces to glide better. In fact my guess is that you will be refinishing with poly long before you put a new top in. You should give it a minimum of 3 coats for max lasting effect. This will also protect against moisture very well.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Josh's profile


110 posts in 4513 days

#2 posted 03-18-2010 10:32 PM

Another question I have is what would be the best way to attach a splitter. I assume the splitter would need more support than the 1/8” hardboard could provide.

-- Josh, South Jordan Utah

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 5219 days

#3 posted 03-19-2010 03:54 PM

The thing I’m not sure I get is the fence. How will you be sure it stays locked at exactly 90 degrees. I’m under the impression even a tenth of a degree can cause some serious issues. I’m sure you’ve thought it out, so I’ll be interested to see the next steps.

View dbhost's profile


5913 posts in 4723 days

#4 posted 03-19-2010 04:21 PM

What I like about it.

#1. The hardboard top, nice and slick, easy to keep clean. I use a ton of the stuff… #2. T track for a router fence. A dedicated router fence is awfully nice. Mine is based around my rip fence… #3. Nice added heft of the cabinet. #4. Storage compartments in the base. #5. Beginnings of provision for dust collection.

What my concerns about it are. And mind you opinions are like belly buttons. Everyone has one.

#1. The hardboard top covering the OE top of the table saw. This interferes with. -Splitter and guard installation / function. This is a huge safety issue. -Access to the arbor for changing blades. -Ability to run any sort of Dado stack. #2. Dust provision is incomplete. Enclose those compartments, and add ports for whatever type of dust collection you are using. If you aren’t using dust collection, you really should be… At a minimum a shop vac with a HEPA filter and 2.5” hose. #3. Your T Track crosses through your miter slots. How are you going to use the miter slots?

If it were me, I would redesign the top a bit. The changes I would make would be.

#1. Remove the T track (you will get back to this later… #2. Cut out top to allow the OE table saw top through, splitter / guard, and fence freely function. #3. Using scrap cutoff from the cutting the top through, make and install spacers to lift the saw so that its top is flush with the cabinet top.Add shims if neccesary. #4. Enclose the compartments directly below the table saw, and where you are going to mount the router with an access door for each. #5. Port the cabinet compartments for your dust collection connections. #6. Grab a router plate for your router, and cut the router plate recess, make sure to leave the lip etc… (a router plate makes it MUCH easier to change bits because you can just pop the router up and manipulate it instead of having to fish around in the compartment). #7. Cut a miter slot in front of the router plate (front to back on the right side of the cab top). This will allow you to use feather boards and the like…

You are well on the way to having a very impressive workstation for that little Craftsman saw. I hear a lot of guys whining about those little bench top jobs, but they work great when you set them up the way you are doing…

I wouldn’t worry about the hardboard so much. Unless you are going to be dropping sharp tools on it, it will be fine. You might want to apply some Johnson’s Paste Wax to it just to make it slicker is all…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View Josh's profile


110 posts in 4513 days

#5 posted 03-19-2010 05:32 PM

Thanks for all the feedback, being a beginner I really appreciate the input from seasoned professionals. Let me try and respond to some of the questions and concerns that have been posted (and remember this is a beginners though process so if something is wrong with my reasoning please let me know)

1- The plan is to enclose all of the ‘boxes’ in the carcass so that they all have doors or drawers except for the box below the tablesaw. For that I plan to completed enclose the front and then on the backside I plan to either completely enclose it but with a hinge so I can open it and vacuum out once in a while or enclose it but put a dust port for a vacuum.

2- I’m not 100% certain how I’ll get a fence to line up exactly parallel with the blade, I guess I assumed that whatever I did here would work better than the fence that was provided (it didn’t line up parallel with the blade at all).

3- I plan to add an additional 3/4” miter slot along the left side of the table to use in conjunction with the craftsman 5/8” miter slot (will this work or is it really important to have miter slots on both sides of the saw if I’m using a sled or something. If it is then my though would be to buy one of those t-slot junctions from rockler so that I could use both the t-track for the fence and the miter slot for a sled).

4- I don’t have any dado stacks and right now I only have the blade that came with the saw but the idea is that since I just screwed the hardboard into ply if I need to access the ts I simply unscrew those 4 screws, do what I need and screw them back in. I’m also working on seeing if I can cut a slot for a splitter to poke through hardboard.

this is what it looks like under the hardboard

5- the router cutout you see is my weak attempt at a router plate. I need to cut the hole for the bit to come through. I’ll be using this for maybe two or three months until I can convince my wife I need a decent router plate.

-- Josh, South Jordan Utah

View jaydubya's profile


189 posts in 4303 days

#6 posted 09-16-2010 10:14 PM

You could easily cut a notch in the plywood behind the saw to use the blade guard. Also, you can get a router plate from harbor freight for like 15 bucks

View ODB's profile


1 post in 4082 days

#7 posted 04-23-2011 03:39 AM

I think you have done awesome to start!

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