shop made vertical panel saw

  • Advertise with us
Project by wdh posted 11-28-2010 04:49 PM 27146 views 19 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So fellow Lumberjocks, this is my panel saw. I had a hard time lifting 4×8 sheet goods up to my TS and sometimes a hard time getting it through the saw without some sort of problem like jamming so I always needed an assistant. No more. You may recognize the basic design from other posts. Being on a small budget, I walked through HD looking for material that didn’t cost a lot. I saw on other VPS’s 4 U bolts with some sort of washer for bearings to mount the saddle to the pipes yet let it slide easilly.I looked for something to use like that but couldn’t find anything suitable.
One day at work I was pondering what I could use when I noticed the a/c compressor that went bad and was all apart on my bench had 7 cylinders about 2” by 1 1/4 diam.I cut one out with a hack saw and took it to HD to test fit it on the 1 1/4 fence pipe (top of fence). It slid on perfect. I bought the 2 staightest pieces (their 10’ 3”long). I cut more cylinders useing my chopsaw, bolted them to some 1”x1” alum angle then added a piec of 1/2” plywood for the base.I used fence hardware to secure the guides to the bottom and simple brackets at the top.To compensate for any bow in the guide “beams” I mounted a dial gauge to the saw frame so the needel was on the pipe. Then I turned the pipe around taking note of the position of the bow- to the left or right, I turned the pipe so the bow was up or towards me and drilled a hole in the bottom mount cup and secured it with a screw. Did this for both guide “beams”. At first I bought the straightest piece of 2×4 i could find for the sheet material to rest on, but I found even the slightest bow or inperfection made it impossible to adjust it so the cuts were square. I took the 2×4 out and put in a piece of 4” MDF trim board instead.This workde good after a minor adjustment- which is doneat the top brackets. Later I extended the frame on both sides and made the saw base so the saw could be mounted sideways. Now I can cut a 4×8 sheet lenghtways by pushing it through. I plan on adding dust control to it and upgrading the counter balance.It will make things easier I’m sure.

-- Wayne,Saint John,NB

15 comments so far

View gul's profile


400 posts in 3446 days

#1 posted 11-28-2010 04:55 PM

It’s wonderful. Too big a project for me.Great work.

View wdh's profile


55 posts in 4124 days

#2 posted 11-28-2010 04:58 PM

I should mention that the guide beams have to be lubricated for the saddle to slide well.This is no big deal but you know how sawdust sticks to grease but I don’t put much on it, and the sawdust wipes off easily.

-- Wayne,Saint John,NB

View Ken90712's profile


17710 posts in 3672 days

#3 posted 11-28-2010 04:58 PM

Very cool, should be very useful.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View wdh's profile


55 posts in 4124 days

#4 posted 11-28-2010 05:12 PM

Thanks,Ken90712, Gul it wasnt that big of a project timewise but does take up a lot of room which was ok for me. I now have to come up with a way to lift the sheet goods up onto it. I have to lift them the widthof the 2×10 base plus the 4” MDF straight edge.Doesn’t sound like much but I’m not supposed to lift any more than 10kg due to torn/damaged dhest muscles. I’m thinking maybe I could use the 12volt winch I bought and never used or making one of those sheet goods handling carts I saw on LJ. It has a top that tilts. I have to look for it again to see if that would do the trick.So far I have been lifting one end onto a stack of 2×4’s then lifting the other end up onto the panel saw.Anybody have better ideas?

-- Wayne,Saint John,NB

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3340 days

#5 posted 11-28-2010 07:55 PM

Wayne, that is neat.
I’ve a design that I’m playing with to move boards onto my wall mounted panel saw.
It is a trolley with two forks and a lever to raise the board.
If my reckoning is correct, the lever would reduce the weight need to lift the board to under 10kg’s
I wanted to use it when I cant get some one to lift a board for me.

This is a picture of my saw, I think we would be looking at the same idea.

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View MayflowerDescendant's profile


414 posts in 3271 days

#6 posted 11-28-2010 08:28 PM

Great job! Anything that reduces the physical effort (and chance of injury) and affords us more pleasurable / relaxing time in the shop, is a good thing! Thanks for sharing.

-- Glen - Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

View woody57's profile


650 posts in 3911 days

#7 posted 11-28-2010 09:09 PM

great job and without spending a lot
try some spray silicone on the rails
I use all the time on my table saw and planer.
It is not greasy at all but make everything slick.
I got it at my local hardware store.

-- Emmett, from Georgia

View dfdye's profile


372 posts in 3521 days

#8 posted 11-28-2010 09:17 PM

That saw is awesome! I love building things on the cheap when they will serve their purpose. I don’t have too much of an issue using a straight edge and sawhorses to break down sheet goods, but this is DEFINITELY a winner if I ever need a panel saw.

As for moving sheet goods around the shop, I use a $10 movers’ dolly I picked up at HF and put the edge of the sheet on the carpeted boards of the dolly. This does a great job of protecting the edge of the veneer of plywood, and it makes things a breeze to wheel into position. You do still have to lift the entire weight of the sheet onto the dolly, but the height of the dolly should be pretty close to where you need the sheet to slide it into the saw.

I have absolutely no clue if this will actually work for your purposes, but if you have a moving dolly (or want to plunk down $10 to experiment) it seems worth a shot! Good luck!

-- David from Indiana --

View Jeremy Greiner's profile

Jeremy Greiner

568 posts in 3256 days

#9 posted 11-28-2010 10:28 PM

I wish I had the space on a wall for this, this is amazing!

-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer:

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 3543 days

#10 posted 11-29-2010 03:50 AM

I’m with Jeremy. One day, I dream of a shop with enough room for one of these. I really get tired of cutting plywood freehand with my circ saw out in the driveway to get it down to manageable size. I like your design. Very effective.


-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View wdh's profile


55 posts in 4124 days

#11 posted 11-30-2010 04:50 AM

Thanks for the complements!

-- Wayne,Saint John,NB

View Hacksaw's profile


185 posts in 3860 days

#12 posted 11-30-2010 10:07 PM

I don’t use sketchup so I’ll have to describe the “roller skate” we used to move around big glass panels . Take a 2×4 about 3’ long now mark the center (18”) from there taper from the edge (3 1/2”) to the end (1”) at the center mark drill a hole 3/4” up from the bottom install a 2 1/2” wheel on each side with a bolt running through the hole as an axle. If you want you can gut a groove in the top of the board to make it impossible for the sheet to fall out. If that doesn’t give enough lift use a longer 2x and make it a 2×6 instead of a 2×4

-- Nothing's just gets expensive

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3350 days

#13 posted 11-30-2010 10:17 PM

Now that’s what I call all right. Good work. I wish I had room for one of ‘em.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View David's profile


211 posts in 4199 days

#14 posted 12-01-2010 12:40 AM

A couple of years ago; I saw (no pun intended) a home built panel saw that had rails top and bottom so the saw could move L & R as well as a track for the saw to move up & down. The tracks were made from electrical conduit and the rollers from small bearings and it worked like a typical gantry machine. To rip a sheet the long way, the saw was rolled R to L and to cross cut; it could move down. Of course the saw had to rotate for each operation. The article was published in Woodsmith so I wouldn’t want to violate any copy rights but here’s the article and it would fit if you have a limited wall space. Woodsmith Panel Saw

-- [email protected]

View WistysWoodWorkingWonders's profile


12785 posts in 3641 days

#15 posted 01-03-2011 06:27 PM

nice work, looks great and functional and best of all, takes up only a small amount of space!

-- New Project = New Tool... it's just the way it is, don't fight it... :)

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics