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Project Information

Alright guys,

So I posted my shopmade adjustable sawhorses a little earlier today and wanted to expand on one of the functions. Obviously, they serve as sawhorses and provide somewhere to put things, but the main reason I actually built them was to help me finish large flat panels.

Like a lot of you guys, I don't have a spray booth or a sprayer, so all of my finishes are wipe on or brush on. That is all fine and good until you start to build heavy and large things that are cumbersome to flip over, especially with wet finish on them. The dining table I am currently working on has a 42" x 84" top that is 1 1/8" thick solid cherry. Needless to say I would have a heck of a time moving that thing around alone, much less flipping it over without dinging it or messing up the fresh finish. So, as I searched for some ways to get around this, I remembered a great video that I had seen by Askwoodman. He basically builds a rotisserie that holds his doors or large tabletops so that he can access all sides easily without touching the actually wood item that he is finishing. This video got the wheels turning.

I decided to build this feature into some sawhorses. Pictures 3 and 4 show how the rotisserie works. Just cheap casters screwed to the top rails of the sawhorses. The wheels are placed very close to each other and then the "axle" rests between the two wheels as seen in picture 3. The axle is actually a 1/2" lag bolt that is threaded into a large piece of wood. The smooth part of the bolt rests on the wheels and the board which the bolts is threaded into is clamped to the piece being finished as seen in photo 5. Once the table is suspended on both ends by the "axles", the tabletop floats freely to be manipulated in any which way. I wish I could put a video link on here, but I think you guys get how it works.

Photos 1 and 2 are just pictures of the tabletop suspended. Picture 6 shows the process of setting it up.

I was really surprised at how well this thing works. That tabletop is big and heavy and it handled it very well. I would feel comfortable putting 250 to 300 lbs on there, easy. The only hitch is that you have to find a way to set the tabletop down at the end of the finish coat and touch up where the clamps were. I plan on doing the bottom side, setting it down and unclamping, then finishing where the clamps were and going on to the top.

This thing will be a timesaver, but more importantly will help me attain great finishes with no fingerprints and without having to flip gigantic pieces of furniture around alone, and possibly dropping them (which I have done).

Hope you like it. Please let me know about any questions you may have.

Gallery

Comments

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Very cool idea
 

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That'll save nicks & dings in work pieces…
That and your back!!!

Thanks for spreading the knowledge!
 

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thats a great idea. Using the casters and bolt is real sharp. My first thought to get around the clamp problem would be to hold the top my the edges. That would require to build a frame to surround the table top and use multiple screws to hold the top in place. It might be easier to finish up the edges that try to blend the top where the clamp board is located.

Thanks for posting this.
 

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that is such a good idea, I will have to keep this in mind. Great work
 

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Steve, I agree with Dan. My first thought was how do you finish around the area with the cauls and the clamps?

If you are finishing, say a table top, then its not that big of a deal because you can always just put the bottom of the table top against the cauls. But what if you were doing a door or the panels of a bookcase or something?

I think there must be a way to clamp/screw from the ends of the piece that leave both sides of the table surfaces free.

I love the idea. This gives me something to mull over. Also, I like the sawhorse design!
 

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My thought was to use machine screws and pads so the edge does not get damaged but clamped on all four edges. The next snag to work out is to make the frame adjustable to accommodate different size panels. I'll get staff working on that.
 

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You've really added something to the typical sawhorse. Nice innovation!
 

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The original video that I got this idea from makes use of long tapcon screws that screw into the ends of the piece. That works pretty well for doors, because no one will ever look at the top or bottom of doors. When he is done with the finishing process, he just bores out the area where the screws were and plugs with dowels. That is a cool way to solve the problem and could work out well depending on the piece you are finishing.

The other option I thought of is to leave some extra on each end of the piece and then cut it off and touch up at the end. That could work.

I think in the end I'll have to come up with 3 to 4 options on how to hold the piece as I am finishing. I think different holding systems will work better depending on the situation.

The main pro of this for me is the ability to flip the piece over alone. My poor wife can only lift so much and I feel bad dragging her into the shop all the time.
 

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I really dont mind asking my wife to help. I just remind her by asking, "you wanted a new table, correct?". :)
 

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Matt,

I see you are from Franklin, TN. I actually received a nice amount of beautiful free wood from a friend who grew up in Franklin and whose parents still live there on a good sized farm. I don't know their names, but I know they have a a daughter named Marianna. The old folks who still live there should be in their 80's, I would guess. Ring any bells?
 

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ha, sorry. I have only lived in Franklin for about 3 years so I'm not familiar with all the locals… yet.
 
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