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Project Information

Since I'm on a very tight budget and I needed to buy pretty much everything, I spent as little as I could on a tablesaw so that I can replace it as soon as possible with a clear conscience but still at least attempt to get started while I wait for a better saw. I picked up a used Ryobi bench top for $40. It wasn't much a bargin. To make it more useful and to give myself a starter shop project, I decided to implement Norm's Table Saw Station (#9908). I built it, or tried to build it, pretty much as specified in the plan but I did add a pair of rulers (more on this later) to the front and back of the top so that I could align the auxiliary fence without wanting kick the whole thing over. Or pout a little.

As a first project, I suppose it could have gone worse but I made some pretty major errors. Here are two just for fun:

First off, below you can see where I misaligned one of the rulers in the table top by 1.5" initially and had to correct it. I read the position off the wrong edge of the framing square. Yeah, thats not embarrassing. Or irritating. Nope. Anyway, I had to peel it up, move it over an inch and a half, find the part of the ruler I had previously cut off, and try to align both pieces so that they were both correct. That is why there is a, uh, hmm, decorative gap in the ruler. My job of squaring up the end of the router cut groove the ruler is recessed into is no picnic either.

Ruler boo-boo

My biggest error by far was how I managed the glue up and it lead to some pretty ugly consequences. The main body of the table is composed of 1) the top, with dados for the back and two side pieces, 2) a plywood bottom reinforced with half-lapped 2×4s and with a dado for the middle side piece, and 3) the back and two side pieces all of which fit into the table top dados, but only one of which goes into a dado in the bottom. The back and right side piece attach to the sides of the 2×4 frame. So here is where I screwed up, I should have started the glue up by getting all three pieces into the dados in the top. The bottom only has one dado. The fit of the other two pieces has a TON of wiggle room. However, I was sort of putting things together as I got pieces completed and I put off the top because I was a little intimidated by cutting up the big 3/4 melamine sheet and getting all the dados and cutouts in it correct. Stupid, right? Anyway, I attached the side and back pieces to the bottom and then later attached the top. Problem was it didn't really fit. I had to exert a lot of clamping pressure to get the thing together and as a result the whole top is sort of bent where the back joins up. You can see in the following picture how much out of alignment the tablesaw is from the outfeed side of the station.

Miss-aligned #2

Despite its many problems, this station has made my pathetic tablesaw do a lot of things it otherwise could never do. I now have a reasonable amount of side feed and outfeed support. Instead of being limited to 11" of rip I now have about 40" using the auxiliary fence. Plus the saw horses came out pretty good!

However, nothing can make up for the undersized, un-t'd miter slots, the truly sad (and more than a little dangerous) miter gauge, or the fence. Oh, and by the way, if you're out there Norm, you have my sincerest apologies. ;)

Gallery

Comments

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Not a bad addition to your table saw Tom. We all started with less than the best of saws. Hang in there and wait until you can replace that Ryobi with the best saw you can afford. I have a Bosch 4000 (about $500) and it's a great saw, especially for someone like me that is limited on shop space.
 

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A thought for when you are ready to upgrade: I am very pleased with my Ridgid saw. I have equipped it with a carbide, 50 tooth, thin kerf blade. Its a real workhorse.
 

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Keep that sense of humor….....you will need it in this hobby. Mistakes, everyone makes them. How you deal with them is what makes you a Jock…
Good start to your shop.
 

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Are you planning on storing this vertically?

The casters on the right intrigue me.
 

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tom, wood working is like riding a bicycle you get skun up a bit the first couple times out but before you know it your doin wheelies and jumpin autmobiles !!
 

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This is a great first project Tom, and God knows, we all need a functional shop to produce more. Try leveling your tablesaw to fit the box, by using shims under the saw. (Blame the fact that it's not level on the floor!)

I agree with your idea of vertical storage to save space, but that would render the box useless for anything but a catchall. Still, we need a place to toss the extras when it's in use. And I'm willing to bet Norm would be proud.

Here's a thought for you…When you build your bench, make it mobile on heavy casters, with a recess for this saw. You could also fill this recess with an adjustable height shelf to hold your (future) compound miterbox, planer, grinder, sander, etc. And when you're done playing, you can push it up against a wall allowing the use again of the garage. A shop vac would also fit nicely underneath allowing the hose to be adapted for dust collection. It would be an "All-in-one" bench right? I'm tempted to build one of these myself but then I'd have to explain to the wifey-poo why I have yet another bench!
 

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I admire the fact that you took on such a difficult project this early in your woodworking life. I think you did a great job, and none of your errors were catostrophic so I'd call it a complete success.
 

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People ask me how I learned how to do woodworking, I tell them it is trial and error. Mostly error. Learning from mistakes will only make you a better woodworker.
 

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That is really cool. I have been considering something similair from my craftsman contractor saw.
 

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First off, to everyone who took the time to look at my project and leave there comments, Thank you! If it seems like I'm being to hard on myself, trust me I'm laughing while I write it (all the crying happens when I though another malformed or broken piece on the scrap pile). I just want to remember the mistakes I made so I don't make them again and have a little fun while I'm doing it.

I do store the saw vertically when I need to get one of the cars in the garage but I generally leave it down when I'm in the middle of a project. I have to clear the cubby out before I store it but it comes in quite handy while I'm using the saw. You can see it in the picture but there is a cutout in the bottom with one of those table saw dust collection shrouds. The DC really needs more suction than my shop vac can produce but it is better than nothing.

Cajunpen & rikkor: I have looked at both of those saws with considerable longing.

Dadoo: Actually the saw already is shimmed so that the edge of the table saw is level with the adjacent table tops. The problem is that the table top itself was bent when I forced the bottom into the dados. If I had realized that was going to happen I would have kept removing material for a better fit but I stopped when I was able to make it fit. I wish I could make that desicion over again. :)

CharlieM1958: Although I like poking fun at my table saws deficiencies, I know that a more skilled craftsman could really take advantage of all the saws capabilities while avoiding its deficiencies. Unfortunately, at least for now, I'm not that skilled craftsman. I'm figuring out slowly how to work around them but it is definitely a learning process. I'm not planning on upgrading the saw until I've filled in some of the other tools in my collection. I'm about ready to pull the trigger on a thickness planer. That makes me very happy.
 

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Tom,
I bought that saw right around this time last year when it was on sale. I will agree with some of its defiencies, and having to learn how to work with them. My plan is basically the same as yours buy the cheaper stuff as I start out and equip then upgrade slowly as needed.
I like the idea for the station, been trying to figure out how to get mine off that pathetic little stand. Thanks for posting it, it does look good.

CtL
 

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I've got a very simple router table on top of the table saw stand now. Eventually I'll get around to building a cooler router table but for now it works pretty well.
 

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all in all, it still looks like a good, functional station to upgrade your saw. I too have a cheap tablesaw… pleased to say it didn't take me long to outgrow it… but it is taking a lot longer to upgrade from it… How sad that a new blade cost more than the saw did in the first place… yet the debate between spending the time to make it do what we need, or dropping the cash on a better saw is still a hard one to justify some days…. especially when I have access to my Father-in-laws Rigid TS in his garage. Runs like a dream… but also 25 minutes down the road… inconvenient unless I plan way ahead.
 

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I know, the materials in the station and the replacement blade cost so much more than I paid for the saw it isn't even funny. But it will be a while before replacing it is my highest priority. Now that I have a planer on the way, I'm sure either a band saw or jointer is next. Unfortunately, next but not any time soon. :)
 

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Great job. My first table saw was a Craftsman 7 incher. It had to be clamped to a bench to be useful. I built a 8 ft sail boat with it. That was in 1970. Today the only thing I need is continued good health. See the info on fine dust collection.
 

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Wow, a boat. Very cool. I don't think I'd want to get in very deep water in a boat I built at my current skill level.
 

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I have the same saw sitting in the exact same position in my garage! Too funny! I am on a VERY limitied budget and the Ryobi was a good price for me to learn how to use a table saw. I'll have to submit my first project, a workshop table. Lots of mistakes and funny asides to the creation of it, I agree that a sense of humor is a must for any hobby. Thanks for sharing and giving an idea to "pimp" my table saw!!
 

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Great job. I have always started at the bottom with low cost tools and some of them have held out pretty well, others didn't last long at all. I try and start in the middle now. Safety First.
 
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