Table saw against a wall...Semi-Small shop

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Forum topic by RichBolduc posted 03-16-2018 10:20 AM 4771 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1453 posts in 1336 days

03-16-2018 10:20 AM

Hi All,

I have a fairly small shop… 16’x17’. One wall has a mite saw station going down the entire wall that’s 3’ deep so I essentially have a 13×17 shop to work with. I’m looking at a couple of table saws to put in the center and am leaning towards a 30” rip capacity. Is there any downfall, besides only being able to walk around one side, if I butt it up against a wall? One of the reasons I’m asking is I just saw a PowerMatic pop up for sale that looks like a 50” table on it. It’s an older model so I’m getting more details. If I did this though, I’d have to push it all the way against the wall I’m thinking.

Thanks, Rich

-- 10% off all products with code LJ10

16 replies so far

View cabmaker's profile


1745 posts in 4029 days

#1 posted 03-16-2018 11:15 AM

Rich a table saw on the starboard wall has always worked the best for me

There is never an occasion to walk around the right side of a table saw that makes sense too me

The only thing that could make it necessary would be if you had a router in the wing….but were it me i would put it in the left wing. of coarse a left tilt could make it difficult to do that

View HarveyM's profile


159 posts in 3242 days

#2 posted 03-16-2018 12:10 PM

I put my sawstop pcs on 4 swivelling casters. It’s up against a wall when not in use, and I pull it out when needed. It’s not as convenient as a fixed position setup, but maximizes space in my 14×16 shop.

-- Just a Duffer

View Firewood's profile


1583 posts in 2854 days

#3 posted 03-16-2018 01:01 PM

I also have my 36” PCS against a wall and never had an issue. I have the standard mobile base and it has not been an issue moving it away from the wall when needed.

-- Mike - Waukesha, WI

View bondogaposis's profile


6033 posts in 3571 days

#4 posted 03-16-2018 01:34 PM

Before I built my shop I had a one stall garage set up where the right wing of the table saw was against the wall and it worked fine. Just put it all on wheels and for those few times when you might need clearance on the right side it is easy to move.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View BoardButcherer's profile


144 posts in 1314 days

#5 posted 03-16-2018 01:41 PM

Mobile bases are the best. Investing a little more in your table saw to make it exponentially more convenient for shop layout is always a wise choice. Grab the saw and put it on a mobile base, butt the right wing up against the wall and if a situation pops up that you need access to the right wing, roll it out into the middle of the floor for a few minutes.

Depending on how high your miter saw station is you might even be able to hollow out a space underneath it and just roll the saw up under there when you need more floor space too.

View joey502's profile


558 posts in 2738 days

#6 posted 03-16-2018 01:42 PM

I have the right side of my extension table on the wall. My saw has 52” rails but i have yet for the layout to be an issue. The space on the outfeed side allows for a table and my 6” jointer to sit behind it. My planer outfeeds across the outfeed table as well.

This has proved to be a good use of space for me.

View jayseedub's profile


220 posts in 3185 days

#7 posted 03-16-2018 02:54 PM

Let me see if I can put this concept into words. I’ve put a good amount of thought into the same question you’re asking, and it’s a compelling thought—but I don’t think it’s best.

A table saw, especially for ripping sheetgoods, needs clearance in front of it and behind it. If you move the table saw so that one side edge or another rests against the wall, you’ll require space along that wall—in front of and behind the table saw (infeed and outfeed)—to make it useful.

In your shop, that might take up the WHOLE wall (say, six feet in front of the saw, and six feet behind it, plus the three feet the saw takes up). To me (I have a 15×15 shop), that wall is precious real estate. (You can put lower cabinets against that wall—but nothing that you’d regularly assemble things on—or other sh!tcatchers. You’ll need that space for occasional rips). AND, you’ll need about four or five feet on the wall behind you and the wall in front of you, to be clear.

That’s taking up the whole wall that your table saw is against, and four or five feet of two of the other walls (you could put low storage there, though).

I usually orient a variety of other tools against the wall that don’t require much side-to-side space (drill press, band saw, edge/belt sander, grinder), and think that putting the Table Saw in the middle of the room gives you most flexibility to both crosscut AND rip. By putting the table saw in the middle of the room, you’ll have an “aisle” on either side of it that you use to access tools along either wall (right or left), but also that can be used for sheetgood ripping.

The aisles on either side effectively serve two purposes (access to wall-located tools, and table saw capacity).

Aligning the table saw on one wall may create more internal shop floor space—but what good is that? What will you use that extra internal space for? Maybe you do have a good use for it!

I REALLY would love to put my table saw with the edge on a wall—I just can’t justify it, and also would be happy to hear any arguments against my point of view, here.

View TungOil's profile


1384 posts in 1715 days

#8 posted 03-17-2018 02:27 AM

I think jayseedub is spot on. I like the Table saw dead center in the shop, oriented with the direction of cut parallel to the long wall. In addition to all the good points above, I like the ‘work triangle’ created by having my RAS along one wall, TS in the center and jointer along the other wall. It makes for efficient workflow.

BTW, my shop is also 16’ wide and I have plenty of room to walk and roll shop carts on both sides of my 30” TS with a RAS on one wall and the jointer on the other, so you might even be able to fit the 52” saw if you can accept a tighter squeeze. Also, you can always shorten the extension to a 30” if the saw is a good deal.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View jimintx's profile


939 posts in 2804 days

#9 posted 03-17-2018 04:56 AM

I have worked from time to time in a neighbor’s shop were the table saw is positioned with the right side extension against a wall. He has worked in that shop, with that arrangement, for 22 years now. Not one time has he, or me when I was there, ever had any reason at all to move the saw out away from the wall.

Having the TS more out in the middle is a great plan. So I think that jayseedub has made good points. But not everyone can accomplish that due to the physical constraints of the space in which they work, or the projects they carry out.

My own shop allows the table saw to be out in the central area, but I still have it on a mobile base and when that is needed – it is more than worth the cost.

I personally think that the concept of moving a full 4×8 sheet of material around on a table saw is a tough task, and there are many options to avoid doing that. I simply don’t do it.

-- Jim, Houston, TX

View clin's profile


1128 posts in 2216 days

#10 posted 03-17-2018 10:33 PM

My shop is only 11 ft wide. I have the right side of my saw near one wall. Works for most cuts I make. I have it on a mobile base that has 4 swiveling wheels. So if I need to, it is very easy to move it around. Since I don’t have a miter saw station, if I have to cross cut a long board, I just rotate the saw so the sides of the saw have all the clearance I need.

I get along fine with a 36” rip capacity, I would not want 52”. But 30” would make it much harder for me to cut cabinet panels.

With a shop 16’ x 17’ I think you could have as large a rip capacity as you would want. Keep the right edge near a wall, and have a good mobile base to make it easy to move when needed.

Bottom line, butting the right side up to or near a wall is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. And unless you are going to cross cut long boards, you would never need to move it.

-- Clin

View Robinson's profile


52 posts in 3912 days

#11 posted 03-18-2018 03:52 AM

I have a pretty large shop now, finally… (36’ X 40’) but I’ve had all sizes over many years including quite small. I would never have any shop now where stuff was not on wheels. It’s my rule that every thing in my shop but me and my main bench has to be on wheels. I’m using a modified cleat wall system on the top 4’ of the walls (about 8’ ceilings). Shelving units that are not on wheels are made so I can hang them on the cleats with the bottom of them up off of the floor far enough that I can sweep under them. By keeping the floor generally free of anything that is not a power tool I can quickly shove things aside or together as needed.


-- Francis Robinson, Central Indiana, USA - - Shopsmith fanatic

View GR8HUNTER's profile


8893 posts in 1932 days

#12 posted 03-18-2018 01:25 PM

wheels are the key for a small shop :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN :<))

View Jon Hobbs's profile

Jon Hobbs

147 posts in 1924 days

#13 posted 03-19-2018 04:38 PM

A table saw, especially for ripping sheetgoods, needs clearance in front of it and behind it. If you move the table saw so that one side edge or another rests against the wall, you ll require space along that wall—in front of and behind the table saw (infeed and outfeed)—to make it useful.
- jayseedub

Ditto. Don’t forget to consider the space in front of, and behind the saw. If you put it against the wall, will there be obstacles to your infeed or outfeed?

My shop space is roughly 15’ x 16’ and I’ve considered the “table saw against the wall” option. I’ve ruled it out due to lack of infeed/outfeed space.

If the saw is against a wall, in the center of the wall, assuming the say is approximately 3 ’ deep, I’d have 6.5’ of infeed and 6.5’ of outfeed space. Not bad, but if you’re wrangling full sheets of plywood, that could get tricky.

If the table saw is away from the wall, more toward the center of the space, lined up with the overhead door, I can cheat it toward the overhead door. When I open the door, I have virtually unlimited infeed space and 9’ of outfeed space. With a 36” fence on the saw I still have around 40-45” to the left of the saw and nearly 5’ to the right of the saw. Add a nice outfeed table and you have an island that doubles as a great assembly table that is easily accessible on all 4 sides.

Putting everything on wheels is very flexible and makes almost anything possible. Having come from a 1 car garage, I’m kind of over moving machines around :) YMMV

-- Jon -- Just a Minnesota kid hanging out in Kansas

View jimintx's profile


939 posts in 2804 days

#14 posted 03-19-2018 04:47 PM

Thus, we once again note the correct answer is “it all depends” on what type of work you wish to do in your shop, on a regular basis.

If in fact you enjoy wrestling full sheets of plywood through table saw, then you have to arrange and set up accordingly. If you want to rip 18 foot long strips to make canoe gunnels, then you need some range on the in and out feed, like maybe doors can provide. And so on.

For my own use, I would never give up the wall and floor space needed for a typical, immovable, semi-massive miter saw “station” installation. And, many many people do exactly that.


-- Jim, Houston, TX

View Robert's profile


4716 posts in 2700 days

#15 posted 03-19-2018 05:33 PM

wheels are the key for a small shop :<))


THIS^^ !!!

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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