One Last Stand (…for 2010)

Now, I remember why I used to hate working forty-hours a week – it leaves you with very little time (and energy) for woodworking – hence, why I haven’t had much to blog about for almost an entire month now. Working a mixed shift pattern of early mornings late evenings doesn’t help much, either. With money coming though, I’ve been able to stock up on materials for a few workshop improvements I’m planning to keep myself busy through the winter. This first one is a simple cabinet stand for my recently-acquired PK200 table saw. I also have plans to make a fit some new fences to my mitre saw and router table; while I’ve also decided I will make an MDF table for my pillar drill, even though Axminster sell something that costs only £50.

You can see that it’s taken its place just beyond the right-hand end of my workbench. I have deliberately positioned the saw so it’s pointing towards the saw, which I think will make it easier for me when I drag it out around the front of the bench and want to make a rip cut, heading towards the entrance of my workshop (in short; I don’t have to spin it 180° to set it up conveniently). I haven’t yet purchased or made any of the extension accessories due to the limited space in this area – the base rails alone would add at least another 500mm to the width of this saw… My original plan was to cut up all the MDF for this stand using the saw but, without the extensions, it just wouldn’t be safe enough or practical.

As usual, my local timber merchant was happy to cut each 8x4ft sheet down in to ‘quarters’ [4off approximately 1200x600mm for each thickness – 6mm, 9mm and 18mm]. From there, I marked out my cuts, roughed them out with the jigsaw and then cleaned them up with my router; running a bearing-guided against one of the freshly-sawn, clean edges of one of the other pre-cut sheets.

I previously decided that I wanted the top and base of this unit to overhang the sides by 50mm all round. I’m not entirely certain of why I wanted to do this but, more importantly; both 18mm sides and the 9mm back panel are situated directly under the circumference of the machine’s body.

In the past, I’ve used screws alone to join MDF with mixed results… Sometimes, I can get away with using drywall screws in 18mm MDF and, if I drill a 3mm diameter pilot hole, short of the required depth, it can sometimes pull the joints up tightly without splitting… Sometimes! There’s still always the struggled associated with keeping all the components aligned as you tighten the screws so, for the first time, I decided to reinforce the joints and aid alignment with three biscuit joints in each (the screws de-necessitate any need for cramps). This is actually a tip frequently advented by jasonb on UKworkshop.

Knowing that I was looking for a 50mm overhang all round, I used my saw to rip a couple of MDF scraps to that width, which were then secured in place around the perimeter with double-sided tape. Whether this is intentional or not; biscuit jointers are designed perfectly for cutting slots central to the thickness of ¾in thick material, when referencing off the base. This even works well with a cheap biscuit jointer – the fence can be as wonky as you like, as you don’t need to use it. It’s still important to work from the same face when slotting the edges of the sides (in this case, that would be working with the outside faces flat on the workbench).

All of my machines are setup to be portable, so that I can move them around to adjust my working setup when and how-ever required. Normally with something like this, I’d just stick four swivel and brake rubber castors underneath and call it a day. This isn’t a pillar drill or bobbin sander, though… Table saws are not to be messed with – you don’t want this thing moving around the workshop while you’re trying to rip a length of hardwood!

So, I opted for just the two locking castors at the rear, with two purpose-made ‘feet‘ at the front of the cabinet – these are simply two scraps of 45mm thick pine, machined to a width identical to that of the castors plus 18mm MDF. Minus a 3mm allowance for the thickness of the rubber non-slip router matting. This was applied using a cheap brand of spray adhesive and it’s so far held on very well. In use, it also seems to work well and stops the unit from sliding about, even before I’ve loaded my power tools in to the storage space below. For aesthetics, I mitred the ends of each block by 15°.

If I was stupidly rich, this would probably be a good place to stash some of my Festool luxury products…

Although I didn’t get to use it for this entire build, I was able to rip a few narrow strips of MDF on this saw in order to finish this project. Even with the 40t Trend blade fitted, it performs very well and leaves a decent finish. I should have a couple of new saw blades arriving some time this week and I look forward to seeing what they’re like, having never even heard of this German manufacturer before seeing the company’s advert in the back of one of the UK magazines…

Dust extraction seems to work quite well, with my Nilfisk vacuum hooked-up to the crown guard outlet. Until I buy some 40mm flexible hose though, it cannot be in two places at once, which is why I’m temporarily borrowing the dust bag from my Makita mitre saw to collect all the waste ejected out the back (it doesn’t take much to fill it up, either!).

One detail I haven’t photographed properly is the actual fitting of the saw to the top of the cabinet. Much to my surprised, there don’t appear to be any mounting holes underneath this model – how you would attach Metabo’s own stand then, I really do not know!! It does come with four rubber feet fitted, which prevent the saw from sliding around on clean surface. So, I’ve used this to my advantage by placing one 90mm square of 18mm MDF under each foot, with a 30mm x 10mm hole drilled centrally in each. These are screwed down on to the top and prevent the saw from going anywhere without the cabinet (although, when the need arises; I can easily lift the saw away).

You may recall from a previous post that I wanted the working height of this saw to sit 5mm clear of my workbench. Well, before I added the blocks below the feet, I had just that. But, I then realised that I didn’t like the fact that the saw was still 5mm short of the bandsaw’s table. Fortunately, those extra 18mm blocks came to my rescue and I’m now able to use my bandsaw as an outfeed support for long(-ish) lengths inside the workshop.

This was all done within one of my ‘rest days’ in the previous week. Earlier today (this morning, in fact), I managed to knock-up this simple but effective handle for carting the table saw around the workshop; in and out of its resting place:

It folds up; it folds down. Most importantly of all, it’s at just the right height to take all the strain out of my lower back. It’s large enough to be used with two hands, if necessary. I would rather have used a larger dowel but, this 21mm diameter length of pine was the largest I had in my offcuts bin. I did manage to use some of my 16mm scraps of tulipwood for the sides, though – one down; about a dozen more to go! 😉

That’s all I have to say on this for now. However, I have been working on something else this afternoon which is of relevance and I do plan to add one or two other accessories, in time… Hopefully, I’ll be able to let you know about in less than four-weeks…!!

Thanks for reading.

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