As usual, click any photo to bring up a larger version.
PLEASE NOTE, the youtube video is meant as a companion to the following
article, not a replacement.
In particular, it is NOT a build video!
PLEASE NOTE, the youtube video is meant as a companion to the following article, not a replacement. In particular, it is NOT a build video!
I am always on the lookout for ways to improve the layout and usefulness of my shop. One area where I have a particular need is storage. I have a basement shop, so the size of the shop is one thing that I cannot (easily) change. So, I need to find better ways to make use of the limited space that I do have.
One option would be to build a rolling cart that occupies the space under the wing of the saw. That would be a good solution if my table saw stayed in one place. However, in my compact shop everything is on wheels, and gets moved regularly. Therefore, every time I move the saw I would also have to move an under-wing cabinet.
The problem I have with those designs is that you are committing yourself to the specific table saw that you are custom fitting into the cabinet. I like my saw, but I do hope to someday replace it with a better model. A cabinet saw, for instance, would not work with most designs.
So instead I have came up with this design for a more modular Tablesaw workstation. It would incorporate a rolling platform that the table saw would sit upon. As well there would be cabinets that would fit on that platform sitting under and beside the saw. The entire unit would be mobile, and could come apart in sections in case I ever needed to move, or decided to upgrade or replace a section of it. The table saw itself could be removed from the platform and replaced with another one, with (hopefully!) a minimum amount of fuss, should I ever upgrade my saw.
At the time of writing, I have now had this workstation for two years and am still very happy with it. Unfortunately, I did not take photos during the construction, but I do have numerous photos showing the different features of it, as well as a 3D SketchUp model with all the dimensions and details.
Start with the overall width of your saw. In my case, I only want o make use of the existing space under my saw, I don't want it to take up any more floor space. Next, measure the footprint of your saw. This ells you the minimum space you need to allow for the base/feet. Finally, measure the space under the left and right wings of your saw.
Note: My tablesaw is a left-tilt unit. This means that the blade-tilt control wheel is on the right side of the saw, so I have to leave space for easy access to that wheel. To accommodate that, in my design I have a short and a tall cabinet on the right side.
My tablesaw weighs 300lbs. I have no idea how much the cabinets weigh.
First there is the mobile base. It supports the whole unit, and is designed to be low to the ground. Next I have a large cabinet on the right. Beside it there is a shorter central cabinet, to allow space around the blade-tilt wheel. Finally, on the left side of the saw I also fit in a tall/narrow bank of drawers.
The end result is a huge amount of storage packed into a small, mobile(!) footprint. Yes, I could have gained a touch more space by dismantling the saw and removing the legs, but really, not that much.
In the rest of this document I will take a look at the individual modules that make up the workstation.
Pictured here is a similar mobile base design that I have used for many years to support my six-inch jointer. (This was inspired by a design I found online years ago.) It has worked very well in that role. It is stable, and raises the tool only a little bit over it's original height. So, I thought to use this design as the base for my tablesaw workstation, scaling it up in size as needed. The bottom is a simple sheet of 3/4” plywood. The sides are a pair of 2x4s arranged in an L-shape. As you can see, the top section of 2x4 sticks out at either end, to allow room for the castors to swivel freely.
I purchased four double-locking swivel castors, rated at 100kg (220lb) each, which should provide plenty of support – a total of 400kg or 880 pounds. I strongly recommend using four swivelling castors, as opposed to using two fixed and two swivelling. In a small shop, having all four wheels swivel will make it much easier to move and spin and reposition your tool stand.
Note that after two years of use I have had about 1/8" of sag on one side of the base. I think that one of my 2x4s was either just a bit week, or possibly it is because the grain was flat sawn, which is weaker. You might want to use hardwood for the top-rail of the base, or at least make sure your 2x4 has vertical grain. This does not affect the usability of my workstation, I just want to be completely transparent.
However, I should also mention that this cabinet also serves as the place to store the fence when I dismount it from the saw for crosscutting operations.
In order to maximize the space in the drawers, I again opted to forgo drawer slides. I followed the same approach with the middle cabinet, using dados in the side of the cabinet where the drawer bottoms slide.
Someone is probably curious, so here is the back side view of it all.