New fence (Part 2) Out Feed Table
New fence system (Part 2) (Follow up to Fence install)
Hi there again,
When I originally decided to document my attempts at building a replacement fence system and out feed table I optimistically predicted I could cover it comfortably in two stages. Unfortunately, I had not taken into account my lack of ability, understanding of the requirement for absolute accuracy and the fact that I had spent so long in the workshop my good wife forgot she was married.
Now that the fence system was complete which I documented in an earlier post, I started on the out-feed table and initially it went quite well with base and sides complete with strengthening skeleton inside. As I have stated earlier I had to continually stop myself from over engineering not the design but the build, where dovetails and rabbits would look great, but unnecessary in my workshop as I would not be eating off it, but instead butchering some unsuspecting lump of 4x2. So, it was a couple of hundred pocket screws and a bottle of ape man glue. My apologies to the purists out there, manís got to work to his abilities.
Now this is where my problems started. Initially I decide to purchase 18mm ply (3/4) and keep it all the same thickness therefore allowing any piece of ply to be used throughout the construction. Unfortunately, I had not ordered the tracking, which when it arrived was only a fraction thinner than the ply. My initial intention was to rout in the tracking but the integrity of the ply would be lost. I then decide to cut the ply to suit the tracking and pack the tracking up to ply surface level with spare wooden slates from my living room Venetian blinds which were perfect, really lucky there.
This is where it went pear shaped. In fact, if you could grow a pumpkin in the shape of a pear, that would be more of a representation.
I first laid out strips of ply where my track would be for support. Then cut the ply and fixed it in position. I then cut the track using my compound mitre saw on low speed with an aluminum cutting blade. The 45-degree cuts went well until I started to fit the track, absolutely nothing lined up or was true, I was so devastated I almost went in the house for a cup of tea. What had I done wrong, well after some investigation I knew my ply base was rectangular, but what I had not taken into account was after raising the sides to counter level I had lost some of the true rectangle. When checking diagonals, I was 3mm out. Now that doesnít sound a lot but with the tracking that equates to out of alignment over two meters, so much so that my test piece mitre track would not travel smoothly along it. So stripped out and decided to reverse engineer. Refitted all the tracking first using every square I had, then fitted the ply to the tracking. Before I started this process, I had to think of my criteria i.e. lining up the out-feed table to the table saw. Now I wasnít worried about the saw being level as I am fitting adjustable legs nor the actual position of the out-feed table to the saw being a few mm either way, no the most important point was that the two opposing mitre tracks had to be spot on. I did not want to rely on my plumberís tape as it only measures to the nearest half inch, so I made a jig to fit the saw and transferred it to the out-feed table track and it worked a treat.
You may be asking at this point why not router two slightly larger slots in the out-feed table and be done with it, but I want it to do other things. There are a plethora of jigs and hold downs in the market place for mitre tracking and that decided my route.
I also considered 3/4inch holes for wrought iron hold downs but they are not available in the UK only the cast ones which do not have the malleability needed, so will wait until my next visit to Houston to pick up a pair.
One down side to using your compound saw for cutting aluminum is that it doesnít like it one bit. After all the cuts were made I had to spend an hour resetting the saw back to 100% true, and while cutting, red hot metal flies into your face. I thought I had acne when I was finished. I was worried what my wife would say about my appearance, but being married forty odd years, adding scarred and pock marked to old, wrinkled and grey wasnít going to make a great deal of difference.
I decided not to screw down the aluminum tracking as I felt the screws would pull out of the ply, if I was using hold downs, so bored and used bolts and nuts backed with large penny washerís underneath.
Started the carriage next and at this point had to decide on wheels or adjustable legs. Wheels would have been handy, allowing me to move it about the shop, but in the end decided I wanted it as a dedicated-out feed table so legs it was.
Nothing fancy just measure, cut and 80mm screws. But the observant out there would notice I included access opening all around. I did this just in case I did decide in the future that I may want it mobile to move around the shop as my wife occasionally allows me to change my mind from time to time
Now I was just about to start the varnishing and thought to myself, if I am going to use this as a second auxiliary bench as well I really should have some power at hand, well I didnít. Table saw is 3 phase 415v. So I decided to harvest one of the phases and fitted a 13amp socket alongside saw isolator. The reason I went for just a plug and socket is that it would allow me to move the out-feed table by just pulling the plug. As I was standing there mulling this over, I first checked to see if my good wife was in the vicinity. She hates me mulling things over as I tend to stand and mull for quite a while. I think it irritates her to see me thinking, anyway as many of my power tools are 110v decided I should have that facility as well. I have 110v circuit around the perimeter of the shop but nothing accessible in the centre, so decided to use an old transformer I had and fitted it into a ply box hung underneath. I also fitted a switch for it as I didnít want it live 24/7.
For those of you interested I have included a photo of the 3-phase isolator to my saw. On the bottom is a 240v volt supply thatís feeds my Vacuum which is linked into the switched live to the saw motor, and the other is the permanent live to my out-feed table for 110/240-volt supply
Next problem was attaching the out-feed table to the saw. I originally decided to bolt it on but after boring and setting it up I found I could not reach the bolts to tighten them. More mulling over. Took the bolts and welded on extensions and fed them back through the carcass and fitted Bristol levers and it works a treat.
Well itís complete now about 99%. Still have not decided whether I want a lower shelf. It would just encourage me to hoard more stuff. Quite happy how it turned out. Cost about £150 plus another £50 for electrics, screws etc., which for a pensioner is just about affordable. Upside is the wife enjoyed the down time, she told me it gave her some indication of what life will be like when I pop my clogs.
Now there are quite a few of you out there that must me mulling to yourselves, itís just an out feed table, and thatís correct thatís what it is, and surely I could have knocked one up for a lot less money, time and effort, which is true especially if you are a hard working individual that can only devote the occasional weekend to a project such as this due to work and family commitments, but after 46 years working full time at the preverbal coal face my time and money is my own, and although there is not lots of money there is an abundance of time, which allows me to be more creative in my desires, which in this case is producing an out-feed table that allows me to develop and expand that creation, which in turn keeps me occupied, busy, and deliriously happy in my workshop, isnít that what itís all about.
Now as I was going to utilize it as an ancillary table I felt the open mitre track was not suitable and went on line and found you could purchase inverted aluminum track that slides in and gives you a flat surface, unfortunately I could only find it in the good old USA, so made my own out of ply cut-outs, will do just now, but would appreciate if anyone knows of a UK seller.
Just for your info in case anyone decides they need to build one of them, main materials were;
3 sheets of 2400x1200x18mm (8x4x3/4)
10 lengths 2400x100x50mm. (8íx4Ēx2Ē)
Accessories /side affects
1 pint of sweat
2 pints of tears
2 band aid plasters
I cup of blood
3 hours of wife nagging me
27 cups of tea.
(Did not require hospital treatment, my good wife rendered first aid in the form of a neck scarf, which I indicated I canít wear that in the workshop, why she asked, it could get caught up in the machinery. Could it she asked speculatively.)