The Paulk work bench is a pretty well thought out design, for a portable work bench, but for just breaking down sheets or using a track saw, I prefer a cutting table. It's just a frame of a table with banquet table legs. My table perimeter is made from 1 X 4 pine with 2 X 4 cross pieces laid flat and flush with the top edge of the 1 X 4 frame. There are five of these cross pieces, 2 near each end where needed to attach the table legs, and one in the middle for added strength. There is no metal in my table. It's all joined together with glue and biscuits. The only metal in the wood are the short screws that attach the table legs, which are an inch below the table surface, and the two screws that attach the small pieces of plywood to one long side of the table, which are more than 1 1/2" below the top surface of ther table. The table size does not need to be as large as a sheet of plywood. Mine is about 30" wide and 70" long, but it can be any size that you want it to be. Just make it at least about 2/3 the size of sheet stock so the larger, less than full size off cut pieces can remain safely on the table without needing to balance them. I just slide the sheet stock around so that the cut line is roughly centered over the table, to keep the off cuts from falling when the cut is complete. For very narrow rip cuts of the full length of the sheet I usually just do these off the edge of the table, since they are light and I can support them with one hand while operating the saw with the other. The banquet table legs are available from Harbor Freight, Northern, and other sources for about $25 per pair
To use the table, I just set it up on a flat surface (usually my driveway) and lay the piece(s) to be cut on the top of it. Since I don't have a true track saw I use an aluminum straight edge clamp and my circular saw with a zero clearance base plate on it. I set the saw to cut about 1/4" deeper than the thickness of the material that I will be cutting and then just make the cuts. The beauty of using a cutting table like this is that 1. you don't have to worry about off-cut pieces falling when the cut is complete. 2. The work is at a comfortable level 3. The kerfs made in the table pieces do not affect the table's strength. If I ever make so many kerfs in the table frame that I want to replace it, I just make another and move the legs to it. When I'm not using my cutting table, the legs fold easily and flush with the bottom of the 1 X 4 frame. I then just lean it up against my plywood stock in my shop.
The pictures attached are of my first cutting table. After 4 heart heart attacks and surgery for each, plus two knee replacements I have considerable difficulty lifting full sheets of 3/4" plywood and my heavy cutting table, so wised up and remade the table lighter by changing the outer frame from 2 X 4 to 1 X 4 and it reduced the table weight by about 18 pounds. To move full sized sheet stock around I have a wheel assembly that I place at one end under the bottom edge of the stock, and then I lift and carry the other end of the sheet to wherever I need it.
I also added two pieces of plywood on one long side of the table frame, attached off center with just one screw. I can turn these so they are below the top surface of the table, or turn them so they are above the table surface. Turning them so they are up above the surface lets me tip the table on it's side with these down against the driveway, then lean a full sheet of plywood or other sheet stock against the table surface with the bottom edge of this stock sitting on these two pieces of plywood. I can then bend down and tip both the table and the sheet stock up so the table is again on it's legs, but with the sheet stock then laying flat on the top of the table. (I added this feature to the original table and it worked so well that it's now also on my newer, lighter version of the table.
If I ever make so many kerf cuts in the top of this table that I become unhappy with it, or worry that it's not as strong as it should be, I'll just make a new wood frame top and move the legs from the old one to the new one, but I doubt that I'll live long enough to ever need to.
Again, the attached photos are of my heavy first table. My second version uses 1 X 4 for the outer perimeter frame and 2 X 4 material for the cross pieces and it's plenty strong enough.
At a large family picnic where we ran out of table space, I set my cutting table up with a full sheet of 3/4 cabinet birch plywood on it, covered it with a table cloth, and set up folding chairs around it. Some of the guests were wondering where I had found such a large perfect table for the picnic, until I told them what was under the table cloth.
If you should need a work bench area for tool storage and you don't need this as a cutting table, a piece of plywood to cover it, and you can use it as a light duty work bench or tools and supplies table.
If I'm helping someone do some woodworking away from my shop I always take my cutting table with me. I prefer it much more than saw horses for general use woodworking.
One photo shows the bottom of my saw with my clear lexan "zero Clearance insert" attached to it. If you make one of these, you only need the "zero clearance function where the blade teeth rise up out of the cut. Notice that the opening widens out behind this so that the blade guard can still function. A single narrow slot the full length of the blade would prevent the blade guard from operating, and the saw would be very dangerous to use. If you make a zero clearance insert, make certain that the blade guard can still operate after you attach it to your saw.
Central North Carolina
Last edited by CharleyL; 09-30-2016 at 10:58 AM.