"Leg Up" Table Saw Panel Lifter System - Router Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-15-2012, 08:10 PM Thread Starter
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Default "Leg Up" Table Saw Panel Lifter System

In this week's e-mail circular from Rockler they had the "Leg Up" Table Saw Panel Lifter System for $39.99. I'm still a newbie to a lot of this stuff, so this was the first time I've seen the system. I can tell you, though, that with my arthritis and some nerve damage issues this may be just the right thing I need to help with lifting panels onto the saw.

Anyone on here using the system?

Are there better systems?
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-16-2012, 11:26 AM
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We made one of these many years ago at the cabinet shop where I work. It gets used whenever one of us discovers that we are alone and need to cut down a full sheet of plywood, MDF, or plastic. It's on a 5hp cabinet saw with a 12" blade and an 8' long outfeed table that is almost 8' wide.The lifter is nothing more than a piece of steel angle that was welded to a door hinge and a U shaped piece of metal was welded to the opposite end to hold onto the sheet stock. It's mounted to the left side of the outfeed table (right tilt saw) just past the saw's metal top, so it's about 3 1/2 feet from the front of the saw and it's long enough to almost reach the floor (about 1" from floor). To use it we move a sheet on edge over to the left side of the saw and drop the forward end of the sheet into the U shaped piece of the lifter. With the sheet leaning against the side of the saw we then walk around to the front of the saw and lift the sheet slightly, then just rotate the sheet onto the saw's table. A slight shift of the sheet to the right unhooks the lifter and it falls away, allowing us to then move the sheet into the cutting position.

If I had a home shop that was large enough to handle full sheets through my Unisaw I would have made one of these for myself long ago. It doesn't need to be made of metal and welded together, but it will last forever if you do. At $39.95 for such a simple device I would make one instead of buying, but you may prefer otherwise. Either way it's a good accessory to have for breaking down full sheets when you are alone in the shop.

For handling full sheets at my small home shop I made a few helper tools. The first is a cutting table, an open wood frame about the size of a 5' folding table with folding table legs that were purchased from Harbor Freight. I put two swing up cleats along one edge of the table to use for lifting sheets. I lay the table on it's side (in the driveway) and set the sheet material on these cleats, then tilt the sheet and the table to the upright position. I then use a circular saw and straightedge to break the sheet down into 1/2 sheet or less size for finishing in my shop, setting the cutting depth of the saw to cut through the sheet, plus about 1/4". The saw kerfs in the top of the table add "character" and if they ever get plentiful enough to affect my cutting I'll just make a new frame top and transfer the legs to it. My table top frame is made from 1X4" stock with some 2X4" cross pieces laid flat for the legs to attach, plus a center one. These are all mounted flush with the top edge of the 1X4" outer frame, so the top is smooth for laying the sheet on. When the legs are folded they fit inside the 1X4 frame dimension, so the table fits and stores easily along with my sheet stock.

I also made two tools for moving the sheets alone. The first is a wheeled dolly for moving the sheets easily on their edge. It's a U shaped piece of 1/8" thick steel about 12" long with a lawn mower wheel attached to each side of it. With the sheet standing on it's edge I place one end in this dolly. Then I walk to the other end of the sheet and use a second U shaped piece of steel with the same dimensions that has a cane shaped handle attached, and I place the other end of the sheet into this U channel. I then lift the sheet using the cane handle until my back is straight, while steadying the top of the sheet with my other hand. Then I easily move the sheet wherever I need to. I'm getting too old to carry full sheets too. You can buy all of these "assist" tools, but I made my own. It helps to have a welding shop in the family, but they could all be made from plywood too.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-16-2012, 06:09 PM
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Hey Carl... I can't say I own one personally, but the guy I get my veneers from does. Occasionally I'll pick up some baltic birch off of him and cut it down to size on site. His shop is wide open and I can pretty much handle the sheets without any help, but I gave the thing a try.

VERY NICE!!!! to say the least. working with full size sheets of 3/4" or even 1/2" ply's this tool would be a huge help. Easy to use, takes minimal effort to raise the wood and you pretty much have control throughout the process. I'd have to say for someone who might be experiencing some degree of limitations health wise, you couldn't go wrong, with this unit or with one such as Charles's describes..

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-17-2012, 05:36 PM
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I never cut full sheets (4'x8') on my table saw. They're just too big to handle. I use a circular saw and the panel cutting setup below.

Plans are from here (of course I modified them): Panel-Cutting Lumber Cart

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-17-2012, 06:16 PM
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Boy I wish I had the room for one , I just drop it on some saw horses, out of the back of the pickup and cut down to size so I can handle it on the table saw..


Originally Posted by RJM60 View Post
I never cut full sheets (4'x8') on my table saw. They're just too big to handle. I use a circular saw and the panel cutting setup below.

Plans are from here (of course I modified them): Panel-Cutting Lumber Cart

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-23-2012, 12:43 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the replies. I love the idea of making one, and I'm wondering if I can do with my little $99 Harbor Freight welder. Shoot, I welded a couple parts back on a plow once with the thing, so it might worth a shot using some angle iron. Worse I'll do is make scrap iron into more scrap iron.

A lot of times I'll use the panel cutting option at the local Home Depot. It's amazing how much attitude you can get from a high school kid on a Saturday because you want a couple sheets of plywood cut down. If I had the room for a larger rack then I'd definitely consider one of those, but I don't work with full sized sheets enough to make it worthwhile in taking up space full time.

My shop is in the basement. I'd like to say I have the whole basement (about 1900 square feet) but I'd have to get rid of the ball-n-chain to get that. Of course, if I dump her I probably lose all my toys as well.

The good thing is that I have enough room for a table saw, compound miter saw, and then a unit that holds my drill press, sanders, bandsaw and of course the routers. I also have a nice size work bench in the middle of the room where I do most of my assembly work. The bench is 48" x 30", and I was thinking of adding an extension on it (48X60). Even with that, I still have enough room to maneuver a full sheet of plywood onto the table saw. The problem is just getting old, and I don't lift 3/4 inch sheets like I used to.

Oh well, I think I'll spend a couple more days trying to figure out what I want, and since I don't have any plans to buy full sized sheets in the near future, I've got a little time.
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