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AW Extras 4/10/14 - Mobile Outfeed Tables

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Mobile Outfeed Tables

Upgrade your tablesaw and save precious shop space with a pair of outfeed tables.

By George Vondriska


A tablesaw is a lot safer and easier to use when it’s equipped with an outfeed table. Whether you’re ripping long boards or crosscutting big sheets of plywood, you really need more support than just the top of your saw.

Lots of folks have a huge outfeed table that sits permanently behind the saw, but that’s impractical in my compact shop. I’ve gone small and mobile instead.

I built two tables, which offer a lot of flexibility. I can butt them right up to the back of my contractor’s saw because the folding wings span the saw’s motor. When I rip a long board, I can put one table in front of the saw and one behind. When I crosscut a big piece of plywood, I can roll one of the tables to the left side of the saw. When I need more open space around the saw, I fold down the wings and push the tables out of the way.

As a bonus, these tables are great shop carts. They’re perfect for wheeling project parts from machine to machine. I also use them for glue-ups and assembly. Sweet!

 

Customize your table’s height

Our dimensions are designed for a saw of standard height: about 34 in. The table adjusts from 33-1/2 to 35-1/4 in. high. This allows you to fine-tune the exact height of the table to match your saw after the table is built. In addition, you can easily tilt the table’s top to compensate for an uneven floor. If you need a table with a different range (to include the height of a mobile base, for example), adjust the cabinet and door dimensions.

 

Build the case

1. Cut the sides (A), subtop, bottom and shelf (B) and back (C) to size. Cut rabbets for the subtop, bottom and back. Cut dadoes for the shelf. Assemble the case and check it for square.

2. Cut the face frame parts (D, E, F) to size. When assembled, the face frame should be 1/16 in. longer and wider than the case. Use screw pockets to join the face frame rails to the stiles. Position the center rail so its top edge is even with the shelf.

3. Glue and clamp the face frame to the cabinet. Trim it flush after the glue is dry (Photo 1).

 

Make drawers and doors

4. Make a big pile of edge banding. The entire project takes almost 90 lineal feet.

5. Make the drawer box sides (G), front and back (H) and bottom (J). Cutting the drawer front and back pieces to just the right length ensures that the drawer slides will travel without binding. To calculate this length, start by measuring the face frame opening. Next, subtract 1 to 1-1/16 in., which is the space needed for two metal slides. Finally, subtract another 1-1/2 in. or, more exactly, the combined thickness of two drawer sides. Assemble the drawers.

6. Make the drawer slide fillers (K). Plane them to be flush with the inside edge of the face frame. Screw and glue the fillers to the case.

7. Cut and edge-band the drawer fronts (L, Photo 2). Drill screw holes for the pulls.

8. Cut and edge-band the doors (N). Check the width of the doors, allowing for the 1/2-in. overlay hinges, edge banding and a 3/32-in. gap between the doors. Drill for and fasten the pulls.

 

Make the top

9. Cut the large and small rim rails (Q and S). Edgeband two ends and one side of the large rails. Drill screw pockets into the inside face of the small rails. Glue and screw the small rails to the large rails, flush with the unbanded top edge.

10. Cut and edge-band the melamine top (T) and wings (U).

 

Sand and finish

11. Ease all the corners with a 1/8-in. round-over bit. Finish-sand the wooden parts.

12. Apply a finish to all the wooden surfaces.

 

Assemble the doors and drawers

13. Screw the casters to the cabinet bottom. Position and screw the case slide component inside the case and the drawer-box slide component on the drawer box (Photo 3).

14. Slip the drawer boxes into the cabinet and lay the case on its back. Put the hinges on the doors and hang the doors on the face frame.

15. Position the drawer fronts over the drawer boxes, and fasten the fronts to the drawer boxes (Photo 4). Stand the cabinet up.

 

Assemble the top and wings

16. Drill and countersink holes for the leveling screws through the main table. Use a drill press to ensure a plumb hole.

17. Center the rim assembly under the melamine table top. Fix the rim assembly to the top by driving screws through the screw pockets.

18. Screw the folding brackets to the bottom of the wings and then to the large rim rails. It’s easiest to do this with the table’s top assembly upside down on your tablesaw. The tablesaw’s flat surface helps align the parts.

19. Place the top assembly on the cabinet. Insert the four leveling screws and tap each one with a hammer to dimple the subtop. This locates the holes for the T-nuts. Remove the top assembly. Drill and mount the T-nuts in the cabinet.

20. Push the leveling screws through the top and put fender washers and Nyloc nuts on from the underside. (Nyloc nuts are the kind with nylon rings inside them.) The nuts should be snug but not so tight that you can’t turn the leveling screw by hand.

21. Set the top assembly on the cabinet. Turn each machine screw until it engages the T-nut. Adjust each screw a little at a time so the top doesn’t bind.

22. Position the outfeed tables behind your saw and span a straightedge from the saw to the table top. Level the top to the saw by turning the leveling screws up or down; then lock the screws using the fender washers and wing nuts. The wing nuts allow you to lift the cart by its top without yanking out the T-nuts.

 

Cost-Saving Options

I went whole hog when I built these tables, but you could save money in a number of ways:

- Use less-expensive brackets. I looked high and low for brackets that are rock solid and always open a perfect 90 degrees to make a deadflat, rigid work surface. The brackets I found were a bit spendy, but less expensive ones will also work.

- Use melamine instead of plywood for the base. Skip all the banding and simply round over every edge.

- Drop the doors and drawers. You won’t need hinges and drawer slides.

Click any image to view a larger version.


1. Simple face-frame and box joinery makes this project easy to build. Build the face frame slightly oversize, glue it to the cabinet and trim it with a flush-trim bit. This shortcut is a lot easier than trying to build a face frame that exactly fits the size of the cabinet.


2. Start with oversize panels when you apply edge banding. Glue two pieces of banding on first, making sure they’re shy of one edge of the panel. Rip the opposite side. Turn the panel around and rip the other side. Now you’ve got two perfectly flush edges on which to glue the other edge banding.


3. Position each drawer slide with a wood spacer. It’s a lot easier to use a scrap of plywood than a tape measure to level a slide. Install the top slide first with a wide spacer; then use a narrower one for the bottom slide.


4. Install the drawer fronts with the cabinet on its back. Drive temporary screws through the pull holes into the drawer boxes underneath. Remove each drawer and permanently screw the box to the drawer front from the inside.


Project Requirements


Hardware


Cutting List


Fig. A: Exploded View


Fig. B: Cutting Diagram (for two tables)




Sources

Note: Product availability and prices are subject to change.

Woodworker’s Hardware, wwhardware.com, 800-383-0130, 2-1/2-in. locking casters, #JH25 SB; 1/2-in. overlay hinges, #A07550 BB; 16-in. drawer slides, #KV8400 B16; Folding L brackets, #KV0206 ZC 12; 2-in. birch pulls, #A00814 WD.


This story originally appeared in American Woodworker May 2005, issue #114.

May 2005, issue #114

Purchase this back issue.