Barn News

“Right Sizing” a Table Saw

When I began the reconstruction of the Barn I bought a 10-inch contractor’s table saw on Craigslist to use on site, as I did not want then to haul my Jet Unisaw out to work in a pretty wide-open environment.  The contractor’s saw was never anything better than a pile of pelosi, but it got me through the worst of the project.

Now that the outfitting of the interior is drawing to a close, and the Unisaw is ensconced in the basement (admittedly sans 220v electrical circuit and outlet right now, but I could wire it up in an hour or so) it was time to put the pile o’junk saw out to pasture and reconsider what saw I wanted upstairs in my main working area.  Since I mostly use it for making templates and jigs and other light work, something a lot smaller would suffice.


My friend Tony gave me a motor-less Rockwell combination platform with a 4-inch jointer and a 9-inch table saw on the same base, with a brand new thin kerf blade.  I did not need the jointer at this time, so I took it off and remounted the table saw.  It had the makings of a fine little machine, everything seemed smooth and tight.   It needed a motor and a motor yoke, so I dug out the former (3/4 horse) from my stash of motors and fabricated the latter from a southern yellow pine board and a long bolt.


All hooked up it worked well.  My final dilemma had to do with the mobility of the machine.  I am not one of these guys who wants the table saw plopped in the middle of the work space.  I want to roll it out to use, then put it back when done.  The problem is that casters make the thing unsteady and frankly dangerous unless they are high quality -and pretty expensive – double locking locking casters that lock both the wheel rotation and swivel.


While at the hardware store I found the perfect solution for less than 10 dollars.  These plastic sliders for underneath sofas are fabulous.  In addition to allowing the saw to be pulled out and put away easily on the SYP floor, they are not so slick as to let the saw to slide across the floor as I am using it.


One unexpected benefit is that the sliders have padded tops, so in fact this reduces any vibration and makes the whole setup steady as a rock.

I am not convinced that this is the ultimate resolution, especially with the ridiculous 24″ outrigger bars for the fence.  I might just cut those off at 16″ or 14″ and see how I like them.

I have two more options at my disposal.  Down in the basement of the barn is a sweet 8-inch Craftsman bench-top table saw almost identical to the one I grew up with, also smooth and tight, and back in my Maryland shed I still have my wonderful 9-inch tilting top Rockwell saw that I absolutely love.


For now I will try this set-up for a good while to see if it fits my needs.  It saws effortlessly and true, needing only an outfeed crossbar which I will add soon.  If not, I will swap it out for the next option.

Stay tuned