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Table SawI purchased a Jet JWTS-10JF a few years ago. I planned to get the XACTA fence when I bought it, but I was offered a really good price on a saw with a standard fence which had been used as a floor sample. I'm not sure I will ever replace the standard fence -- it works extremely well. I often clamp or screw sacrificial plywood or MDF boards to the fence for dado operations or to hold feather boards. I reinforced the extruded aluminum fence with plywood strips inside to prevent it from deforming when clamping, and to provide backing for screws.

I replaced the stamped metal extension wings with Formica covered table boards. Looks better and gives a nice smooth work surface. Some of the photos on my website still show the original stamped metal wings, but they are no longer in use. Information on how I mounted the table boards can be found on the Table Boards page.

I used to keep a small maple desk under the end of my saw, but I have replaced this with a mechanics tool cabinet. I planed down a couple of 2x4 sections to fit between the table board and the cabinet to provide additional support to the table.

Since I use the saw with my dust collector, I made an enclosure for the back. It is held in place with a small wedge which makes it easy to remove when making angled cuts. Foam was packed into the space between the cast iron table and the sheet metal cabinet to improve dust collection.

The first power tool I ever bought was a used Craftsman 8" table saw. I recently put this saw on a cast iron pedestal base which I found on a similar old saw at a garage sale less than a block from my home. The saw and motor are mounted independently. There is a steel rod extending from the splitter bracket mounted on the rear trunnion which engages a slot in the motor mount. This causes the motor to slide from side to side on a polished steel rod when the blade is tilted for bevel cuts. Even though I have the newer and more capable Jet table saw, I couldn't bring myself to get rid of an old friend. I have put a lot of board feet through this old timer since I purchased it in 1964. It is a left-tilt, which is handy at times. Mainly I use it for dado operations, saving setup time on my Jet table saw. It also serves as the base for my old router table, and as a support for long stock to be cut on my radial arm saw.

Shop Made Table Saw Jigs

My table saw is the most used tool in my shop and I have made several jigs for it.

The Dubby Jig was purchased in kit form at a woodworking show, but the rest are shop made. I removed the small toggle clamps that came with the Dubby jig and routed out a groove to accept a section of T-track. The T-track allows me to vary the location of the toggle clamps and also to use some additional hold downs that I use to secure large panels. A stationary 1/2" plywood panel supports cutoffs for both the Dubby Jig and my taper sled, and both edges are zero clearance cuts.

Like most woodworkers, I have made a hinged taper jig for cutting tapered table legs and other items. It works OK, but I have never felt completely comfortable with the safety of this jig. I made a taper sled which is similar to one shown in ShopNotes magazine. It has a single runner and is made from 1/2" MDF with four dado slots to accept hardware store 1/4" toilet T-bolts and some fixture knobs. I use three different types of hold down fixtures to hold the stock. These are (from front to back) toggle clamps, shop made compression hold downs, and some cheap Chinese made copies of Jorgensen hold downs. Although made primarily for cutting tapers, this jig is very useful for cutting an initial straight edge on stock with a lot of crook (edgewise concavity).

I made a very simple out feed table from a Formica clad folding sewing table and two round head bolts which fit in the holes of the rear rail on the stock Jet fence. A support bracket on the table legs slips into a notched plywood plate on the table bottom and is held rigid with a bungee cord. Another bungee cord holds the front of the table securely to the tool stand. It folds flat for storage and takes only seconds to install or remove.

I improved the stock miter gauge by adding a wooden fence with a sandpaper face and sliding stop blocks. It was replaced with a simple cross cut jig with a zero clearance edge. This jig is used only for straight cross cuts and I took extra care in setting the fence accurately at 90 degrees.

My large sled with two runners is similar to one that Kelly Mehler features in his book and video on setting up and using a table saw. I built this large sled several years ago and have used it a lot, but always found it somewhat cumbersome because of its size. Here is a medium sized sled which is perhaps a more useful size and configuration. The large sled will handle items 20" from front to back and 2 1/2" thick, while the medium sled is limited to 13" and 2" respectively. The fences on both jigs were made from some very old, hard, and stable Southern Yellow Pine.

For narrow stock a small sled with only a rear fence is very useful. This sled requires that you do not push it completely through the blade, and for repetitive cuts, a stop block is clamped to the fence to limit its forward movement. The T-track in the fence allows sliding stops and various hold-downs, some of which are used with other jigs.

When using a sled the stock to be cut is held down and against the fence closest to the operator. If the stock is large enough it can be held by hand or with a Quick-Grip mini bar clamp. But there are times when cutting small items or very thin stock that hold downs are required to use the sled safely. I made my hold downs from some scrap maple, 3/8" all-thread, and T-nuts which were epoxied into the maple block and to the end of the all-thread with J-B Weld metal epoxy. The face of the bottom T-nut is crowned and polished so it won't mark the wood. These hold downs are also useful when cutting a large panel with the sled.

A sled with a fence which pivots in the center is used when I need to crosscut a piece of wood at an angle. I used this a great deal recently to make some laminated wooden planes. Scrap MDF strips are used to protect the fence when the blade cuts through the stock. When I was making the wooden planes, I made a small wedge jig to cut blanks for the cutter iron wedges. Double faced carpet tape is used to hold the blank to the jig while making the cut.

This pivot sled turns out to be very useful for cutting material such as picture frame molding which requires a left and right miter cut with the stock on its back. I added a thick support block to the rear of the fence and made a removable fence face with T-track which is used for 45 degree miter cuts. I set the angles accurately using some old plastic drafting triangles. These get used a lot in my shop to set up various jigs.

A sliding panel sled was built to facilitate cutting large panels. It has two runners; one rides in the right miter gauge slot, and the other on the right side of the table board. With this sled I can easily cut panels up to 32" wide and about 7' in length. There is a fixed (non-sliding) panel on the left side of the table to support the cut-off. When working with large panels I use my out feed table and some simple supports. When I need additional support on the left side of the table I put a thin waxed strip of MDF on a sawhorse. Another support with roller bearings helps support large panels to the rear of the saw.

When making rabbet or end cuts on furniture panels, I clamp them to a plywood panel jig which rides against the fence and makes the operation safer and more accurate.

Many years ago I made a tenon jig to assist in building kitchen cabinets which used mortise and tenon joints in the construction of the face frames. The jig rides on a single runner and the carrier moves in or out to allow accurate cheek cuts on tenons of any thickness. The stock to be cut is held in place with an eye-bolt passing through a square nut which slides laterally in a square channel in the U-shaped clamp mechanism. This clamp frame has enough spring to it to allow it to stay in place when moved up or down on the carrier.

I recently made a new jig to replace an old one which assists in the production of box joints, sometimes called finger joints. The jig uses a single runner, a steel miter gauge bar with spring loaded ball bearings to keep positive alignment to the miter gauge slot. The base of the jig is sort of a universal carrier and can be used for different operations on my table saw or router table. A removable fence is attached to the front of the base for box joints of different size or depth.

A shop made depth gauge is used to set depth of cut. The scale is a piece of an old aluminum forms ruler. At zero depth the pointer would be on the 4" mark, and the photo shows a depth setting of exactly 1/2".

I use a dial indicator to check trunnion alignment, blade runout, and fence alignment to the miter gauge slots. The carrier for the dial indicator is a piece of MDF with a miter gauge bar containing spring loaded ball bearings to keep the bar aligned with the slot. A small piece of steel screwed to the top of the MDF allows the magnetic base of the dial indicator to be used.

Several table saw safety aids can be found on the Shop Safety page.

I have several saw blades and I clean the pitch off from time to time with Rockler pitch and gum remover and a brass wire brush. Really bad ones get sprayed with Heavy Duty Easy Off oven cleaner. The bottom of a 5-gallon paint container is just right for soaking 10" saw blades.

When I take a blade in to be sharpened, I attach it to a shop made blade carrier with my name and telephone number on it. I also print my name on the blade with a marking pen for extra measure.

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