Introduction: A Precise Table Saw From an Electric Hand Saw

Picture of A Precise Table Saw From an Electric Hand Saw

This photo is from 1972.  It shows me using a table saw I made with an electric handsaw, also known as a circular saw. 

Some will say, "Why bother?" since you can now buy an inexpensive table saw for the same amount of money.  True, but the adaptation shown here allows the user to remove the saw  from the table at any time and rip panels or frame houses, and then return the saw to its table precisely aligned and ready to do close fitting work.  You cannot enjoy that dual purpose usage with an inexpensive commercial table saw.

This Instructable differs from similar Instructables because it offers that precise mechanism for automatically and exactly aligning the saw each time it is returned to its table.  Details of this are in Step 16.

If you want yet another alternative for making your circular saw an accurate woodworking machine, see my earlier Instructable Get More from Your Circular Saw. Also, after 40 years I built another conversion of an electric handsaw to a table saw. You can see it here.

Step 1: Making the Miter Gauge

Picture of Making the Miter Gauge

This is a good time to decide on the miter gauge you will use with your saw, and make or buy it.  When I made this table saw conversion, I purchased a commercial miter gauge.  The steps that follow will show you how to make a good miter gauge yourself. 

If you choose to make your own, begin with a straight steel bar.  The one shown is 1/4 x 3/4 inch and about a dozen inches long.  It is what I had at the time.  I would recommend a bar of 3/8 x 3/4 inch steel about 18 inches long, but 1/4 x 3/4 inch may be easier to find and works well, too.  Round the edges at the ends a little with a grinder so the miter gauge moves more freely in the slots.  The photos in this step and the next steps are from my previous Instructable titled Bench Saw Table for a Lathe.

Step 2: Drill Holes

Picture of Drill Holes

Drill two holes for 1/4 x 2 inch screws.  Make the holes 2 1/2 inches apart at the center.  Countersink for the bevel heads.

Step 3: Attach the Bolts

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Use lock-washers and nuts to secure the bolts in place.

Step 4: The Rest of the Miter Gauge

Picture of The Rest of the Miter Gauge

Cut a disc from 3/4 inch plywood that has a radius of 2 7/16 inches.  I turned it on my lathe, but a bandsaw or jigsaw will also do the job.  Slice away nearly half of the disc, but leave the center.  Drill a 1/4 inch hole on center.  Countersink the hole for the nut and washer.  Glue and/or screw a face piece onto the disc.  Glue on some fine sandpaper, if desired, to prevent work slippage on the face of the miter gauge.

Step 5: Finish the Miter Gauge

Picture of Finish the Miter Gauge

Assemble the miter gauge.  Make a piece of 1/8 inch strap iron to fit as shown in the photo.  Use a self-locking nut (with nylon insert) at the center pivot.  Leave it just loose enough that the miter gauge can be adjusted easily.  Place a wing-nut on the other bolt.  Instructions for adjustment of the miter gauge will be given in a later step.

Step 6: Table Top

Picture of Table Top

Now make the top for the saw table.  I used 3/4 inch A-D fir plywood.  A piece 24 x 36 inches is about right. (I no longer have the table saw I made, so I am using some images I made with Google Sketch-Up.) 

Step 7: Opening for the Blade

Picture of Opening for the Blade

You need more table in front of the blade than behind the blade.  Cut an opening for the blade to come up through the table, but leave enough table behind the blade for clamping the rip fence and for a saw base. 

Notice that the opening has a bevel on the left side.  That is to accommodate the blade's position when the saw is set to rip a 45 degree bevel.  Keep the blade opening as small as possible so scrap pieces do not fall down into it. 

This design sacrifices 3/4 inch of cutting depth due to the thickness of the plywood table.  Most of the time you will be cutting materials no thicker than 3/4 inch, so less than maximum cutting depth is not a problem.  When I had to cut a 2 x 4 (1 5/8 x 3 5/8 inches), I simply turned it over after the first cut and made a second cut.  It would be possible to mount the saw below a piece of steel plate.  The details on that would require quite a few more frames in this Instructable and will not be covered here.

Step 8: Miter Gauge Slots

Picture of Miter Gauge Slots

You need to cut two slots for your miter gauge.  They should be equidistant from the upright blade on both sides of it.  The slots should fit the bar of steel you use for your miter gauge so that it slides easily, but without looseness.  The two slots must be exactly parallel to one another.  

If you can borrow a friend's table saw, cutting slots for the miter gauge is easier, especially if he owns a dado blade attachment.  An alternative method is shown in the next steps.

Step 9: Cutting the Slots

Picture of Cutting the Slots

Set the saw's cutting depth to the thickness of your miter gauge's steel bar.  Clamp a straight edge across the saw table.  Here I used a framing square.  Accuracy will be improved if you can leave the square undisturbed while cutting both slots.  This involves using some shims.  See the next step.  (The photo is from an earlier Instructable I did titled Bench Saw Table for a Wood Lathe.)

Step 10: Making a Shim

Picture of Making a Shim

The first shim needs to be the width of the steel bar on the miter gauge minus the thickness of the blade.  Notice the red line.  It aligns the left side of the bar with the left side of the saw blade's teeth.  The temporary fence shown is clamped to the saw base so that the face nearer the blade's teeth aligns with the right side of the steel bar.  The green arrow indicates the width of the shim needed. 

Remove the steel bar. Turn the saw right side up and rip your shim from a straight piece of wood while holding the fence against the wood.  Make the shim as long as your saw table is deep.

Step 11: Cutting a Miter Slot

Picture of Cutting a Miter Slot

The shim from the previous step needs to be rather precise.  Make a test slot on some scrap wood before cutting on your saw table. 

Make one cut with the base of the circular saw riding against the straightedge (first graphic).  Then make a second cut with the shim against the straightedge and the saw riding against the shim (second graphic--The brown piece is the shim.  Note the second cut to the left of the first cut.  Thanks to Google Warehouse for the image of the circular saw.  The image happens to show a left-hand drive saw, although most home circular saws are right-hand drive.).  Make some freehand cuts to remove as much of the waste material between the two cuts as possible.  Make the bottom of the slot smooth with a chisel or a rasp.  Check to see how the steel bar from the miter gauge fits in the slot.  Rub some paraffin in the slot to make the miter gauge slide more easily.

If the shim produces a test slot that is a little too narrow, cover one edge of the shim with a layer or two of black electrical tape and make another pass with the saw.  If the test slot is a little too large, sand or plane the shim to narrow it a little.

Step 12: Make a Larger Shim

Picture of Make a Larger Shim

The second slot should be at least 12 inches off to the side of the first slot.  You can make your own shim to offset the slot, or you can buy something that is reasonably certain to have parallel edges, like a piece of shelving.  After the first cut for the slot has been made, use the smaller shim to cut the outer edge of the second slot, just as you did on the first slot.  This allows you to leave the square undisturbed and gives a greater probability both slots will be exactly parallel to one another.  (Note that this drawing is not to scale.  The width of the shim (shown in shades of brown) in this graphic would be much greater than shown so that the second set of cuts would be much farther away from the first set.)

Step 13: Mounting Holes

Picture of Mounting Holes

I used two 1/4 inch bevel head screws to mount my saw.  Countersink the heads so they are just below the surface of the saw table's top surface.  Many circular saws will already come with two holes in the base.  If your saw does not have these holes, you can drill your own mounting holes.  Just be careful that the ends of the screws do not obstruct anything essential.  Wing-nuts and lock-washers are adequate for securing the saw under the table. 

Step 14: Temporarily Mount the Saw

Picture of Temporarily Mount the Saw

Once the mounting holes for the saw have been drilled, mount the saw under the table and do some preliminary alignment of the blade to make it parallel with the miter slots.  This is a necessary preparation for what needs to be done in Step 16.  The miter gauge will be a key part of this preliminary alignment.  Do not worry that there are no markings on the miter gauge as there are on a protractor, nor any positive stops.  Set the miter gauge adjustments with a square.  Later, if you need to cut at an angle, set the miter gauge with  a "T" bevel angle finder.

Step 15: Preliminary Alignment

Picture of Preliminary Alignment

When checking the saw for alignment, place a square against the miter gauge and slide the other leg of the square against the saw blade.  (The photo is from my earlier Instructable titled Bench Saw Table for a Lathe.)

Step 16: Built-in Micrometer-like Precision

Picture of Built-in Micrometer-like Precision

In the previous step you aligned the saw so it is fairly well as it should be, but it still needs some tweaking. 

Plans for saw conversions similar to this one were frequent in how-to magazines from the 1950's and 1960's.  But, they all lacked a very useful feature, which was a positive way to align the saw and keep it aligned, even if it had to be removed for ripping a panel or otherwise being used as a hand circular saw. 

I solved that problem with two 3/4 x 3/4 inch blocks mounted under the table at one side of the saw's base plate.  The blocks are about 2 inches long and are glued or screwed to the underside of the table.  A tightly fitting machine screw passes through a hole in each block and the tip rests on the edge of the saw's base at the front and the back of the saw's base. (See the two additional photos with this step.)  Turning one of these screws in or out part of a turn aligns the saw with micrometer-like precision so the blade is exactly parallel to the miter gauge slots.  You know the saw is aligned when the rear of the blade does not kick up chips, splinters, and sawdust while you are ripping a board.  When I needed my saw for another job, I could remove the mounting bolts and take the saw with me in just seconds.  Later I could attach it loosely with its mounting bolts, slide the base against the tips of the machine screws, and finish tightening the mounting bolts.  The saw was perfectly aligned again.   (I demonstrated this basic feature in another application.  See my Instructable titled Radial Saw Table Alignment--An Easier Way.)

Step 17: Add a Base

Picture of Add a Base

The base for the table adds strength and rigidity to the table, especially since it has been  weakened by the two miter gauge slots.  The base also provides a housing for the circular saw and keeps your hands away from it.  The front is not fully open because extra support for the saw table is needed across the front.  The opening makes the saw accessible for adjustments and changing or removal of the blade.  A power switch can be mounted on the front or the side near the front.  You may also want to make an opening at the rear of the base for better access to the adjustment for cutting depth.

I added legs under the base.  I also added 2 x 2 inch pieces under the front and back of the saw table to extend off to the right so I could saw pieces up to four feet wide.  See the photo in the Introduction.

Step 18: Setting the Rip Fence

Picture of Setting the Rip Fence

Use a square against the face of the miter gauge to place and align the rip fence.  The miter gauge can be inserted backwards to gain extra clearance with the blade, if necessary.  

I used a piece cut from the end of a sheet of plywood for my rip fence and clamped it to the front and back of the saw table with "C" clamps.  ("G" cramps in the UK)  My rip fence was about 4 inches wide.  The factory edge on a sheet of plywood is very straight and true.  In the photo some commonly available shelving serves as a rip fence. 

Step 19: Safety Concerns

Picture of Safety Concerns

Always set the saw's cutting depth so the teeth just barely come through the top surface of the piece being cut.  (See the photo.)  The cut will be smoother and the piece being cut hides most of the blade to guard the user against damage in the event of an accident..  If there is an accident, you will have a cut you can heal with a common adhesive strip bandage, not a wound that goes down into bone.

Do not wear loose clothing and tuck long hair into your collar.  You do not want these to become caught in the spinning blade.

Stand so you are well-balanced and not leaning on something for support. 

I use pusher sticks a lot.  The object is to keep my hands and fingers at least six inches away from a spinning blade at all times.  Do not rely on blade guards alone.  When extra safety devices are available, people take extra risks.  That has been documented in studies.

A switch easy to reach at the front of the saw is also good to have, especially since you will need to tie the saw's switch in the "on" position for  use.

Keep the saw properly aligned so the blade does not bind and throw work or pull you into the blade.  Saw only dimensional lumber on this saw--no limbs for firewood.

If you are using a carbide tipped blade, stand to one side of the blade.  Although not common, I have heard firsthand stories of a tooth thrown by one of these blades.  Avoid sawing wood with a lot of sap or pitch in it to avoid the blade binding in the wood.

Wear approved eye protection when using the saw and be ever vigilant. 

Disconnect the power whenever making adjustments to the saw, especially under the saw table.

Step 20: What Will It Do?

Picture of What Will It Do?

The most intricate project I built with my circular saw converted to a table saw was a Parsons table, actually four of them from one 4 x 8 sheet of 1/2 inch oak veneer plywood. Attached is a black & white photo of one of the four. I also recreated the design in Google Sketch-Up and edited it in MS Paint. The short straight black lines are to indicate the direction of the grain in the plywood. The inset at the lower left shows the detail for the joints where the sides met the top and where the legs met one another. A thin piece of wood joined the pieces in the kerf cut into each 45 degree bevel. The pieces all fit as tightly as the drawing of the table would lead you to believe. The tables were about 20 x 20 x 20 inches.

Mounting a hand circular saw adds accuracy and versatility to a basic tool. It also provides the home woodworker on a budget with a good alternative to buying a table saw. Had I not been able to buy a radial arm saw a few years after making my table saw conversion, I would still be using it. (My wife said, "You may have a radial arm saw, but you are not going to have two saws." I had to sell my circular saw and saw table. A couple of years later her parents did give me another circular saw.)


electricaldave (author)2014-07-18

Absolutely brilliant, I can't wait to make my own. Great Instructable pal!

Phil B (author)electricaldave2014-07-18

Thank you. Feel free to make changes based on what you have available. Cutting the miter gauge slots is easier if you can do that part on a friend's commercial table saw or radial arm saw.

Also, sometimes I am cutting a short piece off with a crosscut. I usually cut it to within a whisker and then retract the miter gauge so I can break of the waste rather than risk that it might fall through the table into the blade housing where it might bind.

padbravo (author)2014-04-02

That is right... this is a GREAT instructable... tks for the drawings, I know that U made a big time slot to make it...

I already made some sort of this idea... but, lacks the precision that you added... so, I will use your ideas to improve mine setup...

Tks for this instructable!

Phil B (author)padbravo2014-04-02

I made an updated version of this saw recently. I think it is linked above. A couple of times I went back and added tweaks for more accuracy and ease of use. You can always tweak yours to improve it as time goes on.

graham641 (author)2014-02-18

I nice example of clever engineering.

Phil B (author)graham6412014-02-18

Thank you. I had wanted a table saw for a long time and thought about how to solve different problems. My wife made me get rid of this saw more than 40 years ago when she said it was OK to buy a radial arm saw. I recently decided I wanted to make an improved version of the saw presented here. I did in this Instructable. You might like it, too. Thanks for looking and for commenting.

cjs1298 (author)2013-07-09

Maybe a jigsaw or reciprocating saw could be used to make a Band or scroll saw.

Phil B (author)cjs12982013-07-09

I tried this once with a saber saw. Maybe the saw was not high quality, but the blade had too much undesired free movement and I did not get a precise cut.

JohnnyMorales (author)2013-05-03

I love this instructable, because I had the same idea years ago, and have all the materials waiting, but because I never got around to making a detailed plan on how to construct the table I haven't done it.

Now I can do it! Thanks

Phil B (author)JohnnyMorales2013-05-03

Thank you for commenting. Please post a photo of your project when finished and let us know how it works for you.

Phil B (author)2013-04-12

I remember R J DeChristoforo very well from his articles in how-to magazines. There are a number of Instructables people wrote to show their way of making a saw table for a circular saw. I think mine has an advantage in the area of precision. The blocks with screws at the saw base allow precise alignment, even after quick removal and replacement of the saw for cutting rafters or ripping panels. Using a framing square and a miter gauge to set the rip fence has always worked very well, even if it may seem a little crude. If you want to try a combo arrangement, you might want to take a look at Steliart's world's smallest workshop.

During the last 40 years I have been using a radial arm saw most of the time. I did enjoy my table saw conversion and am working on a second one. The easiest way to make one of these is simply to hang a circular saw inverted under a piece of 3/4 inch plywood. But, this time I am hanging it under 1/4 inch steel, which complicates a number of things. I am nearly finished and may make an Instructable from it.

I make jigs for just about everything and most of them work quite well. Some are my copy of very traditional jigs. Some are special needs items I conceived. Some of them became Instructables in their own right.

Thank you for looking and for commenting.

stampz2 (author)2013-04-12

Thanks for the awesome instructable. I want to make a saw like this, only adding spaces for a router, jig saw, and sander. I saw a similar type one in a R. J. DeCristoforer book. Have you tried using any jigs for the circular saw and router and if so how good did they work? Keep up the great instructables. Thanks

Ondra78 (author)2011-11-29

Thanks for the project. I make a similar saw.
I add photo of machine.

Phil B (author)Ondra782012-11-09

You are welcome. I would like to see photos of your machine.

shazni (author)2011-12-16

please may i know how to do a opening with a miter cut in the middle of a board?
do you like do a plunge miter cut like a pocket cut?
i'm a new woodwork hobbyist and would like a bit of help please.

Phil B (author)shazni2012-11-09

I am sorry, but I missed your comment until now. I recently did this Instructable on one way to make a miter cut across 3/4 inch stock. It might work for what you want to do.

lottfamily (author)2010-12-03

You and "your followers" spend a lot of time in these comments speaking lowly of Norm Abram (I really wanted to use stronger wording but I am trying to be polite). None of you have obviously spent much time at all checking out his total body of work. He truly is a master carpenter. When he began to do NYW the purpose of that particular show was to show and instruct building with power tools. If you spend some time reading some of his written work and watching early episodes of both NYW and TOH, you will see that his skill and knowledge is really top notch.

As far as an "expensive shop" vs an "inexpensive shop" I do finish carpentry and cabinet installation for a living and have seen without fail that the better carpenters get more jobs=make more money=set themselves up better. While the less skilled carpenters...well you get the idea. If I couldn't afford a table saw at today's prices for that particular tool then I am in the wrong business.

Phil B (author)lottfamily2010-12-03

I do not doubt at all that Norm Abram is both very knowledgeable and very skilled. I never implied he is anything but both. He also consistently uses expensive tools made by his sponsors that many of his viewers probably will never be able to afford. If those viewers were in the business as you are, they could struggle to provide themselves with those tools and justify it on the basis of needing to compete with others who own those tools and can guarantee professional results. As Norm's programs go at the present, they hold an impossible carrot on a stick in front of handy guys who cannot afford all of the wonderful tools. I have seen other woodworking programs that also seek to teach, but are not afraid of showing the viewer how to make jigs and accessories at home. I do not remember seeing that from Norm, but I also do not see all of his programs and do not have his books. The discussion about Norm Abram and his tools is not based on anything in the body of my Instructable, but is in response to some comments. My aim was to provide a way to a very accurate tool for the home user built from something that is probably already in his or her toolkit.

If you have been in the business for years, you have surely learned some useful things. Please consider publishing some Instructables soon.

claudg1950 (author)Phil B2012-05-10

I concur. The years I lived in Canada I consistently watched the NYW, all the time realizing that as an amateur, it was not only a matter of affordability of all those sophisticated tools flaunted by Norm, but also making sense of the expenditure, for a hobbyist who only makes a few mortises and tenons every year, so to speak.
My sympaties went to other shows --such as New American Woodshop or Bob Rosendahl´s exploits with a router-- but above all, to The Woodrights Shop, which demonstrates how you can do a lot of excellent AMATEUR work using pre-electric tools only.
On another note: your Ibles are GREAT. Thanks a lot.
I might be wrong, but I vaguely remember reading on an old Popular Magazine instructions on how to convert a hand circular saw into a radial saw of sorts, very similar to the excellent idea you advance here.

Phil B (author)claudg19502012-05-10

Thank you for your comment. I was raised in Iowa here in the US. A neighbor had a Montgomery Ward tool that allowed mounting a circular saw so that it functioned as a radial arm saw. I even used it once to cut something and it worked pretty well. There was also a radial arm saw built around an old washing machine electric motor. You bought it as a kit from AMT, I think. I do not remember an article in Popular Mechanics about making a radial arm saw attachment from your own circular saw. It could well be there was one.

I am glad you find something useful in my Instructables. I enjoy publishing them.

Back in the 1990s I listened to a lot of shortwave radio and very much appreciated RCI's broadcasts. I always wanted to thank Canadian taxpayers for helping to make those broadcasts available.

noesc (author)Phil B2010-12-19

This is how you handle trolls and "My dad is better then your dad" comments.
It even takes care of comments with a good point, but is so far off topic it could be its own instructable.

Thank you!

(And I will keep your instructable close at hearth for future needs. It's awesome!)

kulin62 (author)2010-03-08

I have a Bosch GKS 190 Professional circular saw (1400W, 4.1 Kgs.) and was looking for ideas to convert it to a table saw. And I found this excellent i'ble. Thank you Phil.

My saw has the blade guard. Since you have mentioned in the Step 7 to keep the opening as small as possible to prevent scrap bits of woods going under, I assume that the slot in the saw table will not be wide enough to accommodate the guard to come up. is this correct?

My saw base does not have any holes, but surprisingly has four half-a-mm-deep stampings of 5/8 th inch dia. Probably they envisaged the conversion. But they have riveted and fused the base plate with the main body. So I have to figure out how to drill holes now.  I am contemplating using all the four holes for mounting along with the blocks with screws for alignment as in step 16. Any particular disadvantages of four mounts besides time taken to remove the saw?

While googling for the conversion ideas, I read somewhere about someone having a problem of the sawdust spewing up the table to the face. Phil, did you have any such problems? My saw has a slot for the sawdust to come out and attaching the dust extraction unit. 

I am also contemplating having 2 slots (like the ones for mitre guage) one each near the front and back of the table running perpendicular to the mitre slots, have two more steel flats and attach a straight edge to them to act as a sliding rip fence. Any suggestions or comments, Phil?

Thanks again for the wonderful i'ble.

Phil B (author)kulin622010-03-08

Thank you for your comment. 

Concerning the saw guard, I actually removed it from my saw.  i did not want to mention that in the body of the Instructable because several people would comment on nothing else and criticize me severely.  But, when I sawed smaller pieces, the pressure from the blade guard broke them or pushed them out of position so I did not get accurate cuts.  The best saw guard I know is to set the blade height so that only a tiny bit of the teeth stand up above the top surface of the piece being cut. 

If you want to avoid drilling holes in your saw base, see the solution I proposed below in my response to lenny25.  If you do drill holes, four will work.  Removing the saw from the conversion table will take longer to undo more screws.

I did not have problems with sawdust blowing into my face.  A dust extraction device, especially with a suction hose could be a big help. 

Some use rails at the front and back of the saw table for a sliding rip fence.  Slots might work.  You might still want to check the alignment with a tape measure before sawing.  I really liked placing a framing square against the miter gauge set to 90 degrees and then sliding a straightedge guide against the other leg of the square.  It was always very accurate as long as I did not bump anything while clamping the straightedge down.  It was fairly quick to set, low-tech, and very accurate.

glorybe (author)Phil B2010-07-24

If you set the blade height such that the teeth barely break through the material you will cause excess heat build up in the blade. That dulls blades and in the worst case can cause a carbide tip to come flying back at you. Alertness and concentration can prevent most accidents. Personality also plays a huge role. I knew one pro who constantly needed medical help from injuries. He was skilled and intelligent but had a troubled personality. Injuries broke his moods up and he was never aware but it was obvious that he wanted the injuries he received. I worked with the fellow for seven years and he needed the emergency room at least twice every year from severe wounds received on the job.

Broom (author)glorybe2010-09-08

i did not want to mention that in the body of the Instructable because several people would comment on nothing else and criticize me severely.

Bwahahaha! Isn't that the truth? "My way is the ONLY way!"

Thank you for what appears to be one of the the only instructables on how to make a miter gauge. I'm using it now, although I will probably embed a protractor on its face.

Phil B (author)Broom2010-09-09

Thank you for your comment. Often there is way to much testosterone in the comments people make on Instructables posted by others. Several times people have made comments on my Instructables in which they told me I was all wrong. Sometimes another person with some expertise in the area came to my defense. A cautious question to the author would be better than a strong black & white statement any day.

I saw on your member page that you chose an Instructable by Steliart as one of your favorites. He has another Instructable in which he built a miter gauge with a protractor on its face. He said it worked out quite well.

I have seen a few plans for a miter gauge, mostly in old copies of Popular Mechanics, etc. But, most of these were too crude and too simplified to do a good job. What I presented is based on improvements to a previous attempt or two, and it works very well.

Broom (author)Phil B2010-09-09

Yep, and I actually saw a comment on that was basically, "Why don't you just buy one at a store?"...!

Thanks for the reference to Steliart's version. I found it shortly after posting here, and am thinking about that.

Phil B (author)Broom2010-09-09

The people who respond with, "Why don't you just buy one?" are the people you do not invite to go hunting with you. They would be saying, "You can get meat cheaper than this at a grocery store." Or, rather than fall in love, they would say, love releases endorphins. I can get the same feeling if I just eat chocolate at home and it will be a lot cheaper."

Broom (author)Phil B2010-09-09

Sure, but I'm amazed they're even on this site!

Phil B (author)Broom2010-09-09

I suppose they join this site hoping to get useful ideas from others and also feel an entitlement to criticize. I want to preface what comes next by saying your comments have been very kind. Yet, I did notice you have not published any Instructables. Having said that, I must also say the folks who have given me a bad time are usually people who have not published any Instructables. Making comments on other people's efforts looks a lot different after you have put yourself out in the open for public scrutiny.

Cooldeal (author)Phil B2011-07-07

I don't think that it matters one bit whatsoever if someone does a thousand instructables like you Phil B Lutheran pastor or if they did NONE. You are using that as some kind of leverage for yourself against someone else and of course you win all the prizes and get your picture on the front page. But you're not fair to others when they see something in your safety designs and offer you suggestions. You just ask how many instructables they've posted. Because that's what y ou have going for yourself over them. They may have many more and much more clever ideas of things than you and you can't judge their comments by the number they posted or not posted.

I see so much vanity in you that I comment on just your safety issues because they are absolutely dangerous. SOME OF THEM, not all of them. I do like most of your instructables and use or modify it to my own adaptations.

Some of them are quite dangerous and I am not talking about this one although I do wish you would emphasize more caution to the potential safety of others. Product liability these days is a huge issue designed around safety and PROPER use of power equipment. Yeah I could hang a circular saw from trees with rope and tape the switch on and cut wood like that if it works. But who are we to judge what is safe or not by how many people posted instructables or not? Because I care about the safety of others I don't care what kind of scrutiny I get. If they delete my account I can get a hundred others. I am doing what is right and that is caring about others' fingers or limbs.
One man lost two fingers on a power tool adaptation and if he could be warned he said he'd pay all he had in the world to have kept his fingers from heeding a warning about doing modifications unintended by the designer of the safety of the equipment.
All of your other ideas and designs are really quite helpful and valuable and fun to read and learn. But I can't stop thinking of the one persone who follows a dangerous instructable and gets hurt. I have worked in an incredible workshop facility that is probably one of the best in the United States for over 28 years and I've seen it all and made it all. I am a professional. Junk yard rigging is for the back woods of some swamp tribe in another country. It pays to be safe and if not then send me one of your fingers. No not that one. I don't want you hurt and if it n ever happens then fine but you're taking chances with some of these modified power tool conversions.

pfred2 (author)Phil B2011-02-23

You're all wrong! hehe But seriously I've slapped circular saws using cleats to the bottom of scrap pieces of plywood and it works great.

The only beef I have with your setup is its too elaborate. Whenever I've been pressed to use this technique its always been with saw horses, or barrels, pails, milk crates are a classic with this rig too. With the old wooden milk crates just run the saw up from the bottom and you're done! They even had convenient ready made carry handles those did.

But I'm not that should criticize elaboration:

As I've obviously gone to some lengths myself on this front.

Phil B (author)glorybe2010-07-24

I am a Lutheran pastor by day and a writer of Instructables/ home workshop guy by night. We have had to be exposed to some social sciences things related to counseling and personality, etc. You are right about accident prone personalities. Such people do exist. The suggestion about blade height comes from a workshop article long ago in Popular Science magazine. That article was from before carbide tipped blades. Unless the wood was binding or filled with sap, I have not seen evidence of heating, but I make a cut or two and then move on to the next operation, usually with another tool. I have heard of a carbide tipped blade throwing a tooth and always try to stand to one side of the blade. Thank you for your interest and time related to this Instructable.

Broom (author)Phil B2010-09-08

i did not want to mention that in the body of the Instructable because several people would comment on nothing else and criticize me severely.

Bwahahaha! Isn't that the truth? "My way is the ONLY way!"

Thank you for what appears to be the only instructable on how to make a miter gauge. I'm using it now, although I will probably embed a protractor on its face.

egbertfitzwilly (author)Phil B2010-04-29

Thank you for this instructable. I have been shopping for a commercial table mount for a while now but can't find anything.

Also I have published a couple myself, I feel your pain about the ability of some readers to obsess on petty incidental risks. I think the 'flag' button on comments needs a couple more entries like 'Already asked and answered' or perhaps "What a marooon...."

Phil B (author)egbertfitzwilly2010-04-29

Thank you for your comment.  I have not seen a commercial table for an electric circular saw in a long while.  Those I have seen did not seem strong enough or accurate enough.  I was very well pleased with what I described in this Instructable.

I once made one of these for a friend in which only 1/4 inch of blade cutting depth was lost.  The saw was hung from a piece of 1/4 inch steel.  1/4 inch Masonite butted up against it from the left and the right sides.  The Masonite was the top of the saw table.  I left gaps between pieces of Masonite to serve as miter gauge slots.  He was pleased. 

kulin62 (author)Phil B2010-03-09

Phil, thank you very much for all the comments and guidance. Thanks for the effort. I will post pictures of the saw table when I am done. With best wishes and blessings, Kulin

Phil B (author)kulin622010-03-10

Thank you.  I want to make one more comment.  Only rarely did I tilt the saw blade.  Most cuts were made with the blade vertical.  To keep small pieces from falling down into the table slot for the blade, it would be possible to inlet or rabbet 1/8 inch deep around the opening for the blade and make a Masonite insert that covers the opening with only a narrow slot for the blade.  Make another for the blade when laid over at 45 degrees.  But, it was also very rare when a small piece could fall into the opening.  More often the waste piece cut off was several inches long and in no danger of falling down into the opening.  It would also be very easy to cut most of the way through a piece, but leave a  small splinter uncut, stop the saw, and break the splinter by hand.  That would keep a small piece from falling down into the opening.

kulin62 (author)Phil B2010-03-11

Thank you Phil for the comments and suggestion. This idea had come to my mind and I was going to attempt it after assembling the table. I plan to work on 1/4 inch thick pine lumber a lot and hence the risk of something falling down. I will definitely make a Masonite insert for the slot. Thank you again for all the effort. With best wishes and blessings. Kulin

AngryRedhead (author)2010-01-04
This is amazing and wonderful, and it's so much better to have multipurpose tools than tons of single purpose tools.  Very nice!
Phil B (author)AngryRedhead2010-01-04

Thank you.  I also get a deep satisfaction from knowing I did as well as the guy with a shop full of expensive tools, but with something I adapted at far less cost.  Most people have a basic circular saw, anyway.  Put a router and a hand drill or small drill press with this and you have enough tools to build some nice furniture.

AngryRedhead (author)Phil B2010-01-04
I think you should write a letter to New Yankee Workshop about this.  ;-)
Phil B (author)AngryRedhead2010-01-04

Norm Abramson makes me chuckle.  Delta, Porter-Cable, and other tool manufacturers load him up with things the rest of us may never even see, let alone own and use.  Then he makes it look as if we all have access to those things.  Thank you for the suggestion, though.  Maybe he should do a series on tool adaptations for people with limited budgets.

PS  Check out some of the other things I have adapted or conjured on the cheap.

Carbon arc torch for a welder

Inexpensive welding hood for guests who want to watch
Torque wrench for a bicycle mechanic
Cone wrench for a bicycle
Automobile radiator pressure tester
Home postal scale from old CDs
Metal cut off saw from an angle head grinder
Banquet table mover for one person

iamchrismoran (author)Phil B2010-01-07

 yeah, I thought yankee and thrifty went hand in hand. NYW isn't for the light walleted.... but the fancy minded. I fancy someday I'll pull some of those projects off.

THIS project however:
I'll need to read through it a few more times to see how it'll apply to my circular saw, but I'm so happy to see this posted. I have had this precise project want in mind for as long as I realized that I'd likely want to spend more on a table saw than I should. I have a bandsaw that I'm not positive I have set up right, since it doesn't seem give perfectly straight vertical cuts and repurposing the circ saw would be an interesting option.

Phil B (author)iamchrismoran2010-01-07

You have a good observation about 'yankee' and 'thrifty.'  Delta-Rockwell, Kreg, and Porter-Cable want to showcase their tools and New Yankee Workshop makes a convenient vehicle, whether us folks can afford them or not. 

I have done table saw conversions on three or four circular saw, most of them for other people.  All of the saws were different from one another.  Still, each of them worked well.  Most of what I showed in this Instructable is pretty intuitive, but with a few details that make the final outcome work very well.  There are even other ways to do many of the steps, but I tried to show methods that pretty much guarantee a good outcome for anyone.

glorybe (author)Phil B2010-09-27

I had a Porter Cable jig saw (industrial) and I could zip through 3/8 boiler plate on pieces 8 feet long. That jig saw had really serious power and saved me a ton of work. If one lacks a torch cutting system that little saw is a fabulous way to make long cuts in steel. In a couple of minutes I could run through an 8 ft. cut and chuck the piece in a mill to give the accurate, final cut.

glorybe (author)Phil B2010-09-27

I spent a lot more time than I liked using a cut off saw on brass and aluminum. Frankly I hate composite blades. Our local rental shop lost a mechanic when a concrete saw blade exploded and sent a shard into his crotch. The bleeding could not be stopped in time to save his life. The poor guy just started the saw to make sure it was running right for the next customer and it was all over for him. After that any time I spent around any type of composite blade made me leery.
Unfortunately I had to do an awful lot of cutting of steel with a composite blade. And that saw was a high powered industrial unit so any error at all could trigger a really violent reaction.

static (author)Phil B2010-01-07

  Sometimes I think Norm could use lessons from Roy Underhill.

Phil B (author)static2010-01-07

Interesting observation.  I have not seen Roy in a long while.

I have tried your miter gauge design with some additions and with the use of some different material (that I had) and I can say it works good. You can see it in myinstructable.

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Bio: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying ... More »
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