Build a Workbench / Table Saw Outfeed Table

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Introduction: Build a Workbench / Table Saw Outfeed Table

You don’t have to use a table saw for long to realize the importance of having nice outfeed support when ripping longer material. Roller stands can help some, but they can be annoying to setup for different length boards and lighter weight ones have a tendency to tip over at exactly the wrong time. So to solve this problem and to replace a small workbench that has seen better days, I decided to build a large workbench which would provide outfeed support for boards up to 8’ long.

Since I’ll be building a second Roubo-style workbench for hand-tool work, I wanted this one to work well for assembling and finishing projects. This meant having a large, flat top that wouldn’t immediately soak up paint and glue. And in order to meet the outfeed support requirements, I wanted it to have adjustable feet so that the top could be leveled with my table saw. I also couldn’t pass up the opportunity for more storage, so I decided to include two large shelves. After a little design work in SketchUp, it was time to start building!

Step 1: Selecting the Lumber

The legs and frames for the shelves and top were built using six 2”x8”x8’ boards and one 2”x10”x8’ board. They certainly could have been built using 2”x4” lumber, but finding that many nice boards would be challenging and around here they don’t come in southern yellow pine.

Step 2: Milling the Lumber

I started by cutting the boards to rough length at the miter saw, and then I headed over to the jointer and joined one face and edge on the 2”x8” boards. Since the 2”x10” board was wider than my jointer, I joined an edge on it and ripped it in half first at the table saw.

Once I had joined a face and an edge on all the boards, I ran them through the thickness planer until they were approximately 1.25” thick. I then ripped them to their final width at the table saw and headed back to the miter saw to cut all the parts to final length.

Step 3: Assembling the Legs and Frames

I started assembling the legs first. This was just a matter of applying glue to one edge and then clamping the two pieces together to form an "L".

While the glue on the legs dried, I used a small pocket-hole guide to drill holes in the parts for the shelves and top.

I then used a pocket-hole clamp to hold the parts square to each other while I screwed them together. My goal here was to make sure the tops of all the frame pieces were flush so the shelves and top would lie flat.

To finish up with the frames, I predrilled countersunk holes where they would later attach to the legs.

Step 4: Adding the Shelf Tops

For the two shelf tops, I used 1/2” thick MDF. After cutting the pieces to size with my circular saw, I predrilled holes and attached them to the frame using 1-1/4” screws in the corners and middle. This was done so that the screws would be hidden once the legs were attached.

On one shelf I was able to simply use my random orbit sander to sand the MDF flush, but on the other one I had to use a flush-trim bit in my router. Once that was done, I rounded over the top edges a bit with my sander just to help prevent it from chipping out.

To finish the shelf tops I used two coats of boiled linseed oil since I liked the darker look that it gave (and I was trying to get rid of an old bottle). Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to help prevent drips from soaking in, so I added a thin coat of paste wax and then buffed it as much as I could

Step 5: Assembling the Table

Now that the shelves were finished, it was time to finally assemble the table. I started by marking on one leg where the top and each shelf would attach. I then transferred those marks to all the other legs.

Next, I spaced the rear two legs apart on the floor and, after clamping the frame in place, I screwed them together using 2” decking screws. I also went ahead and attached the middle leg and then repeated the process for each shelf. Note that I wanted to maximize the storage space, so I moved the bottom shelf down as far as possible and since the top will have roughly a 5” overhang, a toe-kick isn’t necessary.

In order to hide the adjustable feet, I drilled an access hole for each in the bottom shelf. This makes it possible to adjust the height with an Allen wrench once the workbench is complete. I then marked and predrilled where each foot would go and screwed them in place.

I attached the front legs the same way, making sure the marks lined up properly with the top and shelves. Then I attached the remaining three feet to the bottom shelf, and with a little help from Carrie it was finally time to flip it upright!

Step 6: Building the Table Top

I wanted the top to be pretty thick, but I also wanted to use T-molding to protect the edges and that meant a maximum thickness of 1.25” as that was the limit of my router bit. I also wanted to keep the top as smooth as possible and hide any screw holes to avoid snags when using it as an outfeed table.

To do this I started by clamping a 3/4” and 1/2” piece of MDF together so that I could cut both pieces at once. After positioning the 3/4" piece on the workbench frame, I then countersunk screws into it roughly every 10" and sanded all the holes flush with a sanding block.

With help from Carrie, we quickly spread glue on the top of the 3/4” piece of MDF. For this we used Titebond-III wood glue since it has a bit longer open time.

We then laid the 1/2” piece of MDF on top and once it was lined up nicely, I added some weights to the top and every clamp that I could find.

Step 7: Rounding the Corners

After letting the glue dry for a day or two, I came back and rounded the corners using a quart paint can as a guide. I then cut the corners using my jigsaw and sanded them smooth.

Step 8: Finishing the Top

Since I was waiting on a part for my router, I went ahead and started to finish the top. I first used two coats of boiled linseed oil and then applied three coats of wipe-on polyurethane. I debated using paste wax again, but I thought the polyurethane might last a little longer and seemed to be a little nicer in the end.

To knock down the sheen a bit and smooth it even further, I sanded it well with #0000 steel wool and then applied one final coat of boiled linseed oil.

Step 9: Routing the T-Molding Slot

The next step was to route a slot for the T-Molding using a slot-cutting bit for the T-molding. This can be pretty dusty, so I definitely recommend a nice respirator and good eye protection. To get the bit height correct, I clamped a scrap piece of 1/2" and 3/4" MDF together and did a few test passes until the slot was perfectly centered.

Step 10: Routing the Miter Gauge Grooves

I spent a while debating cutting the miter gauge grooves in my nice new table top. After convincing myself that it was the right thing to do, I transferred the locations to the top and widened them by 1/4”. This extra width makes it easier to align the bench top grooves to the grooves on the table saw, allows for room for the guide washer on the end of my miter gauge, and prevents any issues if either table gets bumped out of alignment a little.

I then clamped down two straight scrap pieces as guides making sure that they were square to the back edge and parallel to each other. Next, I routed the grooves in two passes to get the desired depth. I cut the grooves roughly 18" long to be able to accommodate a wide table saw sled in a future project. Once those were finished, I added some more boiled linseed oil and polyurethane to the grooves.

The last photo shows how the miter gauge interacts with the grooves in the outfeed table.

Step 11: Installing the T-Molding

The last step to completing the top was to install the T-molding. After doing some tests, I decided to use a little Titebond wood glue to secure the molding as it seemed to work the best. I used several small strips of painters tape to hold it in place while the glue dried.

To go around the corners, I cut 4-5 small notches in the molding which allowed it to bend nicely. Then it was just a matter of working around the entire edge a few feet at a time applying glue and then tape. When I reached the end, I used a pair of sharp scissors to cut the molding to its final length.

Once the glue dried, I came back with a sharp knife and finished up by cutting out notches in the T-molding for the miter gauge.

Step 12: Final Adjustments

Finally, all that was left to do was to move the table into position and adjust the leveling feet so that it was just a fraction under the height of the table saw’s top. I then double checked it in several places along the table to verify that there would be no problems when using the saw.

After all the work, I think it turned out pretty well, and I’m definitely looking forward to using it. The extra storage should help considerably as well!

I already have several small upgrades in mind for this bench, and I’ll be building a more traditional, Roubo-style workbench very soon. Be sure to check out our other Instructables and our website (AroundHomeDIY.com) as well. And if you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

Step 13: Parts and Materials

Step 14: Tools Used

Step 15: Plans

SketchUp and PDF plans for this project can be found at our website: AroundHomeDIY.com

Step 16: Upgrades

Over the last several months we've made several simple improvements to the Workbench / Assembly Table / Outfeed Table include a Kraft paper roll holder, paper towel and shop towel holders, surge protectors, and we made it mobile using a set of Rockler's Workbench Casters with Quick Release Plates. If you've made a favorite improvement to your workbench, be sure to let us know in the comments!

Tables and Desks Contest 2016

Second Prize in the
Tables and Desks Contest 2016

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    36 Comments

    Very nice! Almost exactly what I need, only lacking a mobile base so one can pull it off the saw and use it anywhere. I see you commented on this last year - have you done so yet? I'd be very interested to see what kind of cam system you come up with! Thanks!!

    3 replies

    Great timing! We're actually editing a video showing a few upgrades/additions to the table, and we just installed a set of Rockler's Workbench Casters (https://goo.gl/JjRr78) with Quick Release Plates in it. For some reason the casters (https://goo.gl/bChP5C) are 25% off now and you can get the plates (https://goo.gl/7YWYq5) separately -- which go on sale for $20.

    Since we're also finishing up a Roubo-style workbench (and actually building another later this year), this seemed like the best option. On sale, the workbench-casters aren't much more than buying a decent set of regular casters and then it's only $20 or so to add the quick plates to the other workbenches. (Or you could just mount the casters to one bench if that's all you had without the plates.)

    My outfeed table with shelves mostly filled weighs probably 350lbs now. And with just a little help lifting up the top, it's easy to engage these casters and then it is very smooth (1 finger) pushing it around.

    Love the swappable casters with the use of the plated, great idea and just ordered, thanks for the discount tip too :)

    No problem! I did new to use some #14 1-1/4" screws to mount the plates (the included bolts are for 3/4" material), but other than that they've worked well so far.

    Congratulations on the win in the Tables and Desks contest!

    1 reply

    Thanks! Much appreciated!

    Incredible work! Congratulations very interesting project :D

    Beautiful work. Would be thrilled to have a workbench like that.

    Awesome work bench. We have been looking to have someone make one for us.

    How much would you charge to make a similar one?

    2 replies

    Hi, sorry I already have a huge back log of projects to build. I can say that the cost for materials was right at $150 + the cost of the leg levelers (which I managed to get on sale).

    If you don't need the depth for outfeed support, the shelves could be made ~24" deep and save $24 (2 shelves from one 4'x8' piece of MDF). And if you were ok with a ~24" deep top, you could save another $33 by doubling up a 1/2" piece of MDF and going with 1" T-molding. So that puts it under $100 + leg levelers if you need them.

    I just didn't see that contest, thanks for mentioning it. I was distracted by the "Table Contest" I suppose :).

    Just thought I would mention it, the prizes are cool.

    Beautiful workbench!!! I built myself a simpler workbench the same height as my table saw to serve the same purpose, but usually remains cluttered with my too-many (usually forgotten) projects. I like the idea of the additional shelf, which I could desperately use. I do ask, why do you need slots for the miter gauge? Does it extend off the saw table, or do you use large sleds?

    2 replies

    I updated Step #10 - "Routing the Miter Gauge Grooves" with a photo of how my gauge extends off the table saw and a note about increasing the length for a future sled project.

    > Why do you need slots for the miter gauge? Does it extend off the saw table, or do you use large sleds?

    My miter gauge extends about 3" past the table saw edge, so it was either keep the outfeed table below the miter gauge slot or add the groove. The reason I extended them so far was for a future table-saw sled that I wanted to be able to cut 2' + wide panels with.

    user

    Very good Instructable.

    I made one almost identical and used plywood for the top and put a 1/4 " sheet of Masonite on and counter sink the screws sow i just have to replace it when damaged