Introduction: Height-Adjustable Outfeed Worktable
My garage floor is sloped and uneven.
There is not a level spot to be found, which can be frustrating.
In my quest for a more versatile garage workshop, I decided I wanted a mobile worktable that doubled as an outfeed table for my table saw.
However, the problem was figuring out how to quickly make it level wherever I may want to use it in my garage. Shims are an option, and I could have just made custom shims to use with a typical rolling table in predesignated locations, but this seemed a bit too limiting for what I was after.
So I came up with these individually adjustable legs that sit atop heavy-duty locking casters.
I get the best of both worlds: a mobile table, with a top I can easily make level wherever I choose to use it.
I'm very happy with how it turned out and the versatility it provides, and hope this information might be useful for anyone with a similar need. Thanks for taking a look!
Step 1: Overview
The table itself was built much like all the other hundreds of worktables found online: 2x4 framing lumber cut and fastened together with glue and screws.
Here are a couple of other worktables I've made that cover some basic procedures in more detail:
My table top was made from 2 halves of a solid core door that I picked up at a thrift store, which was screwed to the table framework from the underside. The bottom shelf section was topped with a piece of an old countertop.
The legs themselves and the adjustable mechanism are the main focus of this Instructable. The photos here show what they consist of and the gist of how they go together.
Step 2: Piston and Top Block
I began by making the adjustable piston assembly of each leg.
The actual piston portion is made from three 9-inch long pieces of framing lumber. Each piece was run through the table saw to trim about 1/32" from the width, so the finished piece would slide freely within the leg housing.
These three blocks were glued and screwed together. A clamp was used to help keep them lined up perfectly.
The top block through which the bolt is threaded was made next.
It was cut to be about 1/16" longer than the width of the 3-piece block that was just made.
Using a drill press, recesses were bored to receive a toothed t-nut on the bottom of the block and a t-nut with the teeth removed on the top. A hole was drilled to run all the way through as well.
I used 6-inch 3/8" bolts and matching hardware for each leg mechanism.
With two t-nuts like this, you have to make sure the threads are synced in such a way that allows the bolt to thread freely up and down.
The toothed t-nut was epoxied and pounded in place first, and a bolt was threaded into place.
The teeth on the second t-nut were cut off using a rotary tool, and this toothless t-nut was then epoxied into place by threading it along the bolt and into place in the block. A wing nut was used to temporarily hold it in place while the epoxy cured.
It's critical that you don't use too much epoxy, as you do not want it to get onto the bolt at all.
When the epoxy is cured you should be able to easily thread the bolt up and down through the block.
Step 3: Assembly
With the bolt and t-nuts in place on the top block, a piece of scrap aluminum was cut to fit at the top of the piston portion of the leg and hole drilled through the center. I cut the aluminum with this.
The end of the bolt is fastened to the plate with lock nuts and washers, but kept loose enough to spin freely.
This plate is screwed to the top of the piston portion, and a locking caster is fastened to the bottom end with lag screws into pre-drilled holes.
Step 4: Install in Table Legs
The table was built with leg pieces as shown, to allow the piston mechanism to be installed at the bottom of the legs.
The top block of the piston assembly is attached with the top 11 inches from the bottom of the table legs.
Some knobs were made from plywood with epoxied t-nuts which act as locks on the vertical movement of the piston assemblies.
Step 5: Table Framework
Here's a closer look at the table framework. Everything received several coats of lacquer, and the knobs were painted as well.
Step 6: Add Top, Trim and Vise
The table top was added, and oak trim was screwed around the exterior.
A vise was bolted to the corner of the table where it overhung the frame. The bolts were covered with pieces of oak dowel that were glued in place, and the entire top received a few coats of lacquer. It will get banged up and I'll just sand it a little and spray some more lacquer on it if needed.
Step 7: Bonus: Mini Table Saw Extension
I didn't think this needed an Instructable on it's own, so I'm including it here as it was a necessary thing to go along with the table shown in the previous steps.
My old outfeed worktable was massive. It's detailed here.
For this new outfeed table I didn't want to try to incorporate tracks for my cross-cut sled, as it seemed too fussy and limited the usefulness of the table on its own. But I use my cross-cut sled constantly, so I needed a solution for how to support the back end of it during a cut.
I added this mini extension off the back of my table saw, and when I need the large outfeed table in place for cutting long boards or sheet goods I just position it about 8 inches behind this extension, and I'm all set.
The following steps show how this was made.
Step 8: Support Rails
Two pieces of angle iron were cut and prepared to be fixed to the sides of my table saw cabinet. These are actually from a used bed frame.
A small bit of material had to be removed from one to allow clearance for the motor when the blade was set at full-tilt.
Step 9: Attach Rails
I had two pieces of wood bolted to my saw from a prior project, which actually made attaching these rails even easier. Holes were drilled in the metal using a drill press, and the rails were screwed to the wood with pan-head screws.
Step 10: Lightweight Frame
Using scrap wood, I built a lightweight frame and topped it with pieces of baltic birch plywood. The frame was glued and screwed together and the top was attached with glue and brads. It was finished with lacquer and a coat of paste wax.
A piece of t-track was used to help line up the extension with the grooves in the table in order to position it precisely as needed. Screws were installed from the underside to secure it in place.
For smaller projects and cutting shorter pieces, many times I've found I don't need to put the large outfeed table in place, and this extension is sufficient.
It's a great addition to my saw and works perfectly for what I needed.
Step 11: Happy Making
Thanks again for taking a look. Thoughts and feedback are always encouraged! :)
We have a be nice policy.
Please be positive and constructive.
Great idea, I saw this couple of weeks back- now in process of implementing it into my miter saw station platform (3" wheels made it too tall, now going for as-needed adjustment and mobility). My Qs: 1) As it appears from the pics- both tee nuts are facing each other? 2) The prongless tee nut is also epoxied to the wood block- not to the bolt? 3) You temporarily used a washer and wingnut to put pressure on the tee to go into the wood? 4) Lastly, could you have used a tee nut brad hole (prongless)- e.g.: attached pic?
1) yes both t nuts face each other 2) yes, epoxied to block, not to bolt 3) yes indeed 4) at the hardware store I went to, t nuts with brad holes cost a lot more! :) so I bought pronged ones and cut them as needed.
Good questions, thanks for checking out my project.
I know this is an off the wall question, but what type of table saw are you using? I'm looking to buy one and I really like the size of your Table saw. Can you give me the specs of it so i can look it up? Thanks, and I love your table extension, and table leveling ideas. I'm going to incorporate these ideas into my creations. Thanks Justin
It's a Rigid TS3650. It's a great saw if you happen to come across a used one. They were made for a few years and sold at home depot for about $400, and were unique for having a full cast iron top (even the wings) at that price point.
I got mine used but paid the original retail price and have no regrets. The only issue is it's lacking modern safety features, like a riving knife. Newer saws have their perks, but I'm very happy with mine.
This looks like a great table. I am in a similar situation. Do you have plans/cut sheet I can have?
Thank you! I don't have any specific plans, unfortunately. The sizing was all based on the door I used for the top, so everything was fairly odd custom sizing.. except for the height. The finished height is 36", with the flexibility to go up or down 3 inches per leg.