Introduction: How to Make a Crappy Table Saw Into a Good One

Picture of How to Make a Crappy Table Saw Into a Good One

Hi,I Had to make improvements to this saw it was frustrating me to he'll with its crappy fence and Riving knife/guard so its had a makeover with a new fence reworked riving knife,new guard position,pedestal,extraction,and side extension .

Step 1: Fence

Picture of Fence

I made the fence using 50mm Aluminium angle running in a channel, the fence is out of Oak and faced it with Melamine.

Step 2: Fence Stop

Picture of Fence Stop

this is a hold down clap from a mitresaw

Step 3: Riving Knife

Picture of Riving Knife

I cut the riving knife guard holder off and repositioned the guard on an extendible arm

Step 4: Guard Steady

Picture of Guard Steady

adjustable 5 position guard steady

Step 5: Extending Side Table

Picture of Extending Side Table

I have a small workshop so i had to have as small a footprint for my saw as possible.

Although I have gone trough all the steps you can get a more comprehensive view of my table saw in the video bellow.( If viewing this on mobile phone the link below may not work I have put a link at the start sorry for the confusion.)

please check out my videos on my youtube channel

Step 6: Video

Check out my video


Lenny212 (author)2017-09-10

Thx Marcello, my crappy table saw is about to become a good one. Some great ideas here.

nrini (author)2016-02-28

Sweet set-up, but I'm an unabashed "hand holder" (why the negative connotation here?). I have zero professional training but can follow a recipe, so to speak. I come here for INSTRUCTIONS and these mods would be immensely helpful for someone like me.

I appreciate the presentation, but unfortunately I prefer an actual "how to" over humble bragging. And I don't mean to deter people from being proud of their handiwork - I'm just saying this site was always intended to help others follow your plans so they can learn from people with more experience and innovation.

I did watch the video and it's super impressive! So, great job, but I'm chiming in with the others that this is technically "incomplete" as an INSTRUCTable and could use more details.

For those who are bored with complainers like me, maybe you should reach out to the site owners and ask for a second section where people can just showcase their final results? Constructive ideas are generally far more useful than crying about other people crying :)

marcello bianchi (author)nrini2016-02-28

nrini Hi, unfortunately I had made all the modifications to before i joined instructables or posting video to youtube,the crappy table saw is the only instructable that is a look at what i made .

I have made a instructable on the fence has i have made some changes and i have put a link here.please copy and paste to your browser

nrini (author)marcello bianchi2016-02-29

It wasn't meant as an indictment of your work - It's very inspiring and I like the video a lot. I was directing this more towards the people here posting that those of us looking for more direction are somehow out of place (INSTRUCTable being the operative word here).

I'll definitely check out the fence one this weekend!

dadybik (author)2016-02-28

Further the other comments of Jim, He not make anything, The work is fantastic and the video could not has dimensions but there are everything for make the general idea that is FANTASTIC

marcello bianchi (author)dadybik2016-02-28

Hi dadybik, thanks for your words of encouragement

dadybik (author)marcello bianchi2016-02-28

Let me say that in your video there are a thousend of words in pictures, with a little of imagination you convert a simple tool in a incredible one. You have to be proud of your work and mine a simple words.
Sorry for my english I am spanish speaker.
Best Regards
Esteban Bikic
dady at comodoro dot com

talichni (author)2016-02-28

Hi Marcello, I'm planning to upgrade my "crappy one" to something alike!

Thx for some, more than applicable ideas!

DonnH1 (author)2016-02-28

I think that Instructables whole purpose is to inspire and make you think how you may be able to build something good ideaand interesting. It does not mean building the exact same thing. I don;t think that a complete set of plans is always necessary. An instructable like this one may be all you need to do something like this for your own saw. All saw models are slightly different so exact plans just won't do. You need to think it out and build accordingly. Myself, I just love to read over stuff like this and I squirrel it away in some recess of my brain for future use. This project has some ideas I may put into use for my portable Makita builders saw. I need to adapt it so I can use it as a panel saw and so I won't need to spend $3K to $4K for an off the floor model ready to go. Thanks Marcello, you made an interesting Instructable.

fbarry1 (author)2016-02-27

I really love the inspiration involved and while I'm not a grouchy old geezer I'm not quite up to putting my saw back in the box to take up knitting. I've worked fairly well with my handheld tools thus far and want to upgrade. However, due to small space constraints, I haven't thus far. I may not be as good a maker as others, I refuse to let others belittle me or deter me. I would've liked more photos and diagrams but I will do my best to figure it out on my own..I have no one to hold my hand, as it were. Thank you for your Instructable and please, pardon my rant.

fbarry1 (author)fbarry12016-02-27

I did enjoy your Instructable and the videos are helpful. I was mostly ranting about what other people said. I will be moving within a few months hopefully and may be able to upgrade my tools if I have enough space. Again, thank you for your Instructable.

marcello bianchi (author)fbarry12016-02-27

Hi, sorry for the lack of plans but i had finished the improvements to the saw before joining Instructables,
I have since made an instructable on the fence build with a youtube video hope this help, thanks for the feedback.

6312CWR (author)2015-11-24

Great bit. I intend to pinch a couple of your ideas.



marcello bianchi (author)6312CWR2015-12-13

go for it, and don't forget to post your photos

marcello bianchi (author)6312CWR2015-11-29

don't forget to post a photo of your completed upgrade incase i've missed a trick.thanks for looking.

marcello bianchi (author)6312CWR2015-11-24

I've posted how to make the fence

Mastros (author)2015-11-12

Now, this idea of having the guard fence in various heights by letting it rest on some steps on the side, well, it is genius!! You can claim some patent for it!

Thanks a lot, you are offering me a lot of inspiration.

marcello bianchi (author)Mastros2015-11-12

thanks for the great feedback.

DejayRezme (author)2015-11-09

This is exactly what I need! I think I even have the same build of chinese table saw.

Would love a few more photos though on how this is done. Especially the fence. How is that fixed together? How to align? The video shows a bit more but not much really. But thanks for the inspiration :)

I will be remaking making the fence quite soon because I want to change the locking mechanism,have you taken a look at the new router table for the saw with router lift.

Yeah thanks I did! But I don't quite get it tbh - is it really practical to have both in the same table?

It's is for me as you can see the router table is under the the saw and the router lift sits under my bandsaw it takes a minute to set up.

I've just added it to my instructables.

I think that I've found a novel way to lock the fence I will update as soon as I've worked it out.

JimTheSoundman (author)2015-11-05

This is another example of an Instructable that doesn't really instruct you on anything. It's more a "here's what I've done" video. This doesn't give me any plans or instructions on how to do it myself. I would hope everyone would click on the little flag icon at the top right and tag this as "incomplete." Then hopefully the mods and the original poster will take notice that this, although nice, isn't what this site is supposed to be about.
The entire point of Instructables is not only "here's what I've done" but it also needs the "Here, let me show you how I did it step by step, so you can do it too" element. I do appreciate the poster putting this idea out for inspiration, but inspiration is usually worthless without the instructions on execution. Step by step photos, with measurements and/or drawings of how the plan was executed seem to be a must for something like this. Sorry if I sound like a grouchy old geezer but I've noticed this same thing a lot lately.

another hand holder.

I suppose you would complain if the author went into exquisite detail on building his accessories and you couldn't use it because you had a different saw and the dimensions werent the same

rnshagam (author)JimTheSoundman2015-11-08

Oh, I think that if you have a table saw and more or less know how to use it, you'll be able to come up with a design mod that fits your particular machine. Frankly, many instructables have too many hand holding steps.

Hi Jim, thanks for your feedback,please view the video and let me know what you think

Hmm?! As another grouchy old geezer I sort of agree that a few more photos would have been nice. On the other hand, my table saw is so differently constructed that even the most infinitely detailed set of instructions would have been well nigh useless. I think also that anyone tackling something like this would probably be fairly well able to work it out for themselves. Perhaps I could observe that table saws are deceptively dangerous machines and anyone not able to work something like this out for themself should maybe just put the saw back in its box and take up knitting. I will definitely imitate the guard idea. I got into the bad habit of working without a guard because of the limits it placed on the thickness I could cut and ended up having to have half my right thumb surgically reattached. I had thought of something similar but never got round to it. I just avoided doing woodwork after the accident. This instructible has given the inspiration to return...

Hi thanks for the feedback,I have put a link to my video showing the saw in more detail.

domino88 (author)2015-11-09

Hi Marcello,

I have a similar contractor saw to yours and just like you I need to come up with ways of improving it. I love what you've done with your saw, especially the fence. I might get around to making it one day.

Here's a quick 5-10 minute additional tweak I made for my table saw that you might like to consider:

hi thanks for the feedback,i like the safety off switch neat idea

voixhumain (author)2015-11-08

i appreciate this article because I have for years put up with "crappy plastic saws". I agree with Marcello in that these saws need improvement. however. instead of trying to improve something that is nothing more than a modern hardware store "rip off". I just bought an old Rockwell Beaver. there are other brands but something old and made of steel, cast or otherwise, will open your eyes to real tablesaw possibilities. just an example here. I purchased an older Roc beav with cast steel table extensions and a 3/4 horse electric motor for $145. if you paid twice that, this saw is ten times the saw that Home Depot or Rona or Lowes or whoever will sell you for probably more money.

Hi Thanks for the feedback.after a lifetime of using cast machines i would have to agree that if you have the space and budget for a cast iron table saw that's the best option but here in the Uk cast saw on the second hand market are rarely put up for sale at affordable prices for. your average DIY/woodworker. an entry level cast saw is in excess of £600

Ulicksson (author)2015-11-08

First thing to do is throw the guard in the bin!

Before or after

Before. Always get in the way those things.

I like the extension idea though; Might try that.

Hi Ulicksson,not that i reccomend it but my guard does swing out of the way.thanks for the feedback

clazman (author)2015-11-08

Very nice!. I appreciate your creative ability, your inventiveness. Your willingness to overcome the inevitable obstacles encountered in a redesign.

That being said, a few pictures and drawings are in order. Specifics of mounting the major components do not necessarily need drawings but a picture would be helpful.

As an old retired mechanical engineer geezer, I want to convey the need for drawings. Yes sketches are nice, but drawings are the next step in the design process, refining the concepts depicted in the sketches. Drawings not only are necessary to convey information to the person or persons, fabricating the components, drawings also help reduce the material waste and associated production costs that inevitably occur when there is an absence of documentation. In addition, drawings are also required for the creation of replacement parts due to breakage or "end of life".

Granted their are the inevitable adaptions to incorporate a design into the readers specific requirements. Consequently, these adapters need not be defined by a drawing, but could be conceptualized with a picture to help the reader conceptualize his or her needs.

As to the term "instructable", I believe I have conveyed the idea that the presenter need not define the device explicitly, but rather "instruct" the reader in the creation of his or her own project.

My own instructables have attempted to present my particular device, tool or modification to the reader as a "why didn't I think of that".

Again, I laud your presentation as how you improved upon a the shortcomings of a particular device. A device that was designed by just another person that is not immune to errors. That same designer might also have been hindered by other departments in the desire to reduce costs which can have a pronounced effect on a design. I know, I have been hindered by such.

Please continue with your creativity in the desire to improve upon a design.

atw58 (author)2015-11-08

Very resourceful Marcello. The idea to repurpose the mitre saw clamp was a little clumsy but inspired. I never found it useful on my mitre saw. The grooves in the rail reminded me of oak hardwood floor strips which would be another good reuse. And switching to a plastic bucket for dust collection was good thinking compared to the more labour intensive box.

marcello bianchi (author)atw582015-11-08

Thanks for the feedback

Paskawimostos (author)2015-11-08

Thanks for the video. The only thing I couldn't see was how the support for the blade guard was attached to the right hand side of the saw. A picture would be nice. Thanks.

lenardo.dasilvaoliveira (author)2015-11-08


hi Lenardo,thanks for the feedback

Bogie4570 (author)2015-11-08

Instructions should not be neccesary for anyone that owns a tablesaw. Even a moderately experienced woodworker should be able to figure this one out. I am so glad I bought an old Rockwell Delta Unisaw and put a 52in Unifence on it.


cybercapri (author)2015-11-08

Excellent upgrades and improvements, very well done...

Thanks for the feedback

BicknellStudio (author)2015-11-08

This is great!! I have a nice 10" table saw that's been collecting dust because I can't afford a new fence for it (the old one broke into pieces!). This approach will totally work and be a great upgrade. Thanks for sharing this!!

Thanks for the feedback glad,it's inspired you

LaurieGoroke (author)2015-11-05

Marcello - thanks for inspiring me to fix my cheap, inaccurate table saw. You've given me some great ideas as to how to convert it into a decent piece of kit. Can't wait to get started.

hi,Laurie,thanks for your feedback much appreciated

About This Instructable




Bio: Retired Boat builder,CNC programmer,Process Engineer
More by marcello bianchi:Painting Doors the Easy WayMitre Saw stand,Making it mobileMaking a Dowel Plate
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