I needed to rip up a lot of timber for some roofing joists in my workshop. They were to be filleted into some plastic boards, so I needed to do them accurately. As a saw table would be around £90 minimum and probably wouldn't get used after the workshop was completed I decided to see what was on offer in Instructables. What I found was a number of excellent designs which used everyday workshop tools. As my workshop is still being built these weren't at my disposal. I have my trusty old B&D circular saw and decided to make a table out of laminate flooring. This medium is thin, so I won't need to router out a recess, I can just build the area around the saw plate up with further layers. It is very square and has a tough polished surface. I popped down to the local Homebase and found a pack that was damaged. The original price was £25 ($40) I got it for £13 ($20). An acceptable price for a temporary job. I also bought a NVR on/off switch as the saw trigger will have to be held open and under the table. The one I bought has a three pin plug in and out so no additional wiring is required. This cost £20 but will have many uses in my workshop.
So far I have used 1 pack of Laminated Flooring
1 tube of no more nails fast grip glue
1 No Volt Release on/off switch
1 unsuspecting pallet
1 load of 2" and 3" screws
450mm 20mm square box mild steel
3 m6 x 90mm carriage bolts, m6 nuts etc
Step 1: The Raw Materials
Before I start My 'able. A word on safety. I always use the relevant safety gear. Even then I have still managed to end up in the ER. Saws and electrical weapons don't often give you a second chance. Protect your eyes, ears and hands. The laminate sheets are MDF and prodice a fine dust when cut, so a mask is a good idea too but I was wearing it when I took these shots.
Step 2: Starting the Top
The laminates are 1380mm long and a fraction under 190mm wide. I cut the first two at 1000mm for the table top. The offcuts would form the crossbracing
Step 3: Making the Table Top
I found the centre of the plank (500mm) and then offered up the saw. I lined up the centre bolt with the centre mark and then marked out the extents of the blade mechanism. This material was then removed with a tenon saw. My jigsaw is in storage with most of my other shop tools but I think the tenon saw did a better job.
When the piece was removed I offered up the second top plank to mark out how much needed rebating off it to allow the blade to sit down. Finally the saw is in place
Step 4: Laminating the Tabletop
Now that the slot is finished I ran a bead of glue down the groove of the laminate. I don't want it coming apart. The offcuts return to the fray. They are just the right size to act as cross bracing and being perfectly square, they will additionally aid the correct alignment of the saw. I used instant grab glue to fix them ready for screwing but due to the sub zero (celsius) temperatures the glue wasn't playing, so I clamped them with some scrap wood. Finally for this stage I cut some infill pieces and glued them in place
Step 5: Laminating the Tabletop Pt2
Now onto the final layer for the table top. This is the bottom but you get my drift. This piece will run in the same direction as the top and has the cut out for the face plate of the saw. When the recess is removed from both pieces and after a dry run to ensure they fit. It is all glued and clamped up. the table top is now 20mm thick and very sturdy but the next step will stiffen it further.
Step 6: Making a Frame and Attaching the Table Top
I had a pallet knocking around and although the temptation to set fire to it was great, I took the 3x3 and 3x1 1/2 sections to form a frame. The slats can go on the fire as they didn't appreciate the hammer too much.
The frame simply follows the outer edge. Due to the shape of the motor I left a gap in the nearside edge. However I don't see 3/4" of laminate and 3" square framing being bothered by that.
All that remains for this stage is to connect the two pieces with countersunk screws
The final stage is to secure the saw in place. I decided not to screw through the face of the top lamination as it is on 6mm thick and the countersink required to seat a bolt head wouldn't leave enough strength to be worthwhile. I decided to build a subframe trong enough to hold the saw in place from the underside. This was made from scrap 20mm box section. The timber framing was rebated out to allow the box section to sit flush and the steel drilled to be screwed into the framing. Holes were drilled to hold a pair of carriage bolts which clamp the saw down. At the backthere wasn't room to run across due to the handle of the saw, So I opted to run a single box section spar to the rear.
All that remained was to clamp and secure the saw in place. The carriage bolts were fitted with nyloc nuts and lock nuts as I didn't want it vibrating loose. As the laminate is so thin it is important to not over clamp the saw as this bows the table face. When I rework this saw for future use and with all my workshop facilities available I will run a pice of sttel plate into the laminations to provide extra rigidity. For now with time and resources against me, this will work fine.
With the saw firmly in place. The switch needs to be held in the "on" position with an exhaust clamp. All switching on and off is done form the No Volt Release on/off switch secure to the front of the table, which I omitted to photograph. Th fence for this job was an offcut 3x2" held with g cramps. Very rudimantary but it worked fine for the 20 lengths I needed to cut for this project.
There you have it a perfectly safe, workable and cheap solution to my circular table saw needs. I hope you find my instructable of some use.