Introduction: Simple Outfeed Table for the Table Saw
After rearranging the disaster shop, I no longer had an outfeed table. Ya, crazy right? See, I had originally setup my shop in order to use my work bench as the out feed table, but this just wouldn't work with the new layout and I really liked the idea of keeping my work in progress projects out of the way so that I could (in theory...) use my table saw whenever I needed to. (without cleaning off the table first).
This outfeed table was designed so that I would be pinned to the table saw, keeping it for walking away on its own, but also, I made the bottom of it wide open, so that eventually, I could build some rolling diy tool storage carts to go underneath. (or something else, I don't know...but I like options!)
I really like how this project turned out, I am really glad I went with the black formica on top, it really gives it a polished touch. Before we get started, I have FREE full color plans, with cutlists, shopping list, etc. Basically, everything you need to build this table yourself. Just click here!
- 2x4 lumber
- (1) sheet of plywood or particle board for the top
- Hardwood trim (optional, but recommended!)
- Formica sheet (optional, but recommended!)
Step 1: Planning! and Prepping!
I started off this project by designing everything in Fusion 360. This is a great way to make sure you have a good plan for when you head out into the shop. Sometimes, I like figuring out a project as I go, but the reality is that I don't always have time for such things.
A little bit of planning goes a long way! Speaking of planning....I have FREE plans for the project available here.
Once I got my plans in order, I started by breaking down the 2x12's into the approximate sizes that I needed. While the plans are designed for 2x4 lumber, I like to buy 2x12s because they are typically higher quality, and if you are clever, you can pick around the knots and other defects - leaving you with super premium pine lumber!
Step 2: Joint. Plane. Cut. ACTION!
I then headed back to the table saw and used my crosscut sled to cut down all the pieces to the proper length. Not sure if I need to say this, but if you DON'T have a crosscut sled, you should probably go build one. Yesterday. :-)
Step 3: Dowels and Pocket Holes! OH MY!
With everything cut to length, I marked out where I wanted my pocket holes and dowels to go.
pocket holes? AND dowels?
I have been using this method for a while now and it works AWESOME. Basically, use a dowel jig as you normally would, drilling at least 2 holes for dowels. Then, use the pocket hole jig and add a SINGLE hole in between said dowel holes. Now, when you assembly the joint, the pocket hole will provide the clamping force and the dowels will provide the strength.
Look ma, no clamps!
You could also JUST use dowels. Or pocket holes. Both options are certainly acceptable for this project.
Step 4: Sand and Finish.
With the side frames of my new outfeed table assembled, I gave everything a quick sand and then applied a few coats of shellac. Shellac is awesome because it dries super duper fast. It is also durable, so a great match for shop furniture projects like this one!
Step 5: Avengers! Assemble!
I installed the stretcher bars for the outfeed table using only pocket holes. I was planning on using dowels as well, but I got distracted.
Luckily, I had this massive 60" aluminum bar clamps to hold everything together!
While the table was upside down, I went ahead and drilled a few holes in the bottom of the table stretchers. These will be used to attach the top later on.
Step 6: Its Not That I'm Afraid of Commitment, It's Just That I Don't Like Being Tied Down!
Usually, my shop furniture has wheels. In this case, I decided to go with leveling feet instead. The reason was that I wanted to tie the table to my saw in order to ensure everything stayed aligned.
I drilled the clearance holes and then installed the leveling feet using T-nuts.
and...I sorta forgot to install the last stretcher. So this gets installed now too.
Step 7: Building the Table Top on Top of the Table!
A great thing about building a table, is that you can use it as a table, while building! The top of my outfeed table is made from 2 sheets of particle board, glued and laminated together. I debated on using plywood, but particle board is much cheaper and will be more than strong enough for this project.
I had the lumber store cut down the particle board for me on their giant panel saw because I cant fit a whole sheet in my tiny car. This worked out even better because I didnt even have to cut the panels at all once I got home. I just slathered on a bunch of wood glue, and slapped them puppies together!
Make sure to put as much weight as possible on top of this lamination, just to ensure that everything stay super flat.
Step 8: Trim!
Particle board has 2 major weaknesses:
My shop stays pretty dry, so the water shouldnt be an issue. However, unprotected particle board edges are notoriously easy to damage - so whenever you build something with particle board, make sure to protect those edges!
I opted to use this old chunk of oak that I think came from a barn. Not really sure, I just grabbed it and ran. (just kidding, don't steal!) Once I jointed, planned, and then ripped all the parts to the about 1.5" wide, I cut them to length on my table saw sled.
Using glue and brad nails, I attached the strips to the edges of the particle board top.
Step 9: Lamination Station!
Installing laminate countertop material (Formica) is actually really easy. I was a little bit intimidated at first, but now that I have done it, I will probably be installing this stuff on EVERYTHING.
I started by scoring the 4' x 8' sheet of Formica with my razor knife, and then snapping it using the edge of my newly built table. I made sure to leave the sheet oversized, so that I could trim it later.
Using a chip brush, I brushed on contact cement to both the table top, and the back of the Formica sheet. After letting the two pieces dry for 15 minutes or so, it was time to sandwhich them together!
QUICK TIP! Use dowel rods or scraps of wood to keep the two surfaces from touching!
Once the two pieces tough, they will be stuck permanently!!!!!!!!!!!! So be careful! and use the dowel trick! Once everything is aligned, I removed some of the dowels and pressed the Formica onto the table. In order to get a really good bond, I used a J-roller to roll out the surface. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of this step....
Step 10: Flush Trimming and Adding Miter Slots!
Since I cut the formica oversized, on purpose, I came back with a flush trim bit on my router and ran around the table to trim the formica to size. Then, I made a quick jig and cut in some miter slots into the table. I don't recommend skipping this step, most of the jigs you use on the table saw will stick out the back of the saw, and if you skip adding miter slots, it is going to cause some problems.
Another quick tip: Most miter slots are 3/4" wide, but I recommend you cut 1" wide slots into the outfeed table. This will make it way easier to align.
I also ran a quick chamfer bit all the way around to ease over the edge of the table and Formica. Just so that there weren't any sharp edges.
Step 11: Installation Station!
I dragged the table up against my table saw and first made sure it was perfectly level with the saw. To be extra safe, you may want to set the height of the outfeed table to be 1/16" lower (or more) than your table saw top.
I then went ahead and drilled a couple of holes into the angle iron/table saw fence rail and installed a few screws that would hole the outfeed table directly to the saw. Now they will stay perfectly aligned, forever!
If I ever more the saw, and have issues with these screws stripping out in the particle board, I will just use some threaded inserts. (I should have done this first, to be honest)
Step 12: The Finish Line!
Whew, we made it!
I am so glad I built this outfeed table for my table saw. I have already started using it and frankly, it's a game changer. I really hated trying to use the table saw when I had a bunch of stuff piled on my workbench (being used as an outfeed table), it was not efficient, and probably not very safe.
I already started designing (and building!) some super awesome rolling tool carts that will be stored under the table. So make sure you keep an eye out for that project!
I have FREE plans available if you want to build a simple outfeed table like this one. Share your outfeed table builds in the comments down below, I would love to see them!
Now get out there and make something awesome!
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