Convert a Hand-held Circular Saw Into a Table Saw





Introduction: Convert a Hand-held Circular Saw Into a Table Saw

About: hmmm...

This instrucable is about building a table and attaching a hand-held circular saw to the table. The table stands on saw horses, so it's more of a surface than a free-standing table. The table includes a removable panel where the saw attaches, so the table can be used with other tools---a router for example.

Please be careful if you attempt this project at home. There are power tools involved, which should inspire extra caution. Real table saws cause their share of injuries, so just imagine what could happen with this ad hoc arrangement.

Step 1: Make the Table

Find some reasonably-flat lumber and make a table. You can make legs for it, if you want, but I just put mine on saw horses.

You'll probably want to add some cross pieces. Be careful that all screws are counter sunk or counter bored. I used pine and 2-1/2" coarse-thread dry wall screws, which countersunk themselves. I used a pilot hole to prevent the plank from cracking.

Remember that you want to hang a large saw under the table when you're choosing where to put the cross pieces. Make sure there's enough room to mount and adjust the saw.

Step 2: Make a Removable Panel

Leave a hole in the middle of the table. The removable panel makes it a lot easier to mount the saw and allows you to use the table with other tools. To mount a router, just make another panel and mount the router on that.

To install a panel, there are a lot of options. I had washers and smallish lag screws and was thinking about how cleaver I was, so I used them. It's a lot of work to remove the lag screws and I don't have the appropriate attachment for my drill. Instead of lag screws, you just us regular screws.

Again, make sure all of your hardware is below the surface of the table.

If you're inspired, you can even use a block plane to deal with any bumps. But the plane can only make it locally flat, so your table could still be off. But who cares---if you wanted something really precise, you'd have purchased a table saw a long time ago and you're only reading this article to see if it's a joke.

Step 3: Make a Flat Edge for the Fence

You may need to add a true piece of wood to the edge, where the fence rides, depending on the lumber you started with and the final shape of the table. I started off without putting too much thought into the orientation of the table, so I ended up with a rough edge.

I found a flat piece of wood of the appropriate thickness, a bit of 1/4" plywood, and some glue. After it was firmly glued into place, I realized that the edge was a good straight board but the edges were not parallel. I was able to correct for it later because the fence need only be true to the blade, not the end of the table.

Step 4: Make the Fence

The fence it the bit of wood that acts as the guide when you're cutting. It must be adjustable but firm enough to allow consistent cuts.

I had some 1x4 lumber in the garage, so I used it. I tried to cancel out errors in the wood by screwing them together at right angles so that their cross-section was L-shaped. I was working with pine, so I pre-drilled my holes. The edge of the fence needs to be smooth, so I counter bored holes with a 1/2" spade bit.

Step 5: Mount the Saw to the Panel

Cut a slot in the panel and figure out how to mount your circular saw on the bottom of it. I have a DeWalt saw (too bad it's not Craftsman!) and it's got a fiberglass deck (the black bit) that I had no trouble drilling through. I used 1/4" hardware because that was what I had on hand. I used a counter bored holes and carriage bolts, so I didn't have to worry about the bolt turning as I mounting the saw.

There were two problems from this set up, though. First, I couldn't cut through 2x4 lumber because the boards I made the table out of were too thick. Also, I found out why zero-clearance plates are so popular.

I removed the first panel, which was made out of 3/4" lumber, and replaced it with 3/8" plywood. There's a bunch of shims to keep it level with the surface of the table. The saw is mounted on a panel and there is the possibility of changing the bit that surrounds the blade. The combination of the panel and plat works, but the table isn't very flat. There are a lot of little corners and edges and sometimes things get caught.

I also found out that the slot was too wide because bits of wood kept falling into the saw. They either were launched toward the ceiling of my garage or caused the saw to slow down and jam up. So I made a new slot that was just wide enough for the saw blade. It doesn't have a blade guard, anti-kickback device, or a splitter, so it's really quite dangerous. I'll have to make a splitter and guard ASAP.

Step 6: True the Fence to the Blade

The fence must be parallel to the blade. Square up the fence to the blade. You'll probably have to pull back the guard, so make sure the saw is not plugged in. Then put a single screw in the T of the fence and square it with the end of the table. Add at least one screw to set the angle.

I spent a lot of time making the T square, but it turns out that the table's end wasn't square. I was able to correct for the difference using the method outlined above.

Step 7: Cut Something With Your New Table Saw

After the fence is square to the blade, try it out. Set tje distance to the fence and the depth of the blade.

I had to use a bit of wire to activate the switch on the handle of my saw. Then I used the plug to turn it on and off.

Remember to use something wood to push your piece through the saw. Check the direction of the blade before you start cutting.

Also, don't wear loose clothing or gloves. Do wear safety glasses. Have a firm footing before you begin a cut. Beware of twisting the piece or pausing mid cut. Basically, remember all the stuff your shop teacher told you.

Use the saw at your own risk. Your fingers are responsible for your actions.

Step 8: Things I Made With the Saw

The main reason I made the saw was to cut up the old lumber I had in my garage. There's old 2x4 and other stuff from the last 7 years of home improvements. I was able to re-claim some of the lumber but a lot of it is probably only good for throwing away or making charcoal. I also made a shop cart for my tool box and misc tools. It was inspired (but doesn't at all resemble) by an instructable about building a shop table.

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57 Discussions

My god!! Enough the safety lessons guys. We have enough of that in our normal day jobs. Every single instructable on here assumes you have common sense and are responsible for your own safety. These are DIY projects - Not some over-engineered, over priced machine with all the safety cutoffs in the universe.

Yes some of us have had accidents involving various body parts. Some our fault due to complacency or stupidity, some not our fault. Maybe dont try this one if you dont know how to keep important body parts clear of moving machinery. Its not this guys repsonsibility if you end up in hospital because you chopped off your "hotdog". Just my two

Nice write up on this project. I will be building something similar very soon. Common sense and a clear head goes a long way in keeping you from getting hurt. I personally have had injuries from power tools and I understand the destruction they can cause to flesh, but that has not deterred me from using them. Never put your fingers where you wouldn't put your hotdog.

Thanks for all the info and comments

I lost end of finger and thumb so decided to use push sticks just cut V shape in end of 2 lengths of wood one to hold down work one to push work through, still have most of my fingers since using push sticks


i am a hobbyist & planning to built a table saw using a seven n half inch circular saw, but after hearing all the risks especially kickbacks i got sceptical. As my setup wouldnt be having riving knife, i thought of using a sled riding on a pair of telescopic channel which will feed the job & use clamps to hold the job with sled. I can feed the sled from side holding those clamps from sideways thereby avoiding standing in path of blade. Even if i use a rail guide it will run on top of the sled for whole length of the table. Do you think its workable. Any suggestions will be very helpful

Money spent at a garage sale for a real table saw would be well spent. New saws also can come with a brake that stops the saw INSTANTLY when it comes into contact with flesh. Sooner or later, this machine will get you hurt.

8 replies

I bought two cheap, used saws--perfectly serviceable--at garage sales. Yes, SawStop and now Bosch make both job site and shop versions of table saws that "break" intantaniously, but they begin at around $1200-1600 dollars. Take of you fingers out there.

hate to tell you this but since i spent 15 years in the construction business I feel at least a "bit" qualified to make this comment. A table say never stops when it hits flesh. It stops when that plastic guard is raised to high high. You set most of them by adjusting the blade tips so they barely clear the wood you are cutting(just like you should do with any circular saw(it make the cutting much much more efficient, reduces kickbacks and reduces the force needed to push the blade through the wood) If you try to slide something else under that plastic guard be it a body part or another piece of wood it jams the blade.

Please educate yourself on how things work BEFORE bashing someones good idea. This tablesaw is no different than the older ones that didn't have the brakes on them and so are no more dangerous.

Well not counting those 1 or 2 models that are very expensive and can actually sense human flesh. But try finding one of those at a garage sale.......

I know this is an old post, but doesnt mean you're not still wrong. :) There is most definitely flesh detecting saw safety mechanisms. YES, not on most consumer grade equipment, but it definitely exists.

Please educate yourself on how things work before bashing someone's insightful comment.

Those saws are not even remotely close to being incorporated into the design of the manufactures of table saws. The likes of Craftsmen DeWalt and Milwaukee have even said that they will not be incorporating this design into their models because of the cost. The top comment is akin to saying that you should buy a new car because the new ones have ejector seats that will save you in a crash because he saw it in a movie once and it was theoretically possible. So, "Please educate yourself on how things work before bashing someone's insightful comment."

Joeny and Garion, take it easy. Let's take the time to read and understand before reacting. Try to be positive and have a good attitude. Put that confrontational energy into posting a new instructable or something. Your comments will be much more credible after you've posted some of your own work.

Oh, and as far as people being wrong on the internet, see this link:

A real table saw, even a bench-top model, probably would be better. This design, however, is one way to use labor in the place of cash. Someone in my family worked on a nuclear submarine. He told me that they were taught not to rely on safety features. That's all I have to say about that. A garage-sale table saw won't have the flesh-sensing feature. That feature is proprietary and is on a saw that is relatively expensive.

Excellent idea and exactly what I was planning to do. Do not listen to the ramblings of attention-seeking, drama-loving individuals. As has been mentioned, safety is in procedure. A simpler mind or more careless individual should not make or use this table. For that matter, they should not be around power tools in general; store bought or otherwise. Great instructable. I'm also planning on making a router table for my dremel tool. I'll post back if I lose a finger.

Good point. That was the conclusion I came to, eventually.

There is only one brand of table saw with the emergency-stop feature. It is far from a standard feature. That'll cost 600-800, too.

The construction of the table is going to be very simple. It will be a box with a hollow top. The hollow top is through which all the dust that falls down the blade will be collected.

measurements for the portable table.jpgYouTube Cover.jpg
1 reply

a good idea if you want to make a quick change multitool table is to head to your local hobby shop and pick up some battery phugs/sockets and some wire. Bypass the original switch with a socket/plug on the positive or negative, and insert a 250v reccomended switch somewhere on the table with a socket/plug opposite to that of whats on your tool. When your tool is mounted on the table, use the trigger lock feature most tools have(to keep it on) so you only have one switch to turn it on and off at will. If you're worried about usability after such a mod, just make a loop jumper to continue the circuit and use the drill like normal

I found this too

i love the idea i might try for my projects now goodbye to my fingers

I never thought of this! This is awesome

ths seems really cool how do u keep the saw running or triger on .