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Extended bed for a table saw? I want to cut 8 foot ply-wood as accurate as possible? Answered

I have recently finished an instructable on a miter saw cart.  During the making of it I had to use a circular saw because I do not own a table saw.  My cuts where not to straightest and this resulted in some issues.  While looking at table saws to see if in the future this problem could be avoided I noticed that for the most part tables saws only come with about a 30" fence distance.  I was thinking maybe I could fabricate an extended bed with a simple wooden fence.  I was wondering if anyone had made an extended bed before and whats the simplest way to make a wooden fence?  Thanks for any help!!

Below is the table saw I want to purchase!  Sub-question is this an ok quality Table saw?


For the table saw, search for plans for "in-feed" and "out-feed" tables. This is a problem which has been solved many times.

For large sheet goods, a panel saw is better (as others have said). If you don't have one, some folks feel that a circular saw with a straight-edge guide is safer than and just as accurate as a table saw; one suggestion I've seen was to get a large sheet of 2"-thick rigid-foam insulation (also available from home improvement stores) and use that on the floor as your "table" when cutting plywood with the circ saw. Since the blade should extend just a bit past the piece being cut, it won't take much of a notch out of the foam; you can make a lot of cuts this way before needing a new piece of foam.

Simplest way to make a straight-edge cutting guide: Get a straight piece of wood -- the factory edges of a sheet of plywood is usually pretty straight, if you can't find anything better -- to guide the saw. Firmly attach this on top of a sheet of thin plywood or fiberboard, letting that base extend a bit farther than the distance from the edge of the saw's baseplate to the blade. Using the straightedge piece to guide it, run the circ saw across the base, trimming off the excess. Now you have a straightedge which is set back from a reference edge by exactly the right distance. To make a precise cut, line up the cut edge of the base with where you want the cut to occur, clamp the guide in place, and cut along the straightedge again -- no measurement needed. And it may even help give you a cleaner cut, by providing a "backing board" at the point where the cut is being made.

[Is there an instructable on either of those tricks? If not, there probably should be.)

True. But my supply of Round Tuits is limited. I'll try to remember to keep the camera handy when I'm working on the next project. (My lady wants a storage chest; I need "period" bookcases.)


If you don't have a table saw, and unless the sections are very narrow, you can still get very straight, accurate cuts using a standard circular saw using a straight-edge clamped to your work piece. I purchased a 6ft aluminum straight edge which works quite well for the purpose back when I didn't have a table saw and needed to rip some2x12 stock for window frames I was building

You'll need to measure the distance from the edge of the saw's "pad (the metal pad on which it rides) to the saw blade on each side. best to do the measurement from each side so you know what you're dealing with in situations where you have to cut with the narrow section "inboard" as well as the more favorable situation in which the wide side is "inboard (also known as the "right" way by mfg guides)

You then subtract that distance from your dimension, clamp the guide (straight edge) at the (dimension - saw width), and starting cutting.

As I said, fwiw...sometimes it helps to think outside the box.

Table saws, btw, have limitations. I built a panel guide for my saw, but cutting large pieces (like 4x8 sheets of ply) is still a pain in the keester, simply because the material is prone to slight shifts in orientation, leading to blade binding and drift. I prefer using straightedges for plywood.

Finally, I'll just note that lumber yards use a panel cutter, essentially a circular saw on guides, for cutting ply for a good reason. it's far more effective in general that a table saw for large format pieces.

tried something like the straight edge, but instead of logically using the straight edge (which was already out and lying around from previous use) we used a board cut with the panel saw where we got the ply. It turned out it really wasn't that straight either, in retrospect straight edge would have worked well.

I plan on making furniture in the near future and I think a table saw will work well. It would be nice if I could cut big pieces of ply though. Thanks for the input!

Sounds like their panel cutter was out of alignment. When properly aligned, it can't, imo, be beat for the purpose.

As a reminder regarding your impending table saw purchase, make sure you spend the time to align it as well. A saw that's out of alignment will impart drift to the cut and introduce binding, which in turn will result in poor cuts, blade marks (not good for furniture!) and increased blade wear. Follow the mfg alignment directions to the tee, and do it several times until it's perfect. Seriously. It makes all the difference when doing finish work like furniture.

Whatever technique you use to cut, don't forget the blade width. That has always been the one fail point I forget, and which makes that lovely 24-3/8" wide piece 24-3/16...ie, new scrap stock.

thanks for the advice you have been very helpful. I look forward to doing some research on tables saws. The one above is one available at the local box home improvement store and I may have to look into other places in the area. Not sure about over the internet purchase, I have this thing about not being able to see something in person... Again thanks

regarding the saw... Make sure the motor is good quality. Nothing worse than having the saw seize while cutting due to insufficient power. (for instance, when ripping 2x stock or worse, 4x stock)

As for the table, the homemade ones I've seen are usually made using precoated plywood ?melamine?? rather than regular plywood

I bolted two angle iron under the bed so that they extended out 24" or so from the back of the saw. Then I bolted 3/4 " plywood to that and shimmed it up so that it was just slightly lower than the table top. It worked for a while but I got a better idea.

I built a "cabinet" where the saw sat on the front part and the back part of the cabinet was a 30" extension to the table.  I ahve storage below that and a port for sawdust extraction below the saw.  It's on casters so I can move it around my shop.

I've seen plans for extension tables in the likes of Wood Magazine.