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John Heisz's homemade table saw

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John writes about the rationale behind his table saw project:

The saw was on a folding stand and is (was) the table top type but a hefty
version. (see pic). It was 3 years old (I paid ~$500.00 on special at Busy Bee)
and I just got sick of its shortcomings - mainly the fence. I thought at first that I
would sell it and buy a better one but the better ones cost substantially more
than I would have gotten for the Makita....

My reasons for building the saw are economy - a saw with these rip and crosscut
capacities is not cheap and it has a relatively compact footprint: my shop has
limited space. Oh, the challenge and I enjoy it (you understand).

saw is
on the
from his old Makita saw:

The motor assembly is from a Makita contractor

saw that I modified to work here. The motor
assembly is the only part of the Makita saw that
was any good - powerful, quiet, high RPM and an
electric brake. Lining it up accurately was tricky,
but the end result is very rigid and easy to access
for adjustment (if needed).

John's added an extended lever to more easily and

precisely set the angle on the saw. The extension is made
of welded tubular steel.

The angle setting is fast and easy - I opted for this

style to simplify it and to make quick angle
settings (without endlessly cranking a hand
wheel). Increasing the radius gives me more
precision on the scale as well. It needed to be
rock solid, the steel welded on looks a bit
overboard but it is all needed. That rinky dink little
plastic crank was from the original saw.

Moving the depth adjustment crank downwards necessitated further modifications.

"The bevel gears are part of the motor lift and I had to extend the vertical shaft by 6" - one of the main problems with the old
saw was that when set to 45° the up-down crank was nearly touching the fence rail, making it next to impossible to turn. By
extending the shaft, I effectively moved the crank axle down, away from the fence rail."

Originally, the shaft and adjustment crank were mounted at 'A', coupled with a depth adjustment screw with bevel gears at 'B'. After modifying,
an extension couples where the bevel gears used to be, and the bevel gears are moved to 'C'.
The depth of cut at 90* with a 10" blade is 3 1/8"

I only lose ~1/4" in maximum depth of cut to the

original contractor saw as the mounting point is
higher than the bottom of the top. In the pics, that
is an 8 1/4" blade (Freud makes a really good 24
tooth ripping blade - $24.00 at Rona) that I
normally use. A 7 1/4" will still rip a 2 x 4 no
problem but I have several 10" blades in any

I made the new 7" hand wheel from Baltic birch ply (2 layers of 1/2") and the handle is sapele - much nicer.
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The bin catches nearly everything (it's one of the

best ideas I've ever had) and the 2.5 inch hose
connects to my dust collector to pull the fine dust
that gets airborne during a lot of cutting - it makes
a huge difference.

The hose is just connected to that enclosure and

captures the fine dust. It doesn't go through to the
exhaust. Most of the time this hose is not
connected - it's only when I'm doing a lot of cutting
or cutting something obnoxious like mahogany (I
hate the taste of that) or MDF.

The table rides on four 28" full extension drawer

slides (see attached pic). It has very smooth
action and no lateral play. Also seen in the pic, the
original top was 2 layers of 1/2" particle board with
a stainless steel surface but it was not flat enough
(hence the new concrete top).

My main objective for the sliding table was to

minimize lateral play to give an accurate cut and
to make the whole assembly easy to disassemble
for cleaning and lubrication. With the slides flat
and with the other support mechanisms in place
(aluminum stiffening rails between the slides) ,
there is very little (negligible?) vertical play at the
blade, where the maximum support is. The largest
panel I would crosscut is ~24" and most times a
lot less than that. It works much better than I
expected and using 4 of the slides really helps to
eliminate play.
To cast the concrete top flat I stacked some
sheets of 3/4" birch plywood on my assembly
table and topped that with a piece of 5/8"
melamine. I spent some time checking this form
for flatness. I cut strips of plywood to 1" to form
the edge. The concrete is a fiber reinforced bag
mix, 30mPa with some non-shrink grout added
and black pigment - my el-cheapo granite top:
$10.00. It is extremely flat and of very consistent
thickness. I need to let it cure for another week or
so before I fill it and seal it. It is exactly 24" x 32" x
1" and used one 30kg bag of concrete mix.

in each
side of
for set
screws but I haven't had to put them in - I did a
really good job of squaring the fence to the guide
rail. The guide rail itself can also be adjusted

The fence has strips of "slippery tape" on the front

angle part and with the bearing in the end, it
glides across smoothly and effortlessly. The
bearing at the end is the only part of the fence that touches the top.

I finally got around to building the proper crosscut

fence for my sliding table. It is surprisingly solid
and quick to adjust and remove - it uses one of 2
pivot pin locations on the table for maximum 90
degree crosscut of 24" and max 45 degree cut at
11". I feel this is more than adequate for my

More details about this table saw on John Heisz's


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