I'd like to replace my radial arm table and fence, it's been a long time.
Any suggestions? I'm thinking of finding a cheap hollow core door
(because they are generally true and not warped) and putting either MDF
or masonite on it.
Some other idea?
It's been a long time, but the last time I resurfaced a radial arm saw
I put a layer of plywood down on top of the old surface. I suspect
that actually replacing the table would be best done with a piece
of MDF. I don't think a door would last very long, plus it would
be awfully thick.
I'm with you. A hollow door is *not* suitable. There is no way to
cut them to size or mount. They're, um, *hollow*. Lumber-core would
be better, but still not good, IMO.
MDF is the way to go, though 1" would be a lot better. Hardboard
(Masonite) may be better than 1/4" ply for a sacrificial top. Getting
either flat enough may be a problem. MDF is cheap enough replace
Well, other than the thickness which I mentioned earlier, it's not that
bad an idea. They are reasonably flat in general and, particularly for
the weight, relatively rigid.
They're not _totally_ hollow; they have a honeycomb core the veneer
faces are glued to. It's a trivial exercise to cut one to size and glue
in edge/end pieces to replace the originals.
It wouldn't be difficult to work out a mounting as well; a moly from the
bottom or a tee-nut in an inserted block or similar would work just fine
since any access on the latter would be covered by the proposed surface
It seems like more hassle than gained, and the thickness could be an
issue depending on the actual saw under discussion but I could see it
being done. Particularly if one were thinking of building a large table
around the saw and used the door as the surface for it -- a cutout in
the middle to make the distance to the front rail end the desired
distance would leave a rear portion for support during ripping or cross
cut of long stock (the primary use of my 14" RAS which is in an 14'
table of similar style using the stock table in the middle cutout set
into 5/4 (rough before planing) solid stock for the table surface).
Complete nonsense. Without the band of wood around the edge they're
not much more rigid than a piece of cardboard. Their strength is much
like an airplane wing. Cut the skin and they'll fall apart
Have you ever cut one in half?
Utter nonsense. The door will simply crush or the fasteners ('t'-
nuts) will pull right through. Hollow core doors are fairly strong
over a large area but *not* over a small area (where there is no
Of all problems with this (stupid) idea, why would the thickness
matter? RASs can usually be cranked up much higher than the blade
(minus motor) depth anyway. A solid-core door might work, but a
hollow-core door is an idea doomed to fail. Neither can be warped to
adjust for flatness, though. MDF is still the best solution.
Certainly, many times I've cut larger ones down for smaller openings or
made a Dutch door out of a full-length one. Why, do you ask?
Not if you place the fastener through the bottom ply or add a local
blocking or a sleeve. As noted, (read next sentence again :) )it seems
like more effort than what could be gained but don't see any reason it
couldn't be done...
As noted, would mostly depend on the arrangement for the fence mounting
not the table itself. Generally w/ smaller saws of the
DeWalt/B&D/Craftsman ilk which one would presume is what OP has the
fence mounting is simply a couple of thumbscrews that are at height of
the thickness of a 3/4" table. W/ the thicker table, that would tend to
be too low and let the fence lean more easily since would need wider
fence to gain the desired height above table surface. The actual
thickness itself wouldn't make much, if any difference, on the column
Oh, I'm sure I could come up w/ something there as well... :)
I'd still recommend as before it would be simpler to use ply or MDF or
similar, but certainly can see the OP's thinking of it. W/ the
sacrificial top, as long as don't go thru that, the hollowness would be
What about MDO? Is that better than MDF for this or for counter tops?
What about MDO on the bottom and a sacrificial MDF?
I like to rip 2x4's, and cut up plywood. I'm thinking of a table about
4' long (current is 8'). How should I set up the workspace? Roller
stands and a support table on the feed end?
I usually make the fence out of fir bolted to some angle stock
(bedframe). MDO/MDF fence or something else? I've been leaving a little
space between the fence and the table for the sawdust to fall through.
I'm moving the saw to a more open workspace and I'd like to get it set
up right instead of the half assed way I have it now. I don't know
anyone who has a home wood shop so I'm fumbling around a bit...
Either w/ the sacrificial would be fine. There's really no great need
for the MDO's extra cost w/ the sacrificial surface.
I use the RAS almost exclusively for rough cutoff and ripping -- but I
have a 14" Delta instead of just 10" -- but I started w/ nothing other
than an inexpensive 10" B&D. I had the room so I had it in an 8'
overall table w/ about 3' on the infeed side and the remainder on the
outfeed. That eliminated need for the rollers, etc., on 90%+ of the
stock which is, imo, a great boon. If you have the room, I'd do
something on that order. You could undoubtedly devise other ways to use
the space to build in the portable planer, etc., etc., to make more use
of the space as well.
For more suggestions, I'd suggest posting the last question to
rec.woodworking; there are a number of quite helpful folks there as well
w/ specific woodworking experience both hobbiest to fulltime and
everywhere in between. (There are a few who will insist the RAS is the
devil's spawn, but... :) )
RAS is set into the bench about a third of the way back from the door.
That way I have plenty of space to feed long pieces. The saw table is
aligned so it is level with the bench top. Of course to use the bench
for feeding long stock I have to clean off the work bench first. For
some reason it keeps getting cluttered up with tools and stuff.
Indeed...similar to the arrangement I described. When shop was in the
garage, I built the bench/RAS such that the rip fence would let work
pass by the open door for long pieces. The saw was set towards the open
end to get clearance the other end rather than in the middle of the wall
as "normal" placement to have same distance either way would seem to
In my case I chose it that way relative to inside wall and (closed)
door, yes. I picked heading outside for rip direction instead of in;
one could do either.
It's just a consideration of what's the best configuration for any given
shop space and work habits and sizes of work one anticipates handling.
In my case if I had placed it in the middle and against the wall I'd
have been constrained to something under 8-ft on both ways; the way I
did it I had 12-ft or thereabouts w/o having to move the (heavy) saw
table or other machinations. It's a "salt to suit" situation...
That's what the RAS in the table alleviates (as well as having a
hefty-enough one, of course :) ). And in garage area, can usually work
it in the wall side and leave in place rather than the roll-around
hassle of the TS and associated table(s) for it for long/sheet goods.
Ideal, of course, is both which I'm lucky enough to have and have room
for w/o moving either...
I had a similar arrangment once with a big ras in our garage on a
workbench. We had changes, added a boat to the 2 car garage and then
the acqusition of a lake house, that made me switch to the portable
setup. I usually roll out onto the driveway at home and that cuts
down on the sawdust in/on the boat and when I'm doing something at the
lake house I can roll both saws into the back of the pickup using
ramps and take them out there.
My brother was a carpenter. He used a station wagon as his work
vehicle. He had a small RAS he kept in the back of the station
wagon. At the job site he would open the back and pull the RAS
out onto the tail gate.
That's what I'll do. I have a 16' floor to work with. I think, about
9' on the feed, the out end opens into the outdoors. A small table on
the RAS and ~ 7' tables on either side. How do you match heights?
I have a basement workshop about the same size (14 x 14), The ceiling is
a little low and I'm a little tall and I have to stand between joists.
Lumber went out the window and plywood was hard to handle and impossible
to cut a full sheet.
rather than the roll-around
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