Table saw workstation design issues- Long post


Good morning. I found a screamin' deal at Ikea in their "as-is" area on a countertop that I couldn't pass up. I have been planning to build a workstation to house my table saw (with a router table built in to one end), and now reality has set in. I'd be interested in opinions. Here are the parameters.
I found a countertop, laminated on six sides (edges, top and bottom) that is 96.75" long and 25.625" wide (1.5" thick). I paid $25.
My portable tablesaw is 26.6875" wide and 17.125" deep (not counting the 1"x1" aluminum clamping tube for the fence).
My original plan was:
1. Cut an insert for the saw table from the front. 2. Fab a replacement for the 1"x1" clamping tube from an 8-foot tube and mount to the front of the table. 3. Rout a slot down the center of the counter to accept the back of the fence clamping mechanism (I'd drop in a piece of aluminum angle to provide a bearing surface for the clamping mechanism).
This would allow me to move the fence three or four feet to the right and left of the blade.
Here is the issue:
1. How do I keep the left and right surfaces of the table level? I'm concerned about the counter flexing. I have two 8' steel U-channels, which I had planned on clamping to the top of my saw before setting it into the cut-out. That way, I could measure for and build the mounts for the tablesaw to ensure it was flush with the counter. However, how do I keep the counter from flexing after removing them? With the cutout for the saw from the front, there will only be an 8.5" section of counter along the back of the counter to resist flexion.
I guess what it comes down to is the engineering of the counter understructure. I'm hoping someone has some ideas, 'cause I'm fresh out and new stock is backordered.
Ken
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[...]

I guess that's not solid wood...
[...]

[...]
The top will sag even ithout the cutout. This countertop stuff is very heavy, not too stiff and moreover takes a set. If you want it straight you need to mount it to a stable straight base with support over the whole length.
--
Dr. Juergen Hannappel http://lisa2.physik.uni-bonn.de/~hannappe
mailto: snipped-for-privacy@physik.uni-bonn.de Phone: +49 228 73 2447 FAX ... 7869
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I think you're right to worry about it. Like Juergen said, it's doubtful that this isn't solid wood or solid whatever, if it's only 25 bucks new even if it's at Ikea.
In our area we've got this outlet for the University's surplus stuff and I regularly see 1.5 inch countertop for ten bucks or so and I'd like to build a router table out of it.
But that MDF stuff sags. A lot.
I watched David marks build an assembly table out of MDF though. He built a torsion box, maybe six inches thick I think. Long pieces end to end, then short pieces to make the cross section across the width. All of them glued and, um, "with a few brads while the glue dries". Well he didn't exactly say that but that's what came to mind. :-)
And then you put another sheet of mdf on it and end pieces, so it looks like a solid piece of mdf. And then you go find two or three friends to help you pick it up.
So, when I build my router table and/or table saw station, I'm planning on building a torsion box thing. According to David, that stops sagging, twisting, and it stays flat. No reason I can think of that the same idea wouldn't work for counter tops. You just have to be very careful while you put it together to make sure everything's flat or you'll build any sag or twist right into the finished product.
Dan
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If it were me rather than cut out an opening for the saw I would rout out an area leaving ~1/2" at the top and drop it over the saw. You lose a bit of max cutting height, but in addition to a continuous surface that you don't have to muck around getting even with the saw top, you don't have to line up the miter slot tracks, just make your own (you can buy metal T-track that just goes in a dado that will probably be a step up from what's in the table now. Plus if your saw is anything like mine was it's a royal pain to make a zero-clearance insert that fit - you can make an opening that's easy to make an insert for.

I'd build a full length cabinet under there. Store all your table saw and router stuff right there. That way you may on occasion actually be able to use the saw without spending 10 minutes to clear off all the stuff you'll inevitably start leaving on it.
-Leuf
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