Custom Outfeed Table Built To Match Unisaw
Outfeed tables are one of the most useful companions of a table saw. They making cutting large sheet stock easier, safer, and more accurate. In addition, they often serve as an assembly table and storage cabinet. In this article I’d like to share a design that I created for an outfeed table that matches my Delta Unisaw.
Outfeed Table Design Features
My shop is limited on floor space so every inch really does count. Due to that limitation I also wanted this outfeed table to serve as an assembly table. (Note: in a perfect shop setup it’s ideal to have a separate dedicated assembly table, this way you can still cut materials at the table saw without moving everything from the “assembly table”.) For my outfeed/assembly table I wanted it to include the following features:
- Large Flat Surface – The table needed to be large enough such that I can rip cut an 8′ sheet without the sheet “tipping” over and falling off the table. Essentially the table has to be wide enough so the outside edge is more than 48 inches from the back of the saw blade.
- Durable Surface – The table needed a durable surface that’s also smooth so materials can easily slide along the table when then come off the Unisaw.
- Sturdy and Strong Design – The table had to be strong enough to support large projects, heavy sheets of wood and hold those materials without much movement.
- Bench Vise – Because this table is also my assembly table and general purpose workbench it needed a vise.
- Hold Downs – clamping items to a work bench or assembly table is essential because most clamps cannot reach around the large table surface.
- Vertical Adjustability – Outfeed tables need to be adjusted such that they are precisely level (or just lower and level) than the table saw surface. If the table is higher at all it could cause a nasty kickback.
- Storage – Last but certainly not least is storage. Outfeed tables can take up lots of valuable floor space. For this table I wanted to have plenty of easy access storage for tools, jigs and materials.
The Frame/Support Base
A majority of the frame was built with scrap 3/4″ cabinet grade Birch plywood. I have lots of it hanging around the shop from a recent cabinet project so it was a great way to use it up. First I built legs using 3-1/2″ wide pieces of plywood. I used my Kreg Jig to screw them together in an L-shape. I calculated the height of the table to match the table saw and then subtracted 1 inch (so I could install adjustable leg supports for fine tuning the table height). For the center two legs I used single pieces of plywood so they would not interrupt the middle shelf.
In the photo above you can see how the legs are pocket screwed together (Kreg Jig). After building all the legs I cut 3-1/2″ wide support rails for the top and middle shelf. These are screwed to the inside of all the legs. The middle shelf consists of one layer of 3/4″ plywood screwed down to the lower rail supports. I positioned the middle shelf at a height so that my DEWALT TSTAK organizers would fit just below it. Lastly you can see I installed corner supports again using pocket screws. The supports not only help keep the frame square but they also gave me a location to screw the top to the frame from below.
Each of the legs has a heavy-duty adjustable leg attached to it. These allow me to level the top with respect to the table saw. I keep my outfeed table approximately 1/16 of an inch lower than the table saw cast iron top. I do this to avoid any chance of wood on the table saw hitting the leading edge of the outfeed table and causing a binding situation. Obviously that would be a very serious situation and one to avoid at all costs.
Outfeed Table Top
The top for the table is built from two layers of 3/4 inch thick Birch plywood. I glued and screwed the two layers together prior to cutting it the the final size. This table is approximately 42 inches deep and 71 inches long. The length was set to match the end of the Unisaw. I set the depth just wide enough to allow me to rip an 8 foot long piece of plywood and have the center of gravity still on the table. Bigger would be better but I can’t afford more space in my shop so this will work fine for most applications.
I cut the 2 layer top to size using my DEWALT TrackSaw. The TrackSaw let me get very crisp clean cuts that I needed in order for the laminate to adhere properly to the plywood.
Next I cut and installed the laminate (Formica) top. I chose the laminate for several reasons. First and foremost I was trying to match the side table on my Delta Unisaw which came standard with a black laminate top. Secondly, laminate is very tough and able to withstand the beating this table will take in the shop. Lastly, it’s fairly inexpensive and easy to install.
One important detail to consider while making the top are slots for the miter gauge T-bars. When you push a miter gauge (or other jig with T-Bars) forward towards the outfeed table it would eventually hit the outfeed table. To account for this I routed some 3/4 inch wide slots through the laminate and into the table. The slots are slightly deeper than the T-bars. The slots is ONLY there to allow the T-bar to clear the table top. You DO NOT need to make the slot match the T-bar.
Hold Downs / Table Clamps
Working in the wood shop means working alone 95% of the time. That’s one reason why jigs are so important in the shop. To maximize the flexibility in the assembly table I installed two lengths of Rockler Universal T-Track. The T-Track allows me to clamp down jigs, work pieces, tools, fences and templates. The flexibility is endless and installation was straight forward.
Installing the T-track was easy. I built a simple jig for my router that allowed me to route a straight line slot in the top (laminate and wood at the same time). I used a Straight Cutting Router Bit. As you can see I cut the slot a bit deeper than the T-track (so materials do not catch on it) and I cut the slot longer. That extra space beyond the track is there I can insert the T-bolts and remove them from the track. Before installing the track I painted the slots black to match the top.
The new outfeed table / assembly table also includes a new bench vise. Having a large size bench vise was huge on my list of needs in the shop. I’m very pleased with the 9 inch quick release vise from Rockler. The vise is built with quality materials and works great. I really like the quick release feature. I plan on lining the two jaws with some harwood.
Project Cost and Time
This project cost about $300 to build with the exception of the vise. It took about 8 hours build the bench and get it level. This is certainly a project that anyone with intermediate woodworking skills can handle.