Planing to make my own table saw out of a circular one... what would make a good circular saw to use?

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Felipe

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Hello everyone! My first post here, nice to e-meet you all :)

I am planning my second shop project, just finished a workbench and now I want to make a table saw using a circular saw attached under the top.

W.r.t the saw requirements I am thinking of a saw with riving knife, > 1300W, >4000rpm, >180mm blade diameter...
What is your take on that? Any requirement I am missing?

If I decide to go on the budget, would you have advises on how wobbly is the blade for cheap circular saw brands and models? Assuming I can square all the mounting to the blade correctly, how likely to the saw loose squareness to itself?

The reason I want to make it is for fun, there is something magic about making my own tools. I am new (very) to woodworking and expect that I can pull this one off.
What fascinates me mostly in this build is the planning and order of cuts needed to make sure everything is square to everything. I am considering making T tracks cut with a router instead of using aluminum ones. Just for the fun of making the cut (hopefully straight).

Best!
 

Orraloon

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I dont think many on here will encourage you to go with this project due to safety concerns. Now I have to fess up and say I made one about 35 years ago to speed up the house renovation I was doing. This was before woodwork forums and online woodwork but some woodwork books actually had plans then. I was at first quite pleased I had saved some money but my first experience of kickback scared the (#@p out of me. I was unhurt but decided I liked having all my fingers so I dismantled the thing then bought my first table saw.
Regards
John
 

Inspector

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Hi and welcome. I don’t want to throw cold water on your enthusiasm but making a table saw from a circular saw is kind of third world even though people everywhere have been known to do it. Unless you make an overhead guard you’ll be working with an exposed blade which is rather American. Just look at US accident statistics to see how good an idea that is. I suggest you look at getting a decent saw that has been neglected and do a full on overhaul of it. You’ll end up with a much better, safer tool and an intimate knowledge of the machine. Save the tool making for stationary disc, drum and belt sanders, wood lathe, hand planes, chisels etc.

Pete
 

johnnyb

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listen triton a company who made such things way back always warned that your cut quality and accuracy totally depends on the saws bearings.also a 9 1/4 saw is better. triton sold a strap that went around the saw body to stop it drooping..
 

keithy1959

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If you are looking at buying a new circular saw to make a table saw, try and find a "real" table saw to re-furb as suggested above. On saying that, I made one last year as my Clarke Contractors saw blew up, and with Covid, I couldn't find anything new or second hand to suit budget and availability.
I ended up buying a B&D 9 1/2" Heavy duty circular saw for £30 on Fleabay, and inverting it into 25mm MDF, and I have to say it is way better than my Clarke saw ever was.

A couple of caveats though :
  • I only use it for ripping "live" timber and I don't expect super accuracy - I have a track saw and Benchdogs fence system for sheet goods, .
  • Height and angle adjustment can be a PITA, I use a digital angle finder on the blade.
  • Top guarding can be an issue. I have a perspex guard that sits over the blade from the fence. Not perfect but better than nothing.
  • Full width fences are not a good idea as there is too much scope for flex, and therefore kickback. I added a rip fence to mine which stops at the blade to let the timber "shake" away from the blade at the back
In summary, they do work, but have limited scope compared to a designed table saw - don't expect to be Norm over night !!

Richard
 

robgul

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Just don't would be my strong advice. The safety issues are potentially overwhelming.

You can buy a basic table saw for not much money, or the alternative track saw option to use on your new bench, again basic but adequate, for <£100.
 

danst96

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Bisch Basch Bosch did something like this on his channel I think. If you do pursue this, PM as i have the Rutlands Premium Table Saw fence which I no longer need which is basically unused. Rutlands Premium Table Saw fence

However I would question your reasoning to build this as it is unlikely to be much cheaper than going for a second hand table saw that needs a bit of work.
 

RichardG

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I would reiterate many of the previous comments especially if you’re going to have to buy a circular saw to start with. However, I used a triton work centre for years which gave great service and may be worth a look at, if nothing else to see how they solved issues of crown guard, remote safety switch, fence etc. But this only made sense with existing tools. Again if you really want to go down this route I have an old skill saw that I used in the triton, PM me if its any use.
 

Trainee neophyte

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Wolfcraft make a range of benches which you can attach a saw to - I bought the cheap version sort of by mistake 15 years ago, and whilst it's not very good, it as least came with a blade guard (long since lost). There seem to be quite a lot for sale on eBay and gumtree, which tells you all you need to know :)I didn't lose any fingers, but not for want of trying.


My experience was that a cheap saw set upside down in a cheaply made workbench was next to useless in terms of accuracy, astonishingly dangerous, but marginally more accurate than my hand sawing. I threw away a lot of plywood because of banana shaped cuts.

Unless you already have a really good circular saw, buy a real table saw. The difference in accuracy and repeatability is night and day. If you absolutely must have a handheld circular saw as well, that doesn't need to be such good quality if you have an accurate table saw. If you don't have an accurate table saw, you will be miserable, and you will throw out your diy version pdq to get a real one. It just seems to be a waste of time, money and resources, when you could be making other stuff. Like a router table.
 

Felipe

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Ok. Very valuable advices here. My motivation is the hands on fun. I believe restoring an old table saw would be fun as well, or even upgrading a table saw for more accuracy and repeatability.

What I don’t want to happen in the end is to have a table saw that is only marginally more accurate than a circular saw.
Very nice to know about the bearings importance and I must consider the safety aspects mentioned here too.

The usage of the tool for me is pure hobbyist, sporadically doing cuts to train jointing, making boxes and actually discovering what I like to make (beyond tools heh)

Mega thanks everyone. If you have an actual table model that is good for entry either new or used let me know.
 

chris.gid

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I agree with the above, i toyed with the idea of making a table saw from a circ saw a few years back and then just got a good deal on a DW745 from Bunnings when they were still in the UK.

Keep an eye of FB marketplace, your not too far from me and just having a look there are a few used contractor saws available (although they seem old enough not to have a riving knife), but you could always make a splitter with a new insert plate.

I agree with the track saw recommendations, i use mine for breaking down birch ply sheets as its way more accurate than a contractor table saw and takes up a lot less space (when accounting for outfeed).
 

Sideways

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What I said here a month ago.
Just don't.

But all learning comes at a price and you have a lifetime allowance of 8 fingers and 2 thumbs to spend as you wish :)


rafezetter said:
Ingenuity route:
Circular saw - get a section of thick plywood (18mm minimum) about 4x the size of the circular saw sole plate, bolt said bit of wood to the sole plate (there's usually holes around you can use or just drill some, it won't harm the saw plate, run the blade through it carefully, then turn upside down and mount between a couple of treslets or soemthing, clamp a fence to the required width away from the blade and voila - frankesteins saw.

I did this myself before I got my small table saw, it works, just make sure to set the blade depth to only just breach the top of the timber, you'll get a cleaner cut and much less chance of cutting off fingers.
I stopped a contractor I saw doing exactly this on jobsite overseas.
I didn't speak the local language so I grabbed some offcuts and demo'd using them as push sticks.
He seemed to get it, smilled and bowed.
We shook hands.
He was wearing gloves (absolutely endemic in a lot of asia even though we're taught that it can cause more severe injuries) so I smiled too, and lightly pinched his thumb and each fingertip between mine to mime why I was worried for him.
Two fingers along, I squeezed and there was nothing inside the glove ...
 

Just4Fun

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I don't use a table saw or circular saw so this may be a silly question, but does an upside-down circular rotate in the same direction as a table saw?
 

sploo

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I don't use a table saw or circular saw so this may be a silly question, but does an upside-down circular rotate in the same direction as a table saw?
Yes. And if it didn't, you'd just mount the upside down circular saw the other way round.

But as many have already advised here - it's probably best not to try it in the first place.
 

keithy1959

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Am I missing something here ?
Given that a crown guard and push sticks can ( and do) go missing on any table saw, why is this any more dangerous or unsafe than any other table saw. In the final analysis, the motor / blade configuration is the same as most low end contractor saws, the quality of the components is probably the same, if not better in a named brand circular saw.
Mounting a circular saw to a table is essentially the same as a router, using similar components (rattle free nuts and bolts )
The only thing I see as "missing" is a NVR switch, and that is an easy fix ( and no different than any home built router table )
Dust extraction will be no better or worse than an old table saw of any quality ( and probably easier to fix than on an old cast iron saw )

Don't get me wrong - There is no doubt a designed table saw will be better than a home built one, but if needs must ....... put me right here :)

Richard
 

sploo

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Am I missing something here ?
Given that a crown guard and push sticks can ( and do) go missing on any table saw, why is this any more dangerous or unsafe than any other table saw. In the final analysis, the motor / blade configuration is the same as most low end contractor saws, the quality of the components is probably the same, if not better in a named brand circular saw.
Mounting a circular saw to a table is essentially the same as a router, using similar components (rattle free nuts and bolts )
The only thing I see as "missing" is a NVR switch, and that is an easy fix ( and no different than any home built router table )
Dust extraction will be no better or worse than an old table saw of any quality ( and probably easier to fix than on an old cast iron saw )

Don't get me wrong - There is no doubt a designed table saw will be better than a home built one, but if needs must ....... put me right here :)

Richard
Quite a few circular saws don't have riving knives, and the blade guards are sometimes not really practical when mounted upside down on a sheet of wood.
 

JobandKnock

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Am I missing something here ?
Given that a crown guard and push sticks can ( and do) go missing on any table saw, why is this any more dangerous or unsafe than any other table saw.
Why would they ever go missing? Most cuts should be (and can be) made with the riving knife and crown guard installed, and even on my Mickey Mouse portable saw there is a clip on the fence to hold a puch stick. Basically, whenever you need to take stuff off to make a cut, you replace it afterwards, and before using any piece of kit which can leave you digitally challenged it only takes a minute to check that everything is in order. It ain't rocket science, unless you happen to be like one of those cyclists who routinely climbs aboard their mount and pedals off into traffic without first looking behind themselves

I have to admit that my first "table saw" was a 9-1/4in rip saw mounted upside down in a piece of plywood which in turn was screwed onto the top of a Workmate. Mine had a riving knife, but no crown guard, so I made up a new riving knife capable of takjng a crown guard from steel plate (lots of drilling and filing) and mounted a piece of 3 x 2 on top as a crude guard. It was a very crude saw. Bevel rips were a nightmare and forget about getting the depth of cut right, that was fixed. But itt built our first house, however I wouldn't repeat the exercise!
 
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