Sliding Table Saw Carriage
If you’ve ever attempted to crosscut a 6-ft.-long, 2-ft.-wide panel on the tablesaw, you know the operation is awkward, error-prone and even scary. By contrast, when you add the sliding carriage described here, tablesaw crosscutting is made more accurate, faster and safer. The fixture is straightforward with two main components: an auxiliary bed fitted with rollers made from skate wheels, and a sliding carriage that rolls atop the bed, using the miter gauge slots as a track.
The auxiliary bed fitted with rollers is really the key to the fixture. Without the rollers the heavy sliding carriage would stick and bind. To make the auxiliary bed, first construct two outrigger tables to bolt up to the saw as shown. The size of the tables is discretionary, of course, but I recommend that the tables-plus-saw add up to at least 8 ft. long. The rollers are made up in three box frames, each containing four nylon roller skate wheels mounted on 1/4-in. threaded-rod axles. The roller boxes drop into wells in the top of each outrigger table as shown. The boxes pop out when they are not in use and can be replaced by plain plywood inserts. It is a good idea to design in some sort of height adjustment for the rollers in case they are too low or too high in use.
The sliding carriage is nothing more than a large panel of plywood with fences fixed to the front and the back edges. Waxed maple runners screwed to the bottom of the carriage slide in the miter gauge slots and ensure the table tracks at right angles to the blade. I bolted the fences to the panel using slotted holes so that I could adjust the fences for a perfectly square cut.
Because the sliding table is heavy, another necessary component of the fixture is a support stand to hold the table when it’s pulled back toward the operator before the cut. You may choose to incorporate this support into the design of the auxiliary bed. In my case I made up a couple of removable legs I can fasten in place whenever I use the sliding table.
One side benefit of the fixture is that you may use the roller feature without the sliding carriage. The rollers make ripping a full sheet of plywood a breeze.
Bill Amaya, Hailey, Ind.
Fine Woodworking Magazine, February 1987 No. 62
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