Options When One Can’t Use Table Saw

“I live in a town home with a two car garage that has a car, motorcycle, and many boxes stored. I would like to build book shelves and can move the car out of the way. I don’t think I can get a table saw. Where should I start?”

Submitted by: Edward Byrne

WWGOA Editor Response:

Lots of woodworkers get started in a small amount of space with a small number of tools. I can remember, early in my own woodworking, doing many projects with a circular saw, jigsaw, and belt sander. It certainly taught me how to be creative! Here are some woodshop organization tips.

Tools have evolved a lot since then, for the better. You should have a look at saw systems like the DeWalt TrackSaw and the Festool Guide Rail System. They combine extremely high quality circular saws with a straight edge. The cut quality is as good as what many table saws produce, and dust collection is excellent.

These guide rail systems are not inexpensive, but they work extremely well and will allow the user to work within the confines of limited space. Combined with a couple other tools, such as a router, sander and cordless drill, you’ll be able to tackle lots of jobs, including your book shelves.

George Vondriska

Managing Editor

Got a woodworking question you need answered? Comment or Email us at editor@wwgoa.com

Discussion
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11 Responses to “Options When One Can’t Use Table Saw”
  1. Lewis Rippy

    4 stars You can use the factory crosscut slot in the top of your table saw and the front edge of the of the table for a accurate square. Just loosen the fence, and turn the crosscut fence upsidedown, and hold it tight against the table top, then tighten the knob. Even cheap table saws, are machined accuret

    Reply
  2. Lewis Rippy

    4 stars You can use the factory crosscut slot in the top of your table saw and the front edge of the of the table for a accurate square. Just loosen the fence, and turn the crosscut fence upsidedown, and hold it tight against the table top, then tighten the knob. Even cheap table saws, are machined accuret

    Reply
  3. Morris S

    My problem is with plunge router that I mounted on a basic table that has no mechanism to raise a bit. The problem is that when I run the router it just goes down from my setting even if I tightened the setting. What do I do wrong? From Morris South Africa

    Reply
    • WWGOA Team

      I have had this problem in the past as well. In general, plunge routers are not ideal for use in router tables. Unfortunately some plunge routers have a mechanism that cannot hold the router solidly enough to withstand the pressure of table routing, and it causes the router to drop during the course of the cut. It sounds like yours might fall into that category. If you are not able to make any adjustments to your router that help this situation (I was not able to resolve this on the router where I experienced this problem). I’d suggest getting a different router, or a fixed base for your existing router if there is one available. It’s nice to have two bases for your router, so that you can mount the fixed base in your router table, and use the plunge base for free hand routing. Of course, it’s even nicer to have multiple routers.

      Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, William. It is ok to use them in certain situations, as long as you take into consideration two important points: They have poor shear strength. Avoid using them in any structural situation where shear strength is important. They don’t like water. They rust quickly to the point that they snap, and they also quickly stain wood black around the screw when they get wet. Therefore, don’t use them on indoor projects. Having said those things, I use them all the time in hidden situations on indoor projects where shear strength is not important.

      Reply
  4. Mark

    For those who need to park their car in the garage, a couple of Kreg or Dewalt workhorse saw horses that take 2×4’s to support an 8’x4′ sheet of 3/4″ plywood gives an instant huge shop table. Put away it takes 6″ of space from your car. Kreg makes a lot of saw guides for circular saws. Actually I think you will find at Kreg a lot of precision guides and jigs that don’t take a lot of space. Add a jig saw, plunge router, sanders, and a circular saw as George suggests and you should be able to make most anything your condo might need. Lack of stationary tools mainly impacts the amount of time and skill you need to have. You will also have to buy your furniture grade boards already milled on 4 surfaces and squared. The Kreg website shows bookcases being made on top of a 4x8x2″ foam board sitting on the driveway. That can be back breaking. I own a number of Kreg products but don’t have any connection with them. Remember most Big Box home stores will cut your sheet materials for you at a nominal cost. Hardwood lumber yards that also mill to customer specs are your best friend if you have no shop at home and you want to make quality items. Maybe George can make some videos specifically for the no permanent shop woodworker? When my family was young I couldn’t afford a track saw. Hobbies grow from small beginnings.

    Reply
  5. Charles

    I built my first two serious wood working projects with a handsaw, hammer, 1/4″ drill, and a jig saw. One was a coffee table built from rough sawn oak that came from shipping crates the other was a room divider/bar built from sheet goods and some salvage pine from shipping crates. Don’t remember what happened to the bar but the coffee table which was built over 40 years ago is still serving my oldest daughter well.

    Reply
  6. Al

    I have the same situation,got a 10 inch portable table saw on plywood with wheels to move out of the win not in use works fine

    Reply